Anti-vaxx protests outside Jewish lawmaker's office show Nazi symbols

Protesters at an anti-vaxx demonstration at a Kansas government hearing wore a yellow star as a display against recent COVID-19 mandates.

 Daran Duffy and family wear stars in the style of the Star of David during an appearance before the Special Committee on Government Overreach and the Impact of COVID-19 Mandates in Topeka. (photo credit: Thad Allton - Kansas Reflector/via REUTERS)
Daran Duffy and family wear stars in the style of the Star of David during an appearance before the Special Committee on Government Overreach and the Impact of COVID-19 Mandates in Topeka.
(photo credit: Thad Allton - Kansas Reflector/via REUTERS)

Some protesters at an anti-vaxx demonstration in the Bronx, New York, displayed Nazi symbols outside the office of Jewish politician Jeffrey Dinowitz on Sunday, multiple sources reported.

One photo shows a protester holding a sign with a swastika symbol with the words "Crimes Against Humanity" written next to it. Another wore a yellow Star of David on his jacket to protest the fact that he is not vaccinated.

"The display of swastikas and yellow Stars of David outside my office today is repugnant and offensive," Dinowitz tweeted. "People are perfectly free to express their opinion on vaccines or any issue, but to openly display Nazi symbols outside the office of a Jewish legislator is despicable."

Dinowitz represents District 81 in the New York State Assembly.

The demonstration, organized by former state governor candidate Rob Astorino, was to protest a state bill that Dinowitz sponsored that would require students in New York State to be vaccinated to attend classes, according to the New York Post.

Dinowitz noted that vaccinations to attend school are nothing new, as "the fact that children have to get the vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, etc. -- that's a mandate," he said on News 12.

 Anti-vaccine protestors hold placards during a march against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations on the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town, South Africa (credit: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS) Anti-vaccine protestors hold placards during a march against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations on the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town, South Africa (credit: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS)

Astorino later said that he was unaware of the Nazi symbols in a tweet, stating that he has "always condemned antisemitism. If I’d seen it I’d have told them to take the sign down."

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the incident, stating: "We are appaled by the use of swastikas and yellow stars at a protest against vaccine requirements in New York, outside the offices of a Jewish legislator. We continue to condemn these inaccurate and abhorrent comparisons that trivialize the Holocaust."

Another recent incident comparing COVID mandates to the Holocaust occurred last Saturday in Australia, where anti-vaxxers rallied in Melbourne against new mandates, with a few comparing the state government to Nazis.

In Kansas, another antisemitic display by anti-vaxxers was witnessed at a government hearing in Topeka.

Similar to the incident in front of Dinowitz's office, anti-vaxxers were seen wearing yellow stars on their sweaters. Kansas Republican state lawmakers had also made comparisons between the Holocaust and recent government requirements to be vaccinated, according to The Independent.

Republican Senate President Ty Masterson and Republican Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman called the incident "inappropriate" and "disappointing." Both lawmakers are also opposed to vaccine mandates.

Kansas Democratic governor Laura Kelly called the anti-vaxxers at the hearing antisemites, stating that "antisemitism has no place in Kansas."

Daran Duffy, who attempted to run for mayor of Kansas City last summer, said that he did not believe that wearing a yellow star would be offensive to Jewish people, according to the Kansas City Star.

Duffy stated that the US would be heading towards a disaster like the Holocaust and that the star he wore was meant to remind that “every single thing that Hitler did he did in accordance with the laws of his country.”

Democratic State Senator Pat Pettey told Duffy in response that he was "desecrating Jewish people" with this act.

Gun control activist David Hogg, who survived the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, tweeted that "antisemitism is growing in this country and more people need to be denouncing it."

Last month, a US Senate Republican candidate in Georgia canceled a fundraiser because the event host's social media account displayed an anti-vaxx symbol in the shape of a swastika.

Reuters and Shira Hanau/JTA contributed to this report.