Republican New York City counselor Vicki Paladino became the latest GOP official to face criticism for likening a vaccine mandate to Nazi Germany.
Paladino, who was flipped from a Queens council seat during the city’s 2021 municipal elections, refused to submit his vaccination records to the city and was forced to vote remotely when the council voted on a new speaker.
On Monday, she told local news station NY1 about the decision, reiterating that she would never disclose the status of her vaccine in the city.
“I don’t have to show you my papers,” she told the news station. “This is not Nazi Germany.”
His remarks drew criticism from local Jewish groups and leaders.
Jonathan Brent, executive director and CEO of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, said in an interview: newsweek While Paladino’s remarks are not necessarily hate speech, they were “Orwellian” and historically incorrect.
“The mandate that the Nazis issued had nothing to do with vaccines to stop the virus,” he said. “They had everything to do with discrimination based on your race or your political ideology. And these laws that they passed were excommunication and forced Jews to wear stars, live in ghettos, and eventually Ultimately, none of those things apply to the present event.”
He added that those who liken the vaccine order to Nazism were “not only spoiling history” but “framing a lie.”
“No one in their right mind could possibly hold the government accountable that the desire for a vaccine is with the intent of genocide,” Brent said.
City Councilor Eric Dinowitz, a Democrat representing parts of the Bronx who chairs the council’s Jewish caucus, wrote on Twitter to comment, “Any comparison of vaccine efforts to the genocidal Nazi regime is appalling. And it’s disgusting.”
“We cannot accept these ignorant, misguided and painful comparisons that diminish the horror and trauma of the Holocaust. Vaccines save lives, Nazis end lives,” he wrote.
New York Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Democrat representing the Bronx who is Eric’s father, called the remarks anti-Semitic.
“This is not Nazi Germany. During the Holocaust, six million Jews and many others were forcibly expelled from their homes, sent to labor camps, and murdered,” he wrote. “Comparing this scary vaccine to a life-saving vaccine sounds anti-Semitic to me.”
Gideon Taylor, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, wrote in a statement. newsweek That the organization would invite Paladino to meet with Holocaust survivors.
“This is historically unfair, a distortion of the horrific history of the extermination of Jews and other minorities by the Nazis and is deeply distressing for Holocaust survivors in New York City,” he said.
Paladino apologized for the remarks on Tuesday, calling it a “frivolous comment”, adding that she “immediately regretted” in a statement. He also promised to meet with local Jewish leaders to discuss the issue.
“While my intention was to make it clear that residents are required to show medical papers to earn a living or to carry out everyday activities as an authoritarian practice that does not align with the principles of this country, the evil of Nazi Germany has nothing to do with it.” It’s never okay to compare anything,” she said in the statement.
newsweek reached out to Paladino’s office and local Jewish groups for further comment on Tuesday evening.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, others opposing the vaccine and mask mandate have also faced scrutiny for comparing policies to Nazism and the Holocaust. Photos and videos of anti-mandate demonstrations across the country show protesters signing up with imagery provoking Nazi Germany. Others are seen wearing yellow stars, similar to the ones the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear during the Holocaust.
Some high-profile Republicans have also been called to comment, including US Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene and former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel, who is running for Senate.
Green tweeted in May: “Vaccinated employees get the vaccination logo to wear a gold star like the Nazi forced Jewish people. Vaccine passports and mask mandates create discrimination against those who have a negative impact on their immune systems.” rely on the virus which is 99% alive.”
Meanwhile, Mandel compared President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate to the secret police in Nazi-occupied Europe, which sent Jewish people and other groups targeted by Nazis to concentration camps.
“When the Gestapo shows up at your door, you know what to do,” he said in a video filmed in a cornfield near Logansville, Ohio.
Update 01/11/2022, 6:51PM ET: This article has been updated with comments from Jonathan Brent, executive director and CEO of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.