This week, the Libertarian Party of Kentucky was called out for what can only be described as an extremely poor comparison of vaccination passport programs to the yellow Star of David that was forced to be worn by Jews during the Holocaust. Such comparisons on social media would never seem to be a good idea, but are especially upsetting during Passover, which began on Saturday.
In a tweet, the Libertarian Party of Kentucky (@lpky) posted, “Are the vaccine passports going to be yellow, shaped like a star, and sewn on our clothes?”
While it was retweeted more than 800 times by Tuesday afternoon, and even liked more than 6,300 times, there was a swift backlash. The term “Holocaust” began to trend, with more than 33,000 tweets many suggesting that they found little to absolutely no humor in such posts.
Many users even saw the comparison as completely off the mark.
“The anology [sic] doesn’t even work, jews were targeted, labeled, and rounded up. the vaccine passport is a two tier economic system with the passport holders having MORE freedom,” wrote @SZzatee.
Researcher Chad Gibbs (@Chad_G101) called out the political party, “The Holocaust is not a punchline. This from a blue check account of an actual political party.”
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Rabbi Josh Yuter (@JYuter) was among those who simply asked that such comparisons need not be made, “Request: I’d really appreciate it if people could please stop comparing Covid restrictions and requirements to the Holocaust.”
Yuter’s tweet was liked more than 18,000 times and shared more than 3,000 times – suggesting that many were in agreement with him on the issue.
Actor Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen), who is Jewish, was even more direct in his colorful response, “F*** right off with this s***.”
However, the group attempted to defend its analogy and responded to Jeff Deist (@jeffdeist) who posted, “No private business or industry would require vaccine passports without state sanction and a strong assist from lapdog media to overcome the terrible PR optics.”
Perhaps this should serve as a lesson that while there are reasons to make such historic analogies, one needs to consider the reaction and the audience. It is all too common today for groups to label anything restrictive as being comparable to the Nazis, while those who must endure any hardship suddenly evoke the Holocaust.
While it may be true that some states, as well as some companies including airlines may require some sort of vaccination passport this really isn’t the sort of issue that can be properly debated in context on social media. Yet, here is the problem of how Twitter and other social networks have become broadcast tools.
It is clearly easy to get the message across to the masses, but the problem is that instead of a meaningful argument that fosters deep debate we’re left instead with a quick opinion and potentially a few memes. In this case the Libertarian Party of Kentucky didn’t even make much of an argument, or explain why it is opposed to such vaccination passports – which as Newsweek reported could allow for bigger crowds and gatherings.
Instead, all its statement did was stir up both sides so that meaningful conversation is now impossible at best.
As one user, @bmislow, noted, “It’s never a good thing when “Holocaust” is trending. Yep, just saw why.”