By Hellen Zaboulani
On Sunday, an anti-vaccine protest in the Bronx got ugly, when at least two of the protesters displayed Nazi symbols. As reported by the NY Post, the demonstration took place outside of the Kingsbridge office of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. The Jewish lawmaker has served in the New York State Assembly for District 81 since 1994. The group rallied outside Dinowitz’s office to show their disapproval for a bill he sponsored, which if passed would mandate all New York students to get the COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for attending school.
At the protest, most signs bore slogans like, “Unmask our kids”, “My Child, My choice”, or “Let me call my own Shots”. Some, however, took things too far. One lady held a handmade poster that included the image of a swastika, and another man wore a yellow Star of David attached to his coat. Analogies comparing vaccine mandates to Nazi rule have become all too common throughout the U.S.
Dinowitz,66, took to Twitter, in response, posting photos of the protesters. “The display of swastikas and yellow Stars of David outside my office today is repugnant and offensive,” he wrote. “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.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on Dinowitz’s post, tweeting, “What an insult to our Jewish community, especially our Holocaust survivors who have endured real pain. This is what anti-Semitism looks like. All this bigot accomplished was to offend our city and undermine his own cause.” Also, NYC Mayor elect Eric Adams commented on Twitter saying, “Displaying Nazi symbolism anywhere at anytime is unacceptable. I stand with @JeffreyDinowitz, the Jewish community, and decent people across the City in condemning this antisemitism.”
Among the protesters was Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino. The former Westchester County Executive was the one who reportedly organized the rally. Numerous Twitter users commented that Astorino should not have allowed the anti-Semitic displays. “It is horrifying that @RobAstorino didn’t shut this down on the spot”, wrote Amanda Septimo. Astorino responded in a tweet Sunday night saying, “I had no idea until I saw this photo. If I’d seen it I’d have told them to take the sign down. No comparison to those atrocities & yes, I’ve always condemned anti-Semitism.” Regarding a vaccine mandate, Astorino told News 12 The Bronx, ”Not only is it too soon — it’s completely unwarranted at this point.”