Czech churches condemn those wearing yellow Stars of David at anti-vaxxer events, call on them to apologize
Representatives of churches in the Czech Republic have condemned the wearing of Jewish stars at events by those opposed to vaccination. The wearing of the yellow six-pointed stars, which were used by the Nazis during the Second World War to label Jewish inhabitants, is considered by the churches to be an abuse of the symbol and an example of cynicism.
The religious authorites have called on those who wore the yellow stars at demonstrations last week to apologize. Representatives of the Czech Bishops' Conference (ČBK), the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic (ERC) and the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic (FŽO) all signed the statement, published yesterday.
Yellow Stars of David inscribed with the word "Unvaccinated" were worn by several participants in Friday's protest in the center of Prague, which was convened to express opposition to the Government's measures taken in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic and rejected vaccinations against COVID-19. In their statement, church authorities remind the public that the yellow star the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear during the Second World War is a symbol of oppression, suffering, and the deaths of millions of victims of Nazi terror.
"If anybody appropriates that symbol and, by using it, wants to draw an equivalency between themselves and the six million murdered in the concentration and extermination camps, that cannot be seen as anything other than a cheap, calculating cynicism that has exceeded all conceivable bounds," said the General Secretary of the ČBK, Stanislav Přibyl, the General Secretary of the ERC, Petr Jan Vinš, and the Secretary of the FŽO, Tomáš Kraus. They simultaneously called for a public apology by those who wore the symbol of the yellow star to the anti-vaccination event.
Friday's protest in Prague was attended by dozens of people, and in addition to casting doubt on the Government's anti-coronavirus measures, they also questioned the outcome of the American presidential elections and the circumstances of the death of the former Slovak Police President Milan Lučanský. Yellow stars were also worn by several of the participants in a protest on Sunday that was co-organized by the singer Daniel Landa, who was once lead singer for the neo-Nazi band Orlík.
The abuse of the Jewish symbol during the demonstration was also condemned by the Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Daniel Meron. "The use of the Yellow Star of David in anti-vaccination protests is a disgrace and an insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust," he posted to Twitter.
Vaccination against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 began in the Czech Republic on 27 December 2020 and is voluntary. According to a statement by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) on Saturday, roughly 40 000 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.
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