Alaska mayor apologises for claiming wearing Star of David to protest mask mandates is tribute to Jewish people

‘I think us borrowing that from [Jewish people] is actually a credit to them’

Harriet Sinclair
Friday 01 October 2021 14:30
<p>Virus Outbreak Anchorage Masks</p>

Virus Outbreak Anchorage Masks

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Anchorage’s vaccine-critic mayor has apologised after suggesting that those protesting mask mandates by wearing Star of David symbols were doing so as a “credit” to Jewish people.

Speaking at a meeting to discuss ‘mask mandate’ AO2021-91, Dave Bronson had attempted to fend off criticism of a group of local people who had donned the Star of David to protest coronavirus vaccine mandates.

“That’s what the star really means: We will not forget, this will never happen again,” Mr Bronson said at the Wednesday meeting. “And I think us borrowing that from [Jewish people] is actually a credit to them.”

The tone-deaf comparison of vaccine mandates to the Shoah, in which six million Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis, saw a swift rebuttal from one Jewish assembly member, who requested that people protest without invoking the horrors inflicted on Jewish people.

Reading aloud a letter from his rabbi, Forrest Dunbar said: “For myself and most Jews, seeing the yellow Star of David on someone’s chest elicits the same feeling as seeing a swastika on a flag or the SS insignia on a uniform.

“I believe it is a constitutional right to protest for your values. But I request that you do not use symbols that diminish the 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust,” the Associated Press reported.

Following a backlash over his comments, Mr Bronson apologised, saying: “I understand that we should not trivialise or compare what happened during the Holocaust to a mask mandate, and I want to apologise for any perception that my statements support or compare what happened to the Jewish people in Nazi Germany.”

As well as people protesting wearing Star of David symbols, the meeting also saw jeers and insults thrown from the crowd, and several arrests – including one person who was in possession of a firearm, the Alaska Landmine reported.

The debate causing such uproar is a proposed citywide mask mandate.

The law, proposed by Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel, states that “all individuals must wear masks or face coverings over their noses and mouths when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home; or outdoors at large crowded public events. Unvaccinated individuals are additionally encouraged to wear masks at all outdoor public gatherings regardless of size,” MustRead Alaska reported.

It has been opposed by some citizens as well as Mr Bronson, who said at an earlier meeting on Tuesday: “I oppose this ordinance because it is based on inconclusive science, because it is bad policy, and because it is an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom guaranteed to every Anchorage citizen by our federal and state constitutions.

“But most of all, I oppose this ordinance because it pits neighbor against neighbor, shop owner against customer and friend against friend.”

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