Oklahoma GOP leader was rebuked for doubling down on his comparison of vaccine mandates to gold stars worn by Jewish people during the Holocaust
In this file photo dated Friday, April 12, 2013, Oklahoma State Representative John Bennett, R-Salisaw, speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City. Sue Ogrocki, File / AP
An Oklahoma GOP leader was reprimanded for comparing vaccine mandates to the yellow stars mandated by the Nazis.
Despite the backlash, Oklahoma Republican Party leader John Bennett redoubled his remarks.
In May, Marjorie Taylor Greene also compared vaccination records with discrimination.
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An Oklahoma GOP leader doubled his comparison between vaccine mandates and gold stars forcibly worn by Jewish people during the Holocaust.
John Bennett, the leader of the Republican Party of Oklahoma, made the shocking comparison last Friday and posted a picture of the yellow Star of David with the words "Unvaccinated" on top.
"Those who don't know history are FORGOT to repeat it," said the photo posted on Friday's official Republican Party of Oklahoma Facebook account.
The Post urged Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell called for a special meeting to forbid private employers from imposing vaccination requirements on their employees.
Steve Curry, a member of the GOP national committee, told the local news agency KOCO-TV that Bennett was the only person with access to the Facebook page.
The post was quickly condemned by other leaders serving in the Oklahoma Republican Party. On Saturday, Curry, co-chairman Tommy Hicks Jr. and chairman Ronna McDaniel issued a joint statement calling the settlement "absurd".
“The three of us think that this post is absurd not only because it tries to compare the government law to control the pandemic with the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, but also terribly disrespectful to the memories of those involved in this terrible purge have lost their lives. “Said the statement.
Other top Republican leaders in the state - including Pinnell, US sensors Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, US MP Markwayne Mullin, Greg Treat, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore, and Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall - condemned the Post dated Friday.
"It is irresponsible and wrong to compare an effective vaccine - developed by President Trump's Operation Warp Speed - with the horrors of the Holocaust," said the joint statement, citing the KOCO-TV report. "People should be free to choose whether to take the vaccine, but we should never compare the unvaccinated to the victims of the Holocaust."
Roberta Clark, executive director of the Jewish Federation, also criticized Bennett's remarks, saying it was "poorly informed and very inappropriately".
“Comparing the actions of Nazi Germany to a public health discussion is poorly informed and very inappropriate. And it's sad and ironic that someone should have an analogy from the greatest documented genocide of the 20th, ”Clark told KOCO 5 News.
Despite the backlash, Bennett doubled the comparison in a nearly seven-minute video released on Sunday, saying, “It's not about the star. It's about a totalitarian government, ”pushing Americans to get vaccinated.
The Nazis "gave [Jews] a star to wear, and they couldn't go to the supermarket, they couldn't go in public, they couldn't do anything without that star on their shirt," Bennett said during the video. "Take away the star and add a vaccination certificate."
Oklahoma Republican Party officials did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on the video Bennett posted.
Bennett wasn't the first Republican to compare vaccination cards with the yellow stars commissioned by the Nazis. Georgia MP Marjorie Taylor Greene also drew the settlement in May to criticize the guidelines of a local grocery store.
"Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo, just like the Nazis forced Jews to wear gold stars," Greene wrote in a tweet. "Vaccination passports and mask requirements discriminate against unvaccinated people who entrust their immune system to a virus that is 99% viable."
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum later condemned Greene's statements, saying the "tragedy of the Jews" during the Holocaust criticizing public health measures was "a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline."
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