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An anti-vaccine protester wears a Star of David at a Oregon State Capitol demonstration. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Jewish groups are condemning the use of Holocaust comparisons by people opposing coronavirus vaccination and mask-wearing.

The big picture: Cities across the country are seeing protests against vaccination and masking requirements amid a surge in COVID-19 cases thanks to the Delta variant and pressures to reopen schools and businesses.

Driving the news: Oklahoma GOP chairman John Bennett on Friday, in a Facebook post, compared companies requiring employees to get vaccines to Nazi Germany forcing Jews to wear the yellow Star of David on their clothes.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) compared officials carrying out President Joe Biden's vaccination push to Nazi-era "brown shirts," weeks after apologizing for her comments comparing Capitol Hill mask-wearing rules to the Holocaust.

Similar comparisons have been made in Europe. In March, a demonstration in the French city of Avignon saw some participants wearing yellow stars marked with the words, “Not Vaccinated."

What they're saying: “It shouldn’t need to be said, but there’s simply no comparison between mask mandates or vaccine requirements in the U.S. and what happened during the Holocaust," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement to Axios.

  • "These comparisons are odious and deeply offensive to Jews and those Americans who fought valiantly to defeat the Nazis in World War II. They only serve to trivialize the true horrors of the Nazi regime." 
  • "Given that Minnesota rabbis recently spoke out in favor of a mask mandate, comparing that mandate to the Holocaust feels especially disgusting," the Minnesota-based Jewish Community Action recently tweeted.

Don't forget: Anti-Semitic episodes in the U.S. more than doubled in May 2021 compared to a year ago, according to the ADL's Center on Extremism.

Go deeper: Some red states are turning to civil rights law to defend the unvaccinated

Go deeper

Surgeon general: Biden administration "prepared to defend" vaccine mandate

Vivek Murthy. Photo: Samuel Corum/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy took to ABC's "This Week" on Sunday to defend the Biden administration's plan to institute a vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 workers, calling the measure "appropriate and necessary," and adding that the administration is prepared to fight legal challenges to implementation.

Why it matters: The vaccine mandate is already facing a plethora of such legal hurdles. A three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday stayed enforcement of the private-employer vaccine mandate in an unsigned order that cited “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.