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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

Philly extends vax mandate for higher ed and health care workers

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia delayed its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers and those at colleges and universities on Wednesday.

What's happening: Hospital and long-term care facility workers, and all higher ed staff and students, must get their first jab by Oct. 15 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, according to Philly's new guidance.

  • All other health care workers must get their first vaccine dose by Oct. 22 and get their second dose by Nov. 22. They will also need to be tested twice weekly until they're fully vaccinated.

Flashback: The city originally mandated that these groups be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.

What they're saying: Cheryl Bettigole, Philly's acting health commissioner, said some health care and higher ed officials were calling for more time.

  • "We've heard, in general, that a little bit more time might be helpful,." she said, adding that another delay to the vaccination mandate wasn't expected.

Of note: The mandate won't apply to workers, students or staff with a religious or medical exemption.

  • They instead must submit to regular COVID-19 testing.

A look at who is still not vaccinated against COVID

Expand chart
Data: KFF September 2021 Vaccine Monitor; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Conservative media sometimes blame the problem of the unvaccinated on people of color, but the data show vaccine resistance is mostly about red America and younger adults now.

Why it matters: The numbers show a much different story about where we still need to be focusing our vaccination efforts.

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.