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May 6, 2021 3:11 pm
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Fury as Law Professor Compares ‘Vaccine Passports’ With Nazi Persecution of Jews During Michigan House of Representatives Hearing

avatar by Ben Cohen

Law professor William Wagner speaking to a Michigan House of Representatives hearing on “vaccine passports.” Photo: Screenshot.

Anti-vaccine activists compared the possibility of COVID-19 “vaccine passports” with the Nazi persecution of the Jews at a Michigan House of Representatives committee meeting on Thursday, sparking outrage among several state legislators who were present, as well as on social media.

Among those testifying at the hearing on a proposal by Republican State Rep. Sue Allor to “ban” vaccine passports was Prof. William Wagner, a law professor and constitutional specialist at Western Michigan University. Sitting alongside Allor, Wagner likened the theoretical vaccine passport with the identifying yellow stars which the Nazis forced Jews to wear on their outer clothing, as part of a cluster of discriminatory laws designed to reinforce the “subhuman” status of Jewish people living under Nazi rule.

Holding up a black wristband that he claimed was similar to a vaccine passport, Wagner said: “My wife and I recently had the privilege of going through the Holocaust museum and seeing a different kind of band.”

He continued: “Imagine that kind of band and add electronic tracking and all the electronic data that you could combine with it.”

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Wagner then told legislators that they would be “deciding which side of history you want to be on 20 years from now,” in a deliberately provocative nod to those Germans who opposed Hitler’s rise to power.

Also addressing the hearing was one-time feminist icon turned conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf, who argued for an outright ban on vaccine passports. Wolf’s record of conspiracy-laden comments during the pandemic have included the assertion that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, is a paid agent of the Israeli government.

Several Michigan politicians voiced fury over the comments made at the hearing, with one Democratic senator angrily taking Republicans on the committee to task.

“This perverted re-writing of the history of the Holocaust is incredibly dangerous,” State Sen. Jeremy Moss declared on Twitter. “It’s utterly shameful that  @MI_Republicans allowed this callous dismissal of the impact of antisemitism to go unchallenged in committee.”

The chair of Michigan Jewish Democrats also weighed in to the social media furor. “I could say I am shocked by Michigan GOP‘s willingness to debase the Michigan House by shamelessly giving platforms to known antisemites and conspiracy theorists, but that would be a lie,” Noah Arbit tweeted.

In a formal statement, Michigan Jewish Democrats excoriated “today’s lie-filled, hate-filled House Oversight Committee hearing” as another “egregious example of the Michigan Republicans’ descent into the darkest depths of extremism, as they become increasingly beholden to fringe conspiracies and seek to undermine our democracy.”

The statement concluded: “It is no wonder that Jewish Michiganders, and all Michiganders who cherish truth, democracy, and the rule of law, will not hesitate to put an end to the Republicans’ extreme agenda in Lansing in 2022.”

Anti-vaccine protestors in both the US and Europe have frequently drawn comparisons between Jews suffering under Nazi rule and alleged discrimination against individuals who refuse to be vaccinated. Protestors wearing fake yellow stars and other symbols associated with the Nazis have been a prominent sight at demonstrations in Germany, France and other countries.

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