Washington lawmaker apologizes for wearing ‘Star of David’ to protest COVID restrictions
A Washington state lawmaker apologized Thursday after he wore a yellow Star of David at an event to make a statement against COVID restrictions.
Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh faced fiery criticism for giving a speech Saturday while wearing the star, evoking those that Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis.
“This gesture went too far,” state Rep. Jim Walsh, a Republican, said during a radio interview with host Jason Rantz. “It was inappropriate and offensive and I’m terribly sorry that it happened and that I was a part of it.”
Walsh’s apology was a turnaround from earlier in the week, when he defended wearing the star. He engaged with critics on Facebook, where video of the speech was posted.
“It’s an echo from history,” Walsh commented on Saturday. “In the current context, we’re all Jews.”
Organizers of the event were “concerned about vaccine passports and vaccine segregation,” he told The Seattle Times.
“I won’t say publicly whether I’m vaccinated or not,” the lawmaker reportedly said, telling the publication “some people are offended by having to provide vaccine documentation at their work.”
On Thursday, Walsh called he and others wearing the star “a dumb idea.”
“The imagery is intense and can’t effectively be used to make points like this,” he said. “You can’t use some things as a metaphor because they go beyond the pale. They go beyond what people can accept – will accept – as a metaphoric point.”
It wasn’t the first time Nazi-era imagery was used in protest of coronavirus policies, riling many who found it inappropriate.
Recently, a Tennessee store faced backlash for offering “Not Vaccinated” patches similar to the yellow stars, which also sparked an uproar.
US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also faced criticism, and later apologized, when she compared vaccine requirements to era Nazi laws during the Holocaust.