Why Are People in the U.K. Wearing Yellow Jewish Stars to Protest COVID Restrictions?

Yes, it's as problematic as it seems.

When it’s a sunny weekend in London, as it was last Saturday, naturally you’ll end up doing something a bit embarrassing. You drink slightly too much in a park and, with no public toilets open, the bushes become a makeshift bathroom. You accidentally bump into an old Tinder match and it’s really awkward. Could be worse. You could forget your mask and have to U-turn back home, and hope nobody saw you do it. Mortifying.

But nothing, surely, can be as embarrassing as the anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protest that took place in London on Saturday, April 24.

Why? Well, for starters, they’re protesting lockdowns and vaccinations at the same time. If you don’t like one, logic prevails that you should at least like the other. But even more embarrassing is the fact that some of the protestors — presumably, non-Jews — wore yellow stars, similar to the ones that Jews were forced to wear when they were segregated from the rest of the population under Nazi rule, on their chests.

Yes. You read that correctly. Allow me to break it all down.

Why are some people protesting COVID-19 restrictions and vaccinations in the U.K.?

In short, a not-insignificant minority of people in the U.K. think lockdowns — of which there have been three in England sinch March last year — take away their freedoms. For similar reasons, many of the protesters on Saturday opted not to wear masks.

One woman was heard shouting, “When you put that mask on your face you are only prolonging this dystopian nightmare and telling your government that you will obey.”

Others chanted “Satan” into the crowds.

On top of that, with the U.K.’s vaccination well underway, the government has recently introduced “vaccine passports” for foreign travel and they are considering using them for access to amenities like gyms, restaurants and music concerts in the future, too. Since many of the protestors seem to be refusing to get vaccinated, they say they are being denied access to the things that vaccinated people have access to. And that’s where the yellow Stars of David come in.

Why are the protesters wearing yellow stars?

Yellow star-gate surfaced when British Jewish comedian David Baddiel tweeted a photo of a Star of David-clad woman at the protest. It went viral.

Adding to his tweet, which read, “Take. That. Off,” he said, “What I’ve said there does in fact illustrate one of a number of key differences between this woman’s situation and my grandparents in Germany in the 1930s. She has that option.”

Those wearing the Stars of David had given themselves such a victim complex that they thought their struggle — which is, in effect, refusing to wear a mask and take a vaccine — is comparable to the struggle of Jews in the Holocaust.

One protestor had even gone to the sad effort of making a sign that said “COVID-19 Vaccine Holocaust” with an image of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s face printed underneath it.

In a twisted way, those at the anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protest say they feel persecuted. And to demonstrate that, some have worn the yellow star to symbolize their perceived oppression because they wrongly believe that, like Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, they are a minority being targeted for their identity.

I know, it sounds completely nonsensical — and, you know, antisemitic.

But this isn’t even the first time it’s happened. Earlier protests in the U.K. showed some anti-lockdown protesters brandishing the Star of David on their clothes. And similar protests across Europe have taken place, including in Germany, the Czech Republic and France.

Why is this antisemitic?

When images emerged of the protestors wearing yellow stars, there was large public outcry denouncing what happened as deeply antisemitic.

The official Auschwitz Memorial museum put it best, tweeting to their 1 million followers that, “Instrumentalization of the tragedy of Jews who suffered, were humiliated, marked with a yellow star, and finally isolated in ghettos and murdered during the Holocaust, in order to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.”

Many across the nation joined in to condemn the images they had seen of protestors, including doctors and teachers.

One teacher, Dan Polak, tweeted a photo of fistfuls of wedding rings that had belonged to Holocaust victims. He wrote, “Each ring [was] a lifetime commitment cut short. Each a monument to indescribable cruelty. If you wore the Star of David to express your anger at covid restrictions, shame on you.”

The incident even gave @AntisemitismCow something to moo about:


To put it simply, just don’t compare your (completely ridiculous) struggle to the trauma faced by the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Such conflation is morally repugnant and, frankly, embarrassing.

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