Why aren’t people shocked by the wearing of yellow stars?

We live in an age of such hyperbole and drama that words like ‘trauma’ and ‘survivor’ are sprinkled liberally, while rooms that contain people making arguments you don’t like are deemed ‘unsafe’ – as are the people making them. Everyone is on the lookout for maximum levels of offence, pain, misery and damage.

But the irony of this hyperbolic stance is that when something gravely offensive is actually happening, it’s not always even noticed or recognised as such. Nowhere is this clearer than in things that are offensive to Jews. Indeed it is actually in service of the hyperbolic imperative – taking something mildly annoying and relatively harmless and turning it into a massive drama – that Jews are openly insulted on a regular basis.

For instance, since the widespread rollout of vaccines, it has become commonplace in anti-lockdown, anti-vaxx passport protests in Europe, and even the UK, for protesters to wear the yellow star. As in the one the Jews of Europe were made to wear by the Nazis so that it was clear to everyone that they were to be treated with no rights or common decency, and to maximise their humiliation before their mass extermination.

The star-wearing began as early as April with anti-government protests in the UK, France and Italy. The motley crew of conspiracy theorists were tantrumming about various things, such as not being able to go to nightclubs in the midst of a public health crisis, but the crux of their rage was at being required to take a totally safe vaccine so that the very societies they accuse of depriving them of their civil liberties can get back to normal: in other words, bending over backwards to protect their every right and sensibility.

The yellow star duly made its entry in protests in Germany, where protesters wore it with the word ‘Jude’ (Jew) replaced by ‘ungeimpft’ (unvaccinated). In Germany, however, there are laws against open mockery of the Holocaust, and the country’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, said: “If people pin so-called Jewish stars on themselves in demonstrations, thereby drawing comparisons that relativise the Holocaust, then the means provided by law should be applied against them.” The wearing of the yellow star was then banned in Munich.

There has been some response to this demented deployment of the yellow star, including from Holocaust survivors. But really not very much, and almost no outrage that’s actually risen above the surface. The Left-wing outlets that normally fly into rages over anything deemed ‘racist’ have been curiously quiet about this.

And while every institution in the country bends over backwards not to offend most minorities, there is a confounded blind spot – as usual – where Jews are concerned. How else to explain the tastelessness, noted last week, of schools asking children who aren’t able to wear masks to wear a yellow badge showing they are exempt?

This is certainly not as flagrantly offensive as the protesters’ stars and is almost certainly a mistake rather than malicious. But the lack of sensitivity is real, troubling, and should be a source of concern for any civilised society.

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