Dutch rabbi resigns after comparing COVID measures and Nazism

A prominent Reform rabbi in the Netherlands who drew parallels between his country’s COVID-19 security measures and Nazi practices resigned from his rabbinical council after a protest.

Tamarah Benima, 71, left the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism on November 9, the umbrella group’s rabbinic council wrote in a statement.

Benima received a harsh reprimand from several of the country’s leading Jewish organizations for a speech he gave last month in the northern Dutch city of Leeuwarden.

Those involved in the implementation of COVID-19 public health measures “have the best intentions,” Benima said. “But as a Jew, what happened in Nazi Germany is a warning to me. Everyone in power had the best of intentions. Also when they declared the Jews a danger to “public health”. Also when they declared war on the ‘virus’ of those times. So do not play with fire by leaving aside the people of our society as ‘a danger to public health’, as the Minister of Health, Hugo De Jonge usually does ”.

De Jonge warned that downplaying the dangers of the COVID-19 virus, as well as the forum of a right-wing party to criticize the government’s policies on COVID-19, have endangered public health.

Yvonne Walvisch-Stokvis, president of the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism, criticized Benima in a statement for what she called “a wrong comparison between the annihilation of the people for who they were and the current position of the people who oppose it. vaccination “.

Rab Tamarah Benima (Malin G. Kundi / Wikimedia Commons) (credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

In an email to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Benima insisted that he “never mentioned the Dutch government’s COVID policy in a word” and that this impression is due to “journalistic misrepresentations.”

“I spoke against totalitarian thought and discourse. I spoke out against the new Woke totalitarian ideology, which endangers Jews and non-Jews alike, ”he added.

Benima told De Telegraaf newspaper that many people have written to her to express their support and gratitude for her comments, and some have called her heroin.

Comparisons between COVID-19 public health measures and Nazism have proliferated in recent months across Europe and beyond. The use of yellow stars in protests against COVID-19 measures in Europe specifically has led to harsh condemnations from Jewish groups.

Following the example of other European countries, the Netherlands issued an emergency in September that requires customers of restaurants and other businesses to present proof of vaccination.


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