Jewish Leaders Denounce Comparing Mask Mandates To Holocaust

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — Democratic St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and several Jewish leaders on Monday criticized comments at recent County Council meetings that compared mask mandates to the Holocaust.

With the delta variant of COVID-19 surging in St. Louis County, Page sought to require masks in indoor public places. A judge earlier this month issued a temporary restraining order against the mandate after the County Council voted to overturn it.

The last two County Council meetings have drawn large crowds of people opposed to the mask requirement, including some who compared it to the Holocaust. Rabbi Susan Talve, speaking at a news conference, called the comparison “overt antisemitism.”

Talve and other Jewish leaders were critical of County Council Chairwoman Rita Heard Days, a Democrat, for failing to intervene and “gavel out” those making the Holocaust comparison.

Days, in a statement, said racial and religious epithets and “cheap comparisons to the Holocaust” are unacceptable. She did not respond to the concerns that she failed to stop such comparisons at recent meetings but said she will “swiftly use my gavel and admonish” antisemitic comments.