In February of this year, the 100 Million Moms anti-vax group promoted a t-shirt emblazoned with a yellow Star of David and the words “COVID CAUST”, comparing COVID public health policies to the Holocaust.
It was not an original idea. This rhetoric had been a staple of alt-health anti-masking and anti-lockdown propaganda for almost a year.
On March 11th, 2020, “holistic psychiatrist” Kelly Brogan published a selfie-sermon called “What Is Going On”, first to her private subscription group of psychiatric clients, and then to the public under the title “A Message to Dispel Fear.” The video has since been removed by YouTube for violating terms of service.
In her sermon, Brogan, a now-deplatformed Goop expert, said that germ theory is a projection of our perceived inner “badness.” She cited the “German New Medicine” of anti-Semite Ryke Geerd Hamer, and lauded the pseudoscientist Joseph Mercola, recently named by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate as one of the “Disinformation Dozen”, who together are responsible for close to two-thirds of all anti-vax propaganda on the internet. Brogan also made this same list, along with her husband, pseudoscience merchant Sayer Ji.
At the heart of Brogan’s paranoid message lay the Holocaust comparison. She worried about “future government plans to link our passports with our vaccination records and restriction of travel.” She predicted a “new normal of this level of totalitarian governmental control that is not unlike the divide and conquer, dehumanization agendas that preceded the Holocaust.”
Brogan’s mid-March statement came early in the COVID response timeline in Florida, where she retains her medical license. Governor Santis didn’t issue the State’s first stay-at-home order until March 30.
It took a month for the Holocaust oppression fantasy to hop from Brogan’s New Age alt-health click funnels into Red State Republican talking points.
On April 16th, three weeks into the COVID shutdown orders issued by Idaho Governor Brad Little, Idaho State Representative Heather Scott told a Houston podcaster that the Governor was “Little Hitler”, and suggested that the shelter-in-place provisions were authoritarian and genocidal.
“I mean, that’s no different than Nazi Germany,” Scott said, “where you had government telling people, ‘You are an essential worker or a nonessential worker,’ and the nonessential workers got put on a train.”
Four days later, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum issued a harsh rebuke of Scott — without naming her — and anyone else tempted to make the false comparison:
This accusation is as disgraceful as it is historically insupportable and morally reprehensible. The deportation of Jews to their deaths by a totalitarian, racist, antisemitic regime stands as an unmatched horrific time in modern history. To compare this to the efforts of our elected officials to attempt to balance our health and economic needs while under threat from a worldwide pandemic cheapens the sacrifice of the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Since last spring, Brogan has toned down the Holocaust co-optation, perhaps passing the baton to her husband Sayer Ji, who repeatedly pushes the idea on Telegram. Since the pandemic began, Brogan and Ji have increasingly merged their business interests.
In August, Ji gave followers a peak at his Nazi-heavy reading list:
In October, Ji helped to boost the profile of medical activist Vera Sharav. Sharav was interned by the Nazis as a young child and has gone on to become a medical activist, focusing on consent. The response to her work has been mixed, with some medical researchers appreciating her advocacy, and others criticizing her massive article in defence of anti-vax fraudster Andrew Wakefield.
Despite Ji’s hype, Sharav doesn’t indulge the conspiratorial premise that connects COVID lockdown measures to the Holocaust. She expresses concern about profit motives driving vaccine development, and criticizes poor sanitation protocols in long-term care homes in New York State. The interviewer uses leading questions to get Sharav to indulge the Holocaust comparison. But Sharav limits her statements to warning that if modern medicine “eliminates the sanctity of the individual”, its rationale can be called authoritarian.
In November, Ji warned that studies finding that the disinformation he produces should have limited reach on social media were signs of impending genocide.
The Nazi fetishes of conspiritualists have the ring of protesting too much. If any comparison is warranted, it would flow in the opposite direction. After all, the alt-health beliefs and sales pitches of people like Brogan and Ji resonate with all the keynotes of fascist body anxiety. As I noted previously, these include beliefs that:
- The uncultivated body fills up with bio-moral corruption.
- Without holistic discipline, the body will be poisoned by science and modernity, and lose its connection to its ancestral ways of being.
- The corrupted body will fail to protect the sacred earth. This will open society up to degenerate, but more vital forces.
- Those degenerate forces — racially impure and sexually deviant — have always been waiting at the gates of the body and the motherland. The time to strengthen and purify is always now.
The conspiritualist co-optation of the Holocaust has a deceptively gentle edge to it. Its proponents tend to contextualize the comparison within the promise of transformational renewal. When Plandemic director Mikki Willis followed up his propaganda release with a selfie-sermon that promised love and protection from him personally, he enacted a trauma bonding technique. The workflow is: “Something terrible is happening to everyone. But that’s okay, because my love will protect you.”
Brogan closed her “Message to Dispel Fear” with a similar message.
“I hope this helps to orient you a bit,” she said, after warning about impending oppression for 22 minutes. “I’ll continue to provide you with resources and perspectives that I feel are provocative in all the right ways.
“I just want to really convey that we are all going to be okay. You’re all already okay.”