Jewish backlash to Israel's UN ambassador's Nazi-era yellow star 'stunt'

Jewish backlash to Israel's UN ambassador's Nazi-era yellow star 'stunt'
The chairman of Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center fiercely criticised the country's ambassador to the United Nations for wearing a yellow star, a symbol of the Nazi Holocaust of Jews.
3 min read
31 October, 2023
Erdan said he would wear the yellow star 'as a symbol of pride' [Getty]

Israel's United Nations ambassador wore a yellow star on his chest on Monday as he addressed the Security Council, provocatively pledging to don the badge of Nazi oppression of Jews until members of the body condemn Hamas's "atrocities".

Gilad Erdan denounced the Security Council for "staying silent" over the unprecedented deadly attacks by Hamas against Israel on 7 October, which killed 1,400 Israelis.

Erdan said he would wear the yellow star "as a symbol of pride", despite a backlash from Jewish people across the world who condemned the politicisation of this symbol of the oppression of Jews, which resulted in 6 million Jews being murdered by the Nazis.

The UN's 15-member council has not been able to adopt a single resolution on the three-week-long war in the besieged Gaza Strip, which has killed over 8,500 Palestinians, including over 3,500 children, due to differences in the body.

The US has stalwartly backed Israel in its bombing of Gaza and rejected calls for a ceasefire despite calls from the UN's relief bodies for an urgent pause in fighting.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said the siege of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of its residents.

Erdan denounced the Security Council for allegedly "staying silent" over the 7 October attacks by Hamas on Israel.

His wearing of the badge was swiftly criticised by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, which urged him to wear the Israeli flag instead.

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan said he was "sorry to see" the move by the Israeli delegation in New York.

"This act disgraces the victims of the Holocaust as well as the state of Israel," Dayan said in a Hebrew-language post on X, formerly Twitter.

"The yellow star symbolises the helplessness of the Jewish people and their being at the mercy of others. We now have an independent state and a strong army. We are the masters of our own fate. Today we will fasten to our lapel a blue and white flag, not a yellow star."


Many took to the social media platform to denounce Erdan's move.

"My government is degrading Holocaust victims in order to buy time to obliterate more of Gaza," Israeli activist Benzi Sanders posted on X

"Unfortunately, the Israeli government has been doing this for a long time: misusing the European Jews murdered in the Holocaust as an ideological shield for its own interests," history professor at Tel Aviv University, Joel D. Parker, posted on X.

"It's bad taste. And if they really wanted to buy more time for the operation, they should send more food, water, and fuel for electricity to the civilians of Gaza," journalist Stephan Hallmann said on X.

"Israel’s representative is dishonouring victims of the Holocaust while condoning, abetting and encouraging genocide. I can’t express the anger and contempt I feel for him," Jewish author Esther Woolfson said on X.

Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Europe were forced to wear the star to distinguish them from the rest of the population, leading to their eventual imprisonment in ghettos and then death camps. For most Jews, the badge represents a horrific reminder of the Nazi party's campaign of annihilation of their people.