Rose Hamid was wearing her white hijab with her turquoise headband when she protested Islamophobia by pinning onto her t-shirt an eight-pointed yellow star, designed to be reminiscent of the six-pointed Jewish star the Nazis forced Jews to wear — except the word “Muslim” was substituted for “Jude,” In an ironic display of agitprop, Rose, chose to don what Muslim Umayyad leader, Caliph Umar II, in the early 8th century forced Jews and other non-Muslims to wear – a yellow badge,
Rose stood up in silent protest, directly behind Donald Trump, and in full view of cameras, before security removed her from the room. Several other protesters who donned the yellow star were also removed, including Jewish attorney, Marty Rosenbluth, who helped design and disseminate the yellow star on his Facebook page, and came up with the offensive idea to substitute the original word “Jude” inside the star with “Muslim,” “Stop Islamophobia,” or “Go Fuck Yourself, Racist.”
It was colorful political theater adapted from the Jewish founders of the YIPPIES 1960 playbooks. And it worked. In no time, major media outlets across the world published pictures of Rose with her hijab wrapped around her head and the yellow star pinned to her shoulder being ejected from a Trump rally. Former United States Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich implored everyone to attend Trump rallies donning hijabs and yellow stars. In a moral sleight of hand, the long continuum of prejudiced behaviors was compressed into a single point: Trump’s rhetoric to temporarily halt all Muslims from entering the US was unabashedly equated with the enslavement, starvation, and targeted murder of all Jews in Europe. The barely noticeable difference in incendiary tactics between Trump and Rose’s crew was not mentioned.
Nary a word was said as Rose culturally appropriated the badge that Nazis used to identify Jews for their slaughter. So I will speak to Rose now:
Take off the yellow star, Rose. Take it off, now. You make a mockery of the evil it was a part of. I am the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. I have a right to speak. I grew up with half my family decimated by the Nazis; 30 members of my family I never knew. Their death impacts my children and me to this day. There is an emptiness, a gaping hole where a grandfather would have guided, where cousins would have played. There are no placeholders for these holes; we walk around with the emptiness. It sears during family events that are smaller than they should be. We walk around in a cloud of ignorance, not knowing some of the medical diseases we are at risk for because almost half our family died of unnatural causes.
Despite the hysteria in the US today, a Jew is still almost four times more likely to be a victim of hate crimes than a Muslim (the most recent FBI statistics show 56.8% vs. 16.1%) . You don’t get to wear that icon of evil because it serves as a ploy to gain sympathy for your cause. Don’t demonstrate disrespect and insensitivity while you ask others to be sensitive. For God’s sake, don’t trivialize evil. If your morality is failing, at least have a bit of empathy, and take off that star.
If you want to do honor to the yellow star, wear it in protest at Muslim Brotherhood rallies or in extremist Mosques, where surely you must have heard they echo the Nazi call for the murder of Jews. Wear it during Hamas rallies when their American supporters cry “Hitler should have finished the Jews off.” Wear it, as the King of Denmark did (so the story went,) so that all his countrymen would wear it too, and the Nazis would not know who is a Jew. Wear it among the modern day Nazis, where your hijab would complement the yellow star because of the beauty it would represent. Until then, please take off that yellow star, your wearing it is a moral offense.
And to Jewish attorney, Marty Rosenbluth, I will say: I hope you don’t continue taking ideas out of the YIPPIE playbook. Paul Krassner, the Jewish co-founder of the YIPPIES and originator of its name, quipped to me privately and then publicly that he wanted to sew his foreskin back on because it was taken from him without his consent. We need caring human rights activists, ones that aren’t misguided, and ones that won’t continue to shock my Muslim-Arab friends when they come in contact with the many Jews who commendably advocate for the advancement of other groups while disturbingly trampling on their own. Please keep your foreskin off, Marty, and while you’re at it, take off that altered yellow star, too.