OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Rep. Jim Walsh said he’s sorry he wore a yellow Star of David while speaking to a conservative group last Saturday at a Lacey church.
“I don’t think it’s enough,” said Miri Cypers, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.
Walsh, a Republican who represents Grays Harbor County, declined interview requests with KING 5 News, but in an interview with the Seattle Times, he said he was given the star by someone from the Washingtonians For Change organization.
Walsh spoke at the event at a Lacey Church and said the star was meant to symbolize some of the rights group members felt they lost in pandemic restrictions: shutdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine requirements.
Jewish people were forced by the Nazis to wear a yellow Star of David patch on their clothes during the Holocaust.
“Using [the Star of David] to compare [the Holocaust] to health restrictions meant to save lives and advance public health is just such an outrageous connection, something that should never be done,” said Cypers.
Walsh initially defended his move on Facebook, but after calls for apologies from activists and fellow lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, Walsh issued an apology on KTTH’s “The Jason Rantz Show” Wednesday.
On Thursday, Walsh's office sent out a written statement: "I apologize for using a profound image in a way that was inappropriate and offensive to so many people. It was wrong. It won't happen ever again.”
Cypers said Walsh should also visit Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity and should speak with Holocaust survivors
“I would encourage him to work proactively to really think about how he can make our society a more inclusive space, as anti-Semitism and all sorts of hate crimes are just skyrocketing,” Cypers said.
Cypers did not call for Walsh to resign. She said that decision should be up to Walsh or his fellow legislators.