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Anti-Vaccine Rally Draws Hundreds Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews attended a “vaccine symposium” in New York, where leaders of the anti-vaccination movement shared false information on the measles outbreak among the Jewish community, The New York Times reported.

Organized by a Jewish group in Rockland County, northwest of New York City, the event called on doctors, rabbis and lobbyists to share the supposed horrors of vaccination.

A pediatrician insisted Jews were being given “bad lots” of vaccines — sharing a new strain of the virus. A British doctor who wrote a discredited study linking vaccines with autism, gave a fear-mongering lecture on Skype. And An ultra-Orthodox rabbi accused New York Mayor Bill de Blasio of using the measles outbreak to cover up “more serious” diseases brought by Central American migrants.

“We Hasidim have been chosen as the target,” Rabbi Hillel Handler said. “The campaign against us has been successful.”

The country is experiencing the largest measles outbreak in decades. Since it began in New York City’s ultra-Orthodox communities in the fall, health officials have been campaigning to get people vaccinated amidst the spread of misinformation.

Men and women were separated by a makeshift partition at the event, according to the Times. The evening was condemned by local officials, health authorities and local ultra-Orthodox rabbis.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected]


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