The head of Israel’s Holocaust memorial on Tuesday criticized the country’s ambassador to the United Nations for wearing a yellow Star of David patch during an address to the Security Council, saying the symbol, which was used under the Nazis to identify Jews, dishonors both the country and victims of the Holocaust.
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that “the yellow patch symbolizes the helplessness of the Jewish people when we were at the mercy of others” and that Israelis should instead display the country’s blue-and-white flag as a sign of strength.
The Nazis ordered Jews to wear the yellow star badge during the Holocaust as an identification mark, to single them out for isolation and harassment and to widen the rift between Jews and other members of society, according to Yad Vashem.
Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gilad Erdan, wore the badge during a speech at an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Monday in New York in which he accused the council of failing to condemn Hamas for the Oct. 7 attack that killed about 1,400 people in Israel.
He said the lack of a formal condemnation by the council was reminiscent of a broader international failure during World War II to speak out against the Holocaust.
In the speech, in which he noted that his grandfather had died at Auschwitz, Mr. Erdan vowed that he and his team would wear yellow stars “from now on,” saying that “from this day on, each time you look at me, you will remember what staying silent in the face of evil means.”
Mr. Erdan then pinned a six-pointed yellow star with the words “never again” in capital letters on his left breast. Aides sitting behind him also donned the badge.
Mr. Erdan did not immediately respond to Mr. Dayan’s criticism.
The Security Council has struggled to come up with a unified response to the Israel-Hamas war, with rival resolutions failing to pass last week in a sign of the deep divide as Israel bombards the enclave in retaliation for the Hamas attack.
Russia and China vetoed a resolution put forth by the United States that did not demand a cease-fire and that also supported Israel’s right to self-defense. A resolution put forth by Russia called for a cease-fire, but did not pass after failing to receive the nine votes required.