Antisemitic and Racist Conspiracy Theory: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Claims Covid-19 Was Engineered to Spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese People

AP Standards Article:
Title: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Controversial Covid-19 Remarks Sparks Accusations of Antisemitism and Racism

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democratic presidential candidate, is facing allegations of antisemitism and racism following a conspiracy-filled discussion where he claimed that the Covid-19 virus was engineered to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people. The remarks, captured on video during a private gathering in New York and later reported by The New York Post, have drawn widespread criticism, with many deeming them bigoted and offensive. Kennedy has a history of promoting false conspiracy theories, including debunked connections between childhood vaccines and autism, as well as unfounded claims about mass surveillance and 5G technology. However, his recent comments about ethnic targeting have caused a new wave of controversy.

Kennedy asserted that Covid-19 attacks certain races disproportionately, sparing Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese individuals. These statements, linking the virus to specific racial groups, have drawn accusations of both antisemitism and racism. The Jewish community and Asian Americans, who have already faced assaults and blame related to the pandemic, were particularly alarmed by Kennedy’s unsubstantiated claims.

For centuries, the false notion that Ashkenazi Jews are distinct from Caucasians has fueled dangerous bigotry. The conspiracy that Jews are immune to devastating events has been used in antisemitic attacks throughout history, from the Black Plague to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Abraham Foxman, the former head of the Anti-Defamation League, stated that Kennedy’s remarks perpetuate age-old antisemitic stereotypes.

Kennedy’s response to the backlash only intensified his conspiratorial views. In a Twitter post, he defended his claims by suggesting that the United States is developing ethnically targeted bioweapons, citing the collection of Russian DNA in Ukraine as evidence. However, the scientific paper he linked to did not mention “Ashkenazi Jews,” and his conclusions were dismissed by experts in the field.

This is not the first time Kennedy has faced controversy in relation to Covid. At a previous anti-vaccination rally, he made an insensitive reference to Anne Frank, comparing Covid restrictions to her hiding in an attic during the Holocaust. Even his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, publicly condemned his remark on Twitter.

The Jewish community immediately expressed their anger over Kennedy’s Covid remarks. The Anti-Defamation League condemned his claims, stating that they contribute to sinophobic and antisemitic conspiracy theories surrounding the virus. Representative Josh Gottheimer, who comes from a Jewish family and contracted Covid, denounced Kennedy, calling him a disgrace to his family’s name and the Democratic Party.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s controversial remarks about the Covid-19 virus have sparked accusations of antisemitism and racism. His assertion that the virus was engineered to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese individuals has drawn criticism and condemnation from various communities. In his political career, Kennedy has promoted conspiracy theories and unfounded claims, including baseless links between vaccines and autism, as well as ill health effects from Wi-Fi. The reaction to his recent comments highlights the need for responsible discourse, especially during a global health crisis.