Conspiracy-Filled Rant by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Sparks Accusations of Antisemitism and Racism in Presidential Campaign

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democratic candidate running for president, has faced accusations of antisemitism and racism after making a conspiracy-filled rant about the Covid-19 virus. According to an article published in The New York Post, Kennedy claimed in a private gathering that the virus was engineered to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people while disproportionately attacking Caucasians and Black people. His remarks have stirred backlash, with many condemning the antisemitic and racist undertones present in his statements.

Kennedy has built his political career on promoting false conspiracy theories, including spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines, as well as debunked links between childhood vaccines and autism. He has also made claims about mass surveillance, 5G cellular phone technology, the ill effects of Wi-Fi, and the alleged “stolen” election in 2004.

However, his suggestion that the pandemic spared Chinese people and Jews of European descent crosses a new line into bigotry. Asian Americans faced a surge of assaults at the beginning of the pandemic, with individuals blaming the Chinese for deliberately releasing the virus. Kennedy’s remarks about Ashkenazi Jews also tap into antisemitic stereotypes, drawing on centuries-old notions of Jewish immunity from diseases.

Abraham Foxman, the former head of the Anti-Defamation League, criticized Kennedy’s remarks, stating that they perpetuated antisemitic beliefs. Foxman rejected the idea that Kennedy’s comments were simply a result of ignorance, asserting that Kennedy likely believed in the conspiracy theories he promoted.

In response to the New York Post story, Kennedy defended his remarks and doubled down on his conspiratorial theories. He claimed on Twitter that the United States was developing ethnically targeted bioweapons and referenced a scientific paper to support his argument. However, scientists dismissed his conclusions, pointing out that the paper did not make any mention of Chinese people being more receptive to the virus or any notion of targeting the virus based on ethnicity.

Kennedy later denied charges of antisemitism on Twitter, stating that he understood the pain caused by false accusations and emphasizing his family’s support for Israel and their fight against antisemitism. However, this is not the first time Kennedy has ventured into sensitive territory when discussing Judaism in relation to Covid-19. Last year, he made an inappropriate comparison to Anne Frank, suggesting that Covid restrictions were worse than hiding in an attic during Hitler’s Germany.

Jewish leaders and politicians immediately voiced their anger over Kennedy’s comments, condemning them as offensive and contributing to the spread of sinophobic and antisemitic conspiracy theories surrounding Covid-19. Representative Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, tweeted that Kennedy was a disgrace to the Kennedy name and the Democratic Party. He also emphasized that his entire Jewish family had contracted Covid-19.

As Kennedy battles accusations of antisemitism and racism, his political future remains uncertain amidst the backlash to his conspiracy-filled beliefs and statements.