Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Faces Accusations of Antisemitism and Racism for Spreading False COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Long-time Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is facing accusations of making antisemitic and racist remarks after he was recorded discussing a false conspiracy theory about COVID-19. In the recorded video, Kennedy suggests that the virus was “targeted to” certain ethnicities, claiming that Chinese people and Jews of European descent are more immune. However, U.S. intelligence agencies, health officials, and experts have all agreed that there is no evidence to support the theory that the virus was engineered.

Kennedy insists that his comments were taken out of context and that he was misunderstood. He clarifies that he was referring to immunity in general, not specific ethnicities being “spared.” Kennedy also highlights his family’s history of supporting Israel, emphasizing his campaign’s commitment to restoring the Democratic Party’s traditional support for the country.

The controversy began when The New York Post published a two-minute clip of Kennedy’s remarks, which were made during a press dinner. In the video, Kennedy makes several false and misleading claims, including the suggestion that the virus may be ethnically targeted against Caucasian and Black people. Health officials around the world have attributed the disproportionate impact of the virus on certain groups to underlying health inequities, not genetic or ethnic factors.

Kennedy, an attorney, activist, and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a history of spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation on public health issues. His recent comments have been widely criticized, with the Anti-Defamation League condemning them as feeding into antisemitic and sinophobic conspiracy theories. Other Jewish organizations and leaders have also expressed their concerns about the offensive nature of Kennedy’s remarks.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that certain minority groups have had disproportionately higher rates of deaths from COVID-19, even when accounting for age. This disparity is attributed to pre-existing health inequities and limited access to healthcare, not genetic markers.

Kennedy has spoken with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a friend of his, to discuss the controversy. Boteach acknowledges that they have strong disagreements on several topics but states that he believes Kennedy is an ally to Jews and not an antisemite. However, he strongly condemns Kennedy’s comments and emphasizes how they contribute to the dangerous rise of antisemitism.

In response to the backlash, Kennedy issued a statement challenging The New York Post’s headline and clarifying that he has never suggested that the virus was engineered to “spare Jews.” In a tweet, he also denies implying that the virus was deliberately targeted based on ethnicity. However, questions surround the nature of the event where Kennedy made these comments, with conflicting reports about whether it was off the record or not.

Despite launching a long shot bid for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination, Kennedy has managed to attract support from some Republicans and far-right figures. FEC records show that a significant percentage of his donors have a history of donating to Republicans, emphasizing the divide and crossover in political support for his campaign.

In conclusion, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s recent comments on COVID-19 have sparked accusations of antisemitism and racism. While Kennedy insists that his remarks were misunderstood, health officials and experts maintain that there is no evidence to support his conspiracy theories. Jewish organizations and leaders have condemned his comments, highlighting the dangerous rise of antisemitism. The controversy surrounding Kennedy’s candidacy underscores the divisions and crossover in political support that exist in the current political landscape.