A conspiracy-filled tirade by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that the Covid-19 virus was designed to save Ashkenazi Jews and the Chinese people has drawn accusations of anti-Semitism and racism in the Democratic presidential candidate’s race.
“COVID-19. There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. Covid-19 disproportionately attacks certain races,” Kennedy said in a private meeting in New York that was captured on video by The New York Post. “Covid-19 is aimed at attacking Caucasians and Blacks. The most immune people are the Ashkenazi Jews and the Chinese.”
Mr. Kennedy has made his political career on bogus conspiracy theories not only about covid-19 and covid vaccines, but also about disproven links between common childhood vaccines and autism, mass surveillance and security technology. 5G cellular telephony, the harmful health effects of Wi-Fi and a “theft”. ” election in 2004 that returned the presidency to George W. Bush.
But his suggestion that the coronavirus pandemic saved the Chinese and Jews of European descent veered off into new and intolerant territory.
Asian Americans suffered a brutal series of assaults early in the covid pandemic from people who blamed the Chinese for intentionally releasing the virus into the world. And Mr. Kennedy’s comments about Ashkenazi Jews hit anti-Semitic tropes on multiple levels.
Ashkenazi Jews are generally descended from those who settled in Eastern Europe after the Roman Empire destroyed the Jewish state around AD 70. Sephardic Jews went to the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain.
The idea that Ashkenazi Jews are somehow separate from Caucasians has fueled deadly intolerance for centuries, and the conspiracy of Jewish immunity to tragedy has been part of anti-Semitic attacks since the Black Death and as recently as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 2001.
Abraham Foxman, who worked for decades as director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights organization, condemned “anti-Semitic stereotypes dating back to the Middle Ages that claimed Jews protected themselves from disease.”
“It can’t be ignorance because he’s not ignorant, so he must believe it,” Foxman said Saturday night.
Mr. Kennedy responded to The New York Post story with a defense that only deepened his conspiracy theories. He wrote on Twitter that he “pinpointed” that the United States is “developing ethnically targeted bioweapons,” a point he made in his comments captured on video, when he repeated Russian propaganda that the United States is collecting DNA in Ukraine for targeting purposes. Russians with custom bioweapons.
Mr Kennedy also linked to a scientific paper which he said showed that the structure of the Covid-19 virus made black and Caucasian people more susceptible, and “ethnic Chinese, Finns and Ashkenazi Jews” less susceptible. receptive.
But the study he linked to, published in July 2020, early in the pandemic and before effective treatments emerged, made no reference to the Chinese being more receptive to the virus, nor did he speak of attacking the virus. He said that a particular receptor for the virus did not appear to be present in Amish and Ashkenazi Jews.
His conclusions were flatly dismissed by scientists.
“Jewish or Chinese protease consensus sequences are not a thing in biochemistry, but they are in racism and anti-Semitism.” Angela Rasmussen saidvirologist at the University of Saskatchewan.
mr kennedy He returned to Twitter shortly after midnight. on Sunday to call the anti-Semitism charges against him “a disgusting fabrication.”
“I understand the emotional pain these distortions and inaccurate fabrications have caused many Jews who remember poison pit blood libels and the deliberate spread of disease as a pretext for genocidal programs against their ancestors,” he wrote in a lengthy post. “My father and uncles, John F. Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy, devoted enormous political energy during their careers to supporting Israel and combating anti-Semitism. I intend to spend my political career making those family causes my priority.”
Mr Kennedy’s comments are not the first time he has veered towards the intersection of Judaism and covid. In his zeal to condemn steps to stop the spread of the virus, spoke last year at an anti-vaccination mandate rally in Washington, saying, “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did”, suggesting that the Covid restrictions were worse.
Even his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, condemned the Anne Frank comment.
“My husband’s reference to Anne Frank at a DC mandate rally was reprehensible and insensitive,” she wrote on Twitter.
The wrath of Jewish leaders over his covid comments was immediate.
The Anti-Defamation League wrote: “The claim that COVID-19 was a bioweapon created by the Chinese or Jews to target Caucasians and Blacks is deeply offensive and fuels Sinophobic and anti-Semitic Covid-19 conspiracy theories. that we have seen evolve over the years. the last three years.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ, wrote on Twitter: “RFK Jr. is a disgrace to the Kennedy name and the Democratic Party. For the record, my entire family, which is Jewish, got covid.”