RFK Jr.’s claims that Ashkenazi Jews are more immune to COVID reemerge 

In an interview last week, Kennedy, an independent presidential candidate, defended the widely denounced comments saying, ‘This is a scientific study. It’s not a racist statement. It’s just the truth’

John Parra/Getty Images for Latino Wall Street

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 08: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends the Latino Wall Street Awards 2024 at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Auditorium on June 08, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

In recent interviews, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has returned to bizarre and widely denounced claims he first made nearly a year ago that the COVID-19 virus was “ethnically targeted” such that Ashkenazi Jewish and Chinese people were more immune, and Caucasians and Black people less so.

Kennedy doubled down on the claims in a recent interview, News Center Maine, an NBC affiliate, reported earlier this week. “This is a scientific study. It’s not a racist statement. It’s just the truth,” Kennedy said in a brief clip included in the News Center Maine segment. 

The full context of Kennedy’s remarks was not included in the clip, but the study Kennedy has repeatedly cited in connection to the claims does not appear to support them.

His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Kennedy was first reported to have made the claims in a meeting with reporters in July 2023. He later denied making the comments, saying he was instead arguing that the U.S. and other governments are developing “ethnically targeted bioweapons.” He subsequently said that he “should’ve been more careful about what I said.”

In the original comments, Kennedy said, “COVID-19. There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately… COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese. We don’t know whether it was deliberately targeted or not but there are papers out there that show the racial or ethnic differential and impact.”

Kennedy again addressed the claims in an interview this week with The Young Turks, a progressive digital publication. In that interview, he appeared to express a somewhat different opinion than he did in the News Center Maine interview, while again misrepresenting the study’s conclusions.

“I was just citing a peer-reviewed published paper,” Kennedy said. “There’s certainly some nations that did a lot better but we don’t know why… I wasn’t saying [the paper] was true.”

He claimed that his original comments had been intentionally misreported — although the original comments are on video — that the conversation was off the record and that he hadn’t said the virus was deliberately targeted.

He also acknowledged that the comments could be weaponized against Jews and that he wouldn’t have made the comments publicly.

Prior to his presidential run, Kennedy was best known as a prominent anti-vaccine activist, who repeatedly compared public health measures implemented in response to COVID-19 to the Nazi regime.

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