Robert F Kennedy Jr, a Democratic candidate for president, revived an antisemitic conspiracy theory when he asserted that Covid-19 was “ethnically targeted” and that “Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese are the people who are most immune.”

On July 11, Kennedy made the controversial claim that “there is an argument to be made” that the sickness is “ethnically targeted” during a press conference in New York City.

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“Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese,” he said, according to a video of the event from The New York Post. “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.”

Watch the video here:

Kennedy, 69, also issued a grave warning about impending biological weapons with a “50% infection fatality rate” that would make COVID-19 “look like a walk in the park.”

“We do know that the Chinese are spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing ethnic bioweapons and we are developing ethnic bioweapons,” he claimed. “They’re collecting Russian DNA. They’re collecting Chinese DNA so we can target people by race.”

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Conspiracy theories attributing Jewish people to the spread of COVID-19 began to emerge in 2020 when an Oxford University poll indicated that a staggering 20% of English people supported the theory to some extent. Jewish organizations blasted the hypotheses as blatant racism, reflecting outdated myths about Jews that contributed to the Holocaust and are obviously false.

On Saturday morning, Kennedy released a statement in response to the reporting, and a representative for the campaign told The Independent that the Post ‘got it wrong’. “I have never, ever suggested that the Covid-19 virus was targeted to spare Jews,” Kennedy wrote on Twitter before echoing his claim that the US and other governments are “developing ethnically targeted bioweapons”.

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The candidate cited a July 2020 study and represented it as “proof of concept” for a bioweapon that targets specific ethnic groups. “In that sense, it serves as a kind of proof of concept for ethnically targeted bioweapons,” Mr Kennedy stated. “I do not believe and never implied that the ethnic effect was deliberately engineered.”