Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Photo: Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. (RFK Jr.) is a Democratic Presidential candidate for the 2024 election and the third son of former U.S. Attorney General & Senator Robert F. Kennedy. RFK Jr. has veered sharply away from his father’s legacy of unwavering support for the Jewish people and their homeland, choosing instead to embrace the bitter taste of antisemitism in his rhetoric and actions. Upon entering the 2024 presidential election, RFK Jr. appeared to be participating in an ‘apology tour’ for these actions. Unfortunately, the damage – of vile Jew-hatred through the guise of age-old conspiracies – has been done. 

In 2015, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. visited Louis Farrakhan and hailed him a “truly great partner” for his involvement in pushing vaccine theories targeting African Americans. In 2019, Farrakhan was named StopAntisemitism’s ‘Antisemite of the Week‘ for his atrocious antisemitic rhetoric of calling Jews “termites,” blaming them for the slave trade, making false references to “Jewish power,” and claiming the modern Jewish people are “fake Jews.”

Kennedy later continued to collaborate with the Nation of Islam on vaccine issues and claimed he was not aware of Farrakhan’s history of antisemitism at the time. However, his private diary revealed contradictory statements, expressing concerns about Farrakhan’s antisemitic views as he describes his disillusionment with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, writing: “His [Jackson’s] love affair with Louis Farrakhan and his Jewish xenophobia are also unforgivable.” Kennedy claimed to have cut ties with the Nation of Islam after learning of Farrakhan’s comments about Jews, but in 2021 Kennedy hosted Tony Muhammad, a Nation of Islam official, to discuss an unfounded claim that scientists were conducting harmful experiments on black Americans through vaccinations.

RFK Jr. also defended Roger Waters who was crowned StopAntisemitism’s “Antisemite of the Week” last month for his continued antisemitism online and throughout his concerts. After Jewish organizations condemned Waters’ actions and speech on Jewish “power” and “control,” RFK Jr. tweeted: “Roger You are the global hero Orwell had in mind when he said “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” The high priests of the totalitarian orthodoxies are trying to silence you with censorship, gaslighting and defamation. Please keep speaking truth to power!” Kennedy quickly deleted the tweet and attempted to claim his words were in reference to the COVID-19 vaccine.

On July 15, 2023, video surfaced of Kennedy discussing a disproven claim between COVID-19 and the Jewish people. In the footage Kennedy states, “COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.” Jewish organizations, the Democratic party, and even members of the Kennedy family were quick to dismiss RFK Jr’s., words as antisemitic.

Video footage obtained by the NY Post of RFK Jr.

For centuries, Jews have been at the center of conspiracy theories related to pandemics, wars, slavery, and economic status. The notion that Jews bear the blame for diseases or are somehow immune to their effects harkens back to the medieval period. As with the anti-Jewish conspiracies of the past, there is zero evidence to support RFK Jr.’s claims about COVID-19’s connection to the Jewish people.

On July 20th, 2023, Kennedy testified during the House Judiciary hearing of censorship and claimed, “I want to say this, while I’m on the record, that in my entire life and, while I’m under oath, in my entire life, I have never uttered a phrase that was either racist, or antisemitic.” According to documented statements of his in the past, this is simply false. For example:

  • Just weeks before Kennedy made this declaration in the House, he met with the vile anti-Jewish rapper, Ice Cube. In June 2020, Ice Cube was named StopAntisemitism’s ‘Antisemite of the Week‘ for supporting the beliefs of the radicalized hate group ‘The Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI). ‘The BHI sect maintains that today’s Jews are religious converts who descended from the Khazars, with no historical connection to the land of Israel. 
  • In 2022, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. issued an apology for his remarks insinuating that the conditions under the COVID-19 restrictions and mandates were more severe than those endured by Anne Frank’s experiences during the Holocaust. In response, his wife, actor Cheryl Hines, tweeted separately, distancing herself from his statement and calling it “reprehensible and insensitive.
  • On June 5, 1968, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian who held strong anti-Zionist beliefs assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy Sr. Sirhan murdered the Senator over his open support of the State of Israel. RFK Jr. wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that he denies that Sirhan is responsible for the death of his father. 

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism is a comprehensive guideline that defines antisemitism as a certain perception of Jews, which may target their religion, ethnicity, or the state of Israel. It includes manifestations such as hatred, discrimination, and conspiracy theories about Jewish people. The definition is used globally to help identify and combat various forms of antisemitism.

Those who continually violate this definition of antisemitism – like Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. – should never be in the position of running for President of the United States.