Speaking to the Jewish News Service, a right-wing outlet funded by conservative megadonor Sheldon Adelson, Nazi conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, “It’s clear to me now that I need to be much more careful” about divulging his views on Jewish people.
“I have to learn a lesson from this, and the lesson I learn is that I have to understand that the words that I use have impact, and they can be misused and misinterpreted,” he said. “I regret talking about that study, and I am going to be careful to make sure that I don’t do anything like that in the future.”
Keep in mind, there is no “study” that claims COVID was engineered to spare Jewish people, as Kennedy claimed, or even that Jewish people were less affected by the pandemic. Indeed, the opposite is true. No one has misused or misinterpreted his words, and the evidence is quite clear: He loves to hang out with the worst people, including antisemites and pedophiles.
Given his proclivity to believe all conspiracy theories, Kennedy is (perhaps unavoidably so) a rank antisemite.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his organization Children's Health Defense are fans and promoters of James Corbett, a Sandy Hook and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “Hitler was a Rothschild” and “Hitler and the Nazis were one hundred percent completely and utterly set up … by the international banking community and the international crony capitalists.”
He is also a strong defender of overt antisemite Roger Waters.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. earned significant criticism for defending Roger Waters over the weekend, alleging “the high priests of the totalitarian orthodoxies” were attempting to silence him.
German police opened an investigation earlier this week into Waters’ performance where the former Pink Floyd cofounder donned a costume intended to evoke Nazi attire, for projecting Anne Frank’s name onto the stage, and imposing the logo of an Israeli armaments firm on a giant inflated pig.
There are many more examples here. Thus, it’s no surprise that he refuses to take responsibility for his bizarre COVID-Jewish conspiracy: “I regret saying what I said at that meeting because it’s caused so much harm, and it’s caused so much hurt to so many people. Not because of what I said or what I intended, but by the way it was distorted.” He still believes that COVID was bioengineered to spare Jewish and Chinese people, and we certainly know what he intended by spouting his dangerous claims. As the Anti-Defamation League put it to ABC News, Kennedy was feeding "into sinophobic and antisemitic conspiracy theories about COVID-19 that we have seen evolve over the last three years."
During that Jewish News Service interview, Kennedy insisted that he was not, despite all the evidence to the contrary, an antisemite. “The worst two accusations that anybody can make about you are that you’re an antisemite or a pedophile,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything worse.”
Ah, pedophilia has entered the chat.
Presumably, that quote means Kennedy thinks that pedophilia is bad. The QAnon conspiracy theorists who share his intellectual pedigree certainly claim so, having hijacked the social media hashtag “save the children” as their own. Their conspiracy theories are replete with dark tales of human and child trafficking, oftentimes with the name “Hillary Clinton” attached. Indeed, the famous Pizzagate conspiracy theory claimed that Clinton ran a child sex ring in the basement of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. The place didn’t even have a basement, but that didn’t stop one crazed believer from showing up with a rifle to investigate.
Yet in late June, Kennedy was happy to host Scott Ritter on his podcast to praise Russian dictator and war criminal Vladimir Putin.
You might remember Scott Ritter. Back in the day, he was a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991-1998, working to ensure that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein no longer kept weapons of mass destruction. Who knows if he was a good weapons inspector, but even back then he was hilariously bad at analysis and prognostication. Talking to a Portuguese radio station in the runup to the Iraq War, he claimed, “The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win ... We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable ... Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost.”
Spoiler alert: The U.S. waltzed into Baghdad a mere 22 days after the start of the war.
Ritter was also just as wrong about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tweeting on March 27, 2022, after it was clear that Russia was struggling with the most basic of military tasks, that “This war will go down in history as a strategic Russian victory. Russia will have halted NATO expansion, destroyed a dangerous den of Nazi ideology in Ukraine, redefined European security by undermining NATO, and demonstrated Russian military prowess, an important deterrent.”
Of course, NATO has never been more unified, and is infused with renewed purpose for the first time since the Cold War. The alliance has two powerful new members in formerly neutral Finland and Sweden. Ukraine has not been destroyed, and it’s a matter of when, not if, it joins NATO. All member countries have significantly increased their defense spending, and Russia’s military prowess has been exposed as a joke.
And responding to the news that Sweden’s ascent to NATO was imminent, Ritter claimed it didn’t matter because Russia would soon conquer the entire Baltic region.
He’s so wrong that the MAGA world and Kennedy’s love for him makes sense.
But being wrong isn’t a crime. In fact, for the MAGA and QAnon crowd that adores Ritter, it’s a feature, not a bug. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, after all, and they need someone to feed them sweet lies about Russia’s greatness and massive victories, like claiming that “Bakhmut has fallen. Ukraine has lost the war,” after Russia captured Ukraine’s 58th largest city following nine months of attritional and costly warfare. Feeding such inanities to the gullible is a lucrative grift.
This, on the other hand, is a crime: In 2011, Ritter was arrested and convicted for sending a “graphic” nude video of him masturbating during an online chat with an undercover detective he thought was a 15-year-old. According to police testimony from the trial, it was Ritter’s third such attempt to sexually connect with minors. In April 2001, he attempted to meet up with a minor at a McDonalds but was met by police, and just two months later in June 2001 he did the exact same thing, except this time it was a Burger King. He got off with six months probation and the arrests were sealed. The 2011 conviction led to two and half years in prison.
None of this is a secret. It’s all readily available info. But all you have to do to gain the trust of conspiracy theorists is claim that the arrests and conviction were “deep state” retaliation for exposing some truth, and the same people who find pedophiles under every rock will suddenly embrace an actual, honest-to-goodness real one.
So it’s funny seeing Kennedy, who claims the worst things possible are being called an antisemite and a pedophile, host a podcast that featured one of each.
Funnily enough, Kennedy eventually realized the optics of that episode might not be the best, and deleted it from his podcast. Too late, however.
One final Kennedy quote from that Jewish News Service story: “I have a very thick skin, and so much of this stuff bounces off of me. All I really need is a clear conscience. That’s my consolation.”
This is the guy suing Daily Kos and a community member for criticizing his appearance at a Nazi-organized rally in Berlin. “Thick skin” is certainly not the descriptor that most readily comes to mind.