Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

RFK Jr. gains traction amid revelations he compared COVID-19 vaccine mandates to Nazi experiments

In a video clip from 2020, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. warns against COVID-19 rules, adding that the ‘Nazis did that in the camps in World War Two – they tested vaccines on gypsies and Jews’

This article originally appeared on Haaretz, and was reprinted here with permission. Sign up here to get Haaretz’s free Daily Brief newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Newly emerged video shows Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. comparing mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic to Nazi medical experimentation on Jews in concentration camps.

The clip comes as Kennedy is steadily gaining momentum as a fringe challenger to U.S. President Joe Biden, despite his frequent invocations of the Holocaust when promoting his anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.

The video, published by PatriotTakes, is from an August 2020 address from Kennedy to the nascent European chapter of his anti-vax organization known as Children’s Health Defense.

“They’re going to have the right to compel unwanted medical interventions on us. The Nazis did that in the camps in World War Two – they tested vaccines on gypsies and Jews,” Kennedy said.

“The world was so horrified after the war. We signed the Nuremberg charter, and we all pledged when we do that, we would never again impose unwanted medical interventions on human beings without informed consent,” he continued.

Kennedy further decried how “all of that conviction has suddenly disappeared” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are walking around in masks with science [that] has not been explained to them. They are doing what they’re told. These government agencies are orchestrating obedience,” he said, decrying how this is “not the product of democracy. It’s the product of a pharmaceutical-driven biosecurity agenda that will enslave the entire human race.”

Kennedy further described this as a “dystopian nightmare where the apocalyptical forces of ignorance and greed will be running our lives and ruining our children.”

His remarks emerged as he continues to further establish his pro-Israel bona fides, all while concerns grow that his positions provide a fig leaf to antisemitic conspiracy theorists and bad-faith actors on all sides of the political spectrum.

Days after flip-flopping on defending Roger Waters amid the Pink Floyd co-founder’s embroilment in an antisemitism controversy via providing a convoluted explanation of his own support for Israel, Kennedy opted to mark Elie Wiesel’s yahrzeit on social media.

“Today is Elie Wiesel’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death,” he tweeted, adding “I take this moment to affirm the commitment he stood for: ‘Never again!’”

Kennedy further used the moment as an opportunity to reject the Iran nuclear deal, citing Israel’s security.

“To ensure the security of Israel and, indeed, the Iranian people, Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. This is non-negotiable. It will require constant vigilance and stringent verification,” he said, repeating general political orthodoxy.

“The JCPOA is based on outdated assumptions and conditions, and is not appropriate to our time,” Kennedy continued, disavowing the Obama-era deal that Donald Trump cancelled and Biden shelved last year after unfruitful negotiations.

“But I will set my sights on real peace in the Mideast, including between Israel and Iran. When I am president, we will set a new standard for international behavior,” Kennedy added, offering a new wrinkle to his Middle East platform.

Kennedy further noted “the U.S. bears historical culpability for much of the tension in the region, which is partly the result of our regrettable history of regime change operations, coups, and support for despotic regimes in Iran and elsewhere,” he said, echoing much of the anti-establishment rhetoric that has made him increasingly appealing for the far-left.

Kennedy, however, has also earned surprising support from the Zionist Organization of America, considered among the most right-wing organizations within the American-Jewish establishment.

Recent polling shows Kennedy has received 15 percent of support among a sample of primary voters with 21 percent saying they view him positively – numbers that still present him as a long-shot but demonstrate undeniable popularity among a healthy portion of voters.

Since his relative ascent in recent days, Kennedy has appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast, resulting in anti-vaxxers harassing scientist Peter Hotez who spent much of the pandemic debunking misinformation relating to both the virus and vaccines.

Hotez, who is related to Holocaust survivors and victims, has previously been harassed with Nazi imagery and antisemitic barbs due to his promotion of COVID-19 vaccines.

 

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.