Argentine journalist said the coronavirus was created by rich Americans and Israelis

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — An Argentine journalist apologized after saying  that the coronavirus was created by rich Americans and Israelis during a prime-time news program.

Tomás Méndez, host of the popular ADN Tv, said on Wednesday that “bats are not responsible for the coronavirus, humans are.”

Those humans, he said, are “the richest of the world, some born in the United States, others in Israel and another in Europe,” who “are the owners of your life, who created this virus.” He singled out the Rothschild family, who often appear in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and Bill Gates.

His comments triggered harsh criticism.

“Linking the Jewish community to economic power and conspiracies shows a clear anti-Semitic matrix of behavior,” the National Institute Against Xenophobia and Racism, or INADI, said in a statement on Twitter.

Mendez made “a stupid statement that only an anti-Semite can formulate. The association of power, tragedy and responsibility of the powerful in them is old and by including Israel in it, we know what he is talking about,” the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Agencies said in a statement.

On Thursday, Mendez apologized during the program: “I want to apologize to the Jewish people if they felt offended yesterday and yes, they felt that way.”