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March 11, 2018 10:52 am

Putin Draws Scrutiny for Naming Jews ‘With Russian Citizenship’ as Potential 2016 US Election Meddling Suspects

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons.

A suggestion by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s in a NBC News interview that Jews might have meddled in the 2016 US presidential election raised eyebrows across the world this weekend.

Dismissing allegations that the Kremlin orchestrated an effort to bolster Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton, Putin — who is expected to easily win re-election in a March 18 vote — queried NBC’s Megyn Kelly, “Why have you decided the Russian authorities, myself included, gave anybody permission to do this?”

Referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for election interference, Putin asked, “So what if they’re Russians? There are 146 million Russians. So what? … I don’t care. I couldn’t care less. … They do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”

“Maybe they’re not even Russians,” he continued. “Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don’t know.”

In a tweet on Saturday, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called Putin’s words “eerily reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

“He should clarify his comments at the earliest opportunity,” the AJC said.

On Sunday, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt stated, “President Putin bizarrely has resorted to the blame game by pointing the finger at Jews and other minorities in his country.”

“It is deeply disturbing to see the Russian president giving new life to classic antisemitic stereotypes that have plagued his country for hundreds of years, with a comment that sounds as if it was ripped from the pages of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’” Greenblatt continued. “We live in a moment when antisemitic incidents are on the rise and words can have profound consequences, particularly when spoken by public figures or elected officials like President Putin. We hope he swiftly clarifies his words before they cause further damage to those communities he has singled out.”

Israeli lawmaker Ksenia Svetlova, of the center-left Zionist Union list, also criticized Putin in a tweet.

The National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry (NCSEJ) described Putin’s remarks as “troubling” and asked the Russian leader to “clarify exactly what he meant when singling out Jews and others for meddling in the 2016 American elections.”

“Russia’s history of anti-Semitism goes back centuries,” the NCSEJ said. “It is unfortunate that President Putin, who has gone out of his way to support the Russian Jewish community, resorted in this interview to promoting old and offensive stereotypes.”

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  • Dafydd

    Previously I did not believe that Russian had anything to do with the US elections, but when one someone resorts to ancient anti semitic blood libel, they are are obviously capable of anything, and immediately under suspicion. Putin does not appear t be as inteligent as one thought.

  • Prodos Marinakis

    Wasn’t the point of Mr Putin’s list of who to single out and blame for “meddling” MEANT to be a list of ABSURD alternatives that are just as (absurdly) likely (i.e. unlikely) as blaming the Russian state?

    That’s how I read it.

  • Wally

    Why do we even put “Elders” out on the table again for all Jew haters to re investigate? Why are we giving this off the wall response, any leverage? Why don’t we just pass it off as idle wishful thinking? Why do we give this stuff free publicity?

  • allioops

    I love the A D L! thanks you!

  • A. Golem

    Blessed be and long live The Elders of Russian Zionists!

  • TerrorIsEvil

    Putin is afraid and he is coming undone: 1) A war that cannot be won in Syria and with lots of blood on his hands. 2) An economy being undermined by his militarism which takes bread off the Russian peoples’ plates (and which has put his authoritarian regime way behind the Chinese economy). 3) A series of deals he made secretly with the Clinton – Obama – Soros team to undermine the Trump Presidency and to cause general havoc. 4) His illegal deals with the Clinton foundation over Uranium One. 5) A desire to regain the Soviet Union on a shoestring budget. 6) A growing realization (even among those on the left in the UN who he used to count on) that he is a dictator with evil intentions. 6) A coalition with tyrants in Syria and Iran and among the terror groups that cannot be sustained and which these terror groups and nations know cannot last because they are Islamists who dislike other totalitarian bullies to claim or hone in on their territory. There might be looming conflict between Russia and his current allies of convenience and power.7) A growing hit list of Russian agents he has attacked and killed which shows he is paranoiac.

    I do not think that Putin is an antisemite – he will say and do anything to deflect criticism and he sometimes does it in stupid calculating ways for impact and attention. Russia has almost always worked against the modern state of Israel in the choices Russia makes for allies and in the way they help them with weapons, armaments and special nuclear assistance. Putin does this to gain markets and to oppose anything the US does in any given region. Putin is a classic megalomaniac and narcissist. That is why he likes to collude with the US left – the Obama – Soros – Clinton gang.

  • Kwitcherbellyakin

    I do not see his comment as a sleight against Jews. And, considering who the interviewer was, I have to also wonder how serious Putin was, going in. He did not accept any personal of national interest and from history already learned, we know if there was any influence exerted, it would have been against Trump, rather than for him.