Putin’s Smear
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Editorial

Putin’s Smear

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Getty Images

While the Women’s March avoids criticizing the anti-Semitic ravings of Rev. Louis Farrakhan (see here), President Trump seems to have a harsh word for just about anybody — from Alec Baldwin to Meryl Streep — other than Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Trump praises his Russian counterpart as a strong leader and consistently has rejected findings from the FBI, CIA and other U.S. agencies that hold Russia responsible for hacking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

This past week, in a long and sometimes strange interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin seemed to suggest that Jews may have been to blame for the hacking attack. Responding to a question about the 13 Russian citizens charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller with hampering the elections, Putin said, “Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with dual citizenship, which should also be checked.” He also suggested the U.S. may have “paid them for this,” while denying any interference from the Russian government.

Jewish groups were quick to condemn the statement as anti-Semitic in blaming Jews for nefarious acts and suggesting that Jews in Russia are not considered Russians. The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt said, “it is deeply disturbing to see the Russian president giving new life to classic anti-Semitic 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,’” an infamous anti-Semitic forgery. The American Jewish Committee similarly noted that the statement was “eerily reminiscent” of the “Protocols.”

Reaction in Washington was, like on so many other issues, partisan. Republicans were silent while Democratic leaders condemned Putin’s statement as anti-Semitic; they blamed the president for not doing the same.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said the president’s lack of response “undermines America’s moral responsibility to combat the kind of racism and anti-Semitism perniciously re-emerging today.” The Democrats called on the president to extradite the 13 Russians and have them stand trial in the U.S., though that is not likely.

Putin has a public record of support for the Jewish community in Russia and he has denounced anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. But there is concern, particularly in Israel, that Moscow is also fostering tension in the Mideast by supporting Syrian President Bashir Assad and allowing Iran to establish land operations in the war-torn country near Israel’s border. Perhaps because of the sensitive situation, Israel’s leaders were mum on Putin’s slur.

More here: “Trump Rapped On Putin Silence, PLO Case”

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