Monday, April 10, 2017

Politico Called Anti-Semitic For Accusing Chabad In Trump’s Russia Scandal

April 9, 2017 By Dave Goldiner

It Belongs Here: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with chief rabbi Berel Lazar, left, and Alexander Boroda at a new Jewish museum in Moscow.

A tangled web of relationships ties Donald Trump and his associates to Vladimir Putin’s Russia — and Chabad appears to be right in the middle of them.

The Hasidic movement forged an unlikely alliance with the Russian strongman two decades ago just as Trump and others close to him were pursuing a series of lucrative real-estate and other business deals in Russia, Politico reported in a lengthy magazine piece.

The convoluted tale connects Putin’s elevation of Chabad’s Rabbi Berel Lazar as one of the most powerful Jewish figures in the country and his alliance with a handful of Jewish oligarchs.

Many of those oligarchs went on to forge multimillion dollar business deals with Trump and his associates like longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, along with Jared Kushner, who went on to marry Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

Does any of this provide reasonable suspicions about Trump and his inner circle’s ties to Russia during the presidential election? Maybe. But others shrug it all off.

“The interconnectedness of the Jewish world through Chabad is not surprising insofar as it’s one of the main Jewish players,” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach told the news site. “I would assume that the world of New York real estate isn’t that huge either.”

And Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL was among many in the Jewish community who saw the Politico article as a calumny, evoking “age old myths about Jews.”

Why is Moses heading back to Egypt for Passover?

This is the question visitors to the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties center and webpage are asking after seeing the JCF Passover message.

Maybe he had enough of freedom, maybe the Children of Israel were just too stiff-necked to bear or maybe Moshe rabeinu is wearing an NSFW T-shirt under his robe that flips the bird to Pharaoh.

We will never know. Though I shall ask the wonderful people at JCF if they have a comment in the few scarce hours before the festival starts.

Dan Friedman is the executive editor of the Forward. Follow him on Twitter at @danfriedmanme

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