In the latest bizarre twist in the Paul Manafort saga, the Guardian reports that Manafort may have conspired with an Israeli official to manipulate members of the Obama administration into supporting Viktor Yanukovych over Yulia Tymoshenko in Ukraine, and link the latter to anti-Semitism. Yanukovych was Russia’s chosen candidate.
Manafort reportedly bragged about his media connections. “I have someone pushing it on the NYPost. Bada bing bada boom.”
That’s not the first time the government of Israel has surprisingly popped up during the Russia probe, investigations into President Donald Trump and his associates and White House policy on a number of issues. It should be noted that whatever Israel’s role has been in propping up Donald Trump, it’s fairly shocking, given that the Trump campaign was arguably propelled by white nationalists and avowed anti-Semites. Donald Trump has yet to denounce the marchers in Charlottesville, who chanted “Jews will not replace us.”
1. As Bashar al-Assad moves to consolidate power in Syria, the US, Russia and Israel seem united in their efforts to throw Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, out of the conflict. In mid-August, Secretary of State John Bolton told ABC that the three countries are united in this goal.
“Well I think the – certainly the objective of the United States, of Israel, President Putin said it was Russia’s objective is to get Iran – Iranian forces, Iranian militias, Iranian surrogates out of the offensive operations they’re in in both Syria and Iraq and frankly, to end Iran’s support for Hezbollah,” he told ABC News.
2. Even as investigators probe Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, progressive writers have pointed out that Israel does far more to influence US elections, far more successfully. In August, activist professor Noam Chomsky slammed Israel’s interference in US politics.
“First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support,” he told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
He continued with an important history lesson.
“Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done,” Chomsky said. “I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies—what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015. Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress trying to—calling on them to reverse U.S. policy, without even informing the president?”
3. During the President’s much derided one-on-one talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump assured the world that the security of Israel is a priority for both Russia and the United States.
“We both spoke with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and they would like to do certain things with Syria having to do with the safety of Israel,” Trump told a joint news conference. “Russia and the United States will work jointly (in this regard),” he said, according to Reuters.
4. In “House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia” the writer Craig Unger writes about how up to 59 Russian oligarchs have been cultivating Donald Trump and his associates for years, through such means as New York’s unregulated real estate industry.
As the Times of Israel has pointed out, many of these wealthy Russian business-people also have ties to Israel.
“About half of those 59 named “Russia Connections” are Jewish, and about a dozen of the 59 are Israeli citizens and/or have deep connections to Israel. (Several of those he names, such as Lev Leviev, Alexander Mashkevich and Mikhail Chernoy, are very wealthy and prominent businessmen with direct access to the highest levels of Israel’s elected leadership.)” wrote David Horovitz.
He noted that these connections raise serious questions.
“Those numbers necessarily raise questions about whether Israel too is being compromised by Putin’s Russia — about whether unsavory characters are exploiting Israel’s Law of Return to gain Israeli citizenship and by extension access to the West; about whether Israel, with its own lax financial regulations and inadequate law enforcement, is serving as a conduit for money laundering by Moscow-linked individuals and companies; and about whether Moscow is building strategic relationships with Israeli politicians — as Unger charges it has done to such phenomenal effect with the president of the United States — in order to influence and if necessary subvert Israeli policies in its interest.”
5. So far, the President has made good on his promise to prioritize the interests of the current Israeli government.
It’s not a surprise when Trump flouts international norms. But his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem sparked furor around the world and led to deadly protests by Palestinians.
The administration dismissed the demonstrations, in which multiple civilians were killed, as “unfortunate propaganda,” the New York Times reported.