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.
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