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.”
Politico Called Anti-Semitic For Accusing Chabad In Trump’s Russia Scandal
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner