Israel Condemned Ukraine anti-Semitism Regardless of Manafort's Claims, Ex-lawmaker Says

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Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaving the Federal District Court in Washington, May 23, 2018.
Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaving the Federal District Court in Washington, May 23, 2018.Credit: Jose Luis Magana,AP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Former MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu), who worked as an international observer in the 2012 Ukrainian elections, told Haaretz Saturday that he had never heard from Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.

Manafort and the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, signed a plea deal Friday.

According to the document, in 2012, while Manafort was working as a lobbyist for the pro-Russian government of Ukraine, he received help from a senior Israeli official in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of Ukraine’s then-opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Parliamentary elections were held in Ukraine on October 28, 2012. 

>> Read more: Manafort and Senior Israeli Official Meddled in Ukraine Elections, Obama Foreign Policy

According to the document, Manafort and the senior Israeli official, who is not named in the document, worked to jointly accuse Tymoshenko’s supporters and allies of supporting anti-Semitism. Manafort bragged at the time that “Obama Jews” would put pressure on the American administration to disavow Tymoshenko and her supporters as a result of his ploy.

Miller said: "I don't know Manafort or any such claim. The anti-Semitic character of the Svoboda party was known to all and obvious, and Israel condemned it because it was the right thing to do."

Former MK Alex Miller.Credit: Michal Fattal

"At the time, there were radical elements in the Svoboda party who spoke out against Israel and of course we responded. Israel wasn't the only one, I think the response was international. You can follow the Jewish community's messaging today too and see their concern. There was a consensus, in Israel and in the Jewish world, that there is a problem with this party," Miller added.

Miller says he is not aware of the details laid out in the plea deal document, which further states that “Manafort coordinated privately with a senior Israeli government official to issue a written statement” that would highlight the alleged anti-Semitism of his client’s political rivals in Ukraine. Then, “with secret knowledge of that Israeli statement,” Manafort worked to spread the story in the American media.

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