By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Commentators such as radio host Michael Savage have been claiming that the new government of Ukraine is either run or supported by “neo-Nazis.” It is a charge expanded upon by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. He claimed in a Tuesday news conference, “We have neo-Nazis and Nazis and anti-Semites in parts of Ukraine, including Kiev.”
The claim, designed to justify the invasion of Ukraine, is pure Soviet/Russian disinformation. It has the added attraction of diverting attention from Putin’s own personal embrace of anti-Semitic lies and propaganda. In a curious turnabout, he now blames the Jews for the Soviet communism that he once served as a KGB officer.
Another example of this insidious propaganda campaign came on radio station WMAL in Washington, D.C. last Thursday, when Michael Savage, advertised by his syndicator Cumulus as a “legendary conservative spokesman,” interviewed former conservative Paul Craig Roberts, who alleged that American neo-conservatives were secret Israelis provoking Russia. “Many of them [neo-cons] are dual Israeli citizens,” he claimed, without citing any evidence.
The bizarre claims came during an exchange which featured Savage praising the paranoid “Prison Planet” website of pro-Russia and pro-marijuana commentator Alex Jones.
In Ukraine, the Jewish news agency, JTA, confirms the existence of a Jewish-led militia force that actually participated in the revolution. JTA quotes one of the commanders as saying “the Kremlin is using the anti-Semitism card falsely to delegitimize the Ukrainian revolution, which is distancing Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence.”
“I never saw any expression of anti-Semitism during the protests, and the claims to the contrary were part of the reason I joined the movement. We’re trying to show that Jews care,” said the commander.
Eli Lake, a national security reporter for The Daily Beast, quotes Jewish leaders in Ukraine as saying they believe “pro-Russian provocateurs are behind the attacks on their synagogues” in Ukraine.
Lake reports that “…leaders of Ukraine’s small Jewish community (experts estimate there are between 80,000 and 350,000 Jews in Ukraine) say they are more worried about anti-Semitic attacks from Russian operatives and Yanukovych loyalists than the nationalists who gathered in Kiev and other cities to oust him.”
Yanukovych is the corrupt pro-Russian leader overthrown by the protesters.
Joseph Zissels, the president of the Ukrainian Jewish community known as the Vaad, told Lake that “Russian propaganda has exaggerated the role of neo-Nazis in the new Ukrainian government” and that “There are more neo-Nazi groups in Russia than there are in Ukraine.”
On Tuesday, CNN brought on former Soviet propagandist Vladimir Pozner, who claimed the U.S. media had not reported that the chief rabbi in Ukraine had urged Kiev’s Jews to flee the city. What Pozner did not mention was that this reported statement resulted from the chaos and confrontations in the city and not from the alleged anti-Semitic orientation of the protesters. What’s more, the article that was the source of this statement was wrong in attributing it to the city’s chief rabbi. The mistake has been corrected in an editor’s note.
The confusion stems from a report in the Israeli Maariv newspaper that a Ukrainian rabbi, Moshe Reuven Azman, had called on Kiev’s Jews to flee the country.
But Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, a chief rabbi of Ukraine, told radio host Aaron Klein that he had spoken to Azman and that the comments “were taken out of context.” He said that there were no plans to evacuate Ukrainian Jews. Bleich confirmed that Azman had simply told people to avoid the city center or leave Kiev, if necessary, because of the confrontations between the government and the protesters.
In a report on the Aaron Klein interview, WorldNetDaily said, “The rabbi affirmed the majority of the protesters are ‘grassroots, regular everyday old people from Ukraine that were fed up with living in a corrupt society, and they came out to protest against it to try to make change and they were successful in making change.’”
The rabbi said, “That’s the majority. They are not anti-Semites. They are not right-wing nationalist neo-fascists or Nazis the way the Russians are trying to paint them.”
Bleich is now being quoted by the JTA as accusing Russia of staging anti-Semitic “provocations” in Crimea in order to justify its invasion of Ukraine.
JTA reported, “At a press conference in the Manhattan office of the United Jewish Communities of Eastern Europe, Bleich compared Russia’s behavior to that of the Nazis prior to the Anschluss invasion of Austria in 1938.”
Bleich said, “Things may be done by Russians dressing up as Ukrainian nationalists,” adding that it’s “the same way the Nazis did when they wanted to go into Austria and created provocations.”
In addition to spreading disinformation concerning the role of alleged neo-Nazis in the protests, radio host Michael Savage wrote a column citing Stephen F. Cohen as saying that the U.S. has been “provoking” Russian leader Vladimir Putin and is therefore responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Cohen is a columnist for the far-left Nation magazine who contends that Putin “saved Obama’s presidency by persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to eliminate his chemical weapons,” and that “Putin then helped to facilitate Obama’s heralded opening to Iran.”
Cohen concludes that Obama should be grateful to Putin for these supposed breakthroughs in global affairs.
For these and other statements, the New Republic labeled Cohen “Vladimir Putin’s American apologist.”
On Fareed Zakaria’s “GPS” show on CNN, Cohen praised Putin’s treatment of Jews, insisting that he “has been better for Russian Jews than any leader in Russian history.”
While it is true that Putin has refrained from open anti-Semitism, he made the controversial assertion that at least 80 percent of the members of the first Soviet government were Jewish—a claim exposed by Jewish journalist Yori Yanover as an anti-Semitic lie.
“Some anti-Semitic lies just don’t die,” noted Yanover, in a story about Putin’s incendiary claim. “But it is incumbent on Jewish reporters to refute them every single time, especially when they’re being espoused by a brutal Russian politician with the capacity to inflict a lot of pain on the Jews in his country.”
Writing in the Jewish Daily Forward, J.J. Goldberg said Putin’s message was that it was the Jews who ruined Russia. He said Putin’s comments, made during the course of presenting documents stolen by the Soviet communists to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, were designed to come across as “friendly,” but left the impression that he believes “the Jews cooked up the revolution” that devastated Russia.
Putin’s comments reminded this writer of the claims of Alexey Komov, of the Russian branch of the World Congress of Families, that Wall Street bankers were behind the Soviet communist revolution in Russia.
A variation of this theme has been offered by David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who views “Zionist-driven Globalism and its collaborators [as] the greatest enemies of mankind.” In his book, The Secret Behind Communism, Duke argues for the existence of “the Jewish Supremacist role in the creation, execution and maintenance of world Communism, and the ‘Russian’ Revolution in particular…”
Back in 2005, Duke wrote of traveling to Moscow “to interview Russian leaders in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the real policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” He said he met “with members of the Duma, some nationalist newspaper editors, and some leaders of the Russian anti-globalist, nationalist community.”
Putin “is Russian,” Duke said. “A real Russian.”
Duke went on, “The biggest roadblock to the New World Order and a sublimation of America and Europe to Jewish-supremacist globalism is Vladimir Putin. As important a figure Putin is for every freedom-loving Russian, he is just as important to those who love freedom in the United States of America, in Britain and all over the European world.”