Crying Wolf

I don’t know which of the following is more morally reprehensible:

  1. A senior official in the Netanyahu government seeking to undermine the effort of a group trying to bring democracy to a former Soviet republic;
  2. A senior official in the Netanyahu government cooperating in an attempt to slander a group trying to bring democracy to a former Soviet republic;
  3. A senior official in the Netanyahu government cooperating in an attempt to slander the Obama Administration; or
  4. A senior official in the Netanyahu government crying “anti-Semite” where one does not exist.

Here’s the pertinent passage from the Manafort superseding indictment at paragraph 37 (page 39 of the pdf):

MANAFORT sought to undermine United States support for Tymoshenko by spreading stories in the United States that a senior Cabinet official (who had been a prominent critic of Yanukovych’s treatment of Tymoshenko) was supporting anti-Semitism because the official supported Tymoshenko, who in turn had formed a political alliance with a Ukraine party that espoused anti-Semitic views. MANAFORT coordinated privately with a senior Israeli government official to issue a written statement publicizing this story. MANAFORT then, with secret advance knowledge of that Israeli statement, worked to disseminate this story in the United States, writing to Person D1 “I have someone pushing it on the NY Post. Bada bing bada boom.” MANAFORT sought to have the Administration understand that “the Jewish community will take this out on Obama on election day if he does nothing.” MANAFORT then told his United States lobbyist to inform the Administration that Ukraine had worked to prevent the Administration’s presidential opponent from including damaging language in the Israeli statement, so as not to harm the Administration, and thus further ingratiate Yanukovych with the Administration.

As to the last point, isn’t there a Hebrew translation of Aesop’s fables.

Update: Haaretz is reporting that:

The [indictment] doesn’t name the senior Israeli official that Manafort communicated with. However, in October 2012, at the same time that Manafort was working on this issue, Israel’s then-foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, published a statement attacking the political rivals of Manafort’s clients in Ukraine for espousing anti-Semitism. Lieberman’s statement was featured in reports by a number of American news outlets, including The New York Times and Breitbart.

“Israel is concerned by the recently signed agreement between the Batkivshchyna party and the extremist party Svoboda, who’s anti-Semitic outbursts have caused outrage in Ukraine and Israel more than once,” the statement read. Batkivshchyna, or Fatherland, is lead by Tymoshenko, while Svoboda, or Freedom, is an ultra-nationalist party.

 

7 thoughts on “Crying Wolf”

  1. I know who Yanukovich is, but someone needs to unpack this for me, grammatically if nothing else. "MANAFORT then told his United States lobbyist to inform the Administration that Ukraine had worked to prevent the Administration’s presidential opponent from including damaging language in the Israeli statement, so as not to harm the Administration, and thus further ingratiate Yanukovych with the Administration." Who was the Administration's presidential opponent, and how would he include language in an Israeli statement. Or are they referring to Netanyahu's administration? I'm confused.

    1. In other words, Manafort was playing a double game. On the one hand, he was pushing the anti-Semitic meme against Obama in the press. On other hand, he was saying: "Look, I (actually Yanukovych) stopped the Israeli's from making things worse."

  2. Stuart, don't know how much credence you give to EmptyWheel, but this seemed relevant: https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/09/15/paul-manafo

    A decent breakdown of this part of the story. I'd forgotten how badly Tymoshenko got screwed, and had sort of thought she'd died in prison (I remember she was quite ill for a while there). It would be a mercy to learn that she got to be there for Paulie's sentencing. Even mroeso if, somehow, Yanukovich got extradited to Ukraine. Though at this point, I'm quite sure she'll never get justice.

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