U.S.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Claims Jews Behind Donald Trump’s Victory

Donald Trump
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally in the Rodeo Arena at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Golden, Colorado, October 29. A Russian spokeswoman has said that "the Jews" were behind his election victory. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has been accused of peddling an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory after claiming that Donald Trump won the U.S. election because of support from “the Jews.”

Maria Zakharova appeared on Russian TV show Sunday Evening, hosted by pro-Kremlin presenter Vladimir Solovyov, where she said that she had spoken to American Jews in September at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and the conversations had convinced her that Trump would win.

“If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, naturally. But, of course, it goes without saying,” she said, appearing to imply the conspiracy theory that rich New York Jews control U.S. politics.

She then changed her voice to adopt a “cartoonish Jewish accent” in her impersonation of an American Jew she had spoken to, Central Asian news site Radio Free Europe reported.

“‘Marochka, understand this, we’ll donate to Clinton, of course. But we’ll give the Republicans twice that amount.' Enough said. That settled it for me—the picture was clear,” she said.

“If you want to know the future, don’t read the mainstream newspapers—our people in Brighton [Beach] will tell you everything,” she said, in reference to the Brooklyn area with a large population of Jewish immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet states.

Zakharova’s suggestion of Jewish influence in the election result drew criticism from both Russian and American quarters. Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, wrote on Facebook: “Wow. And this is the woman who criticizes me for not being diplomatic.”

Opposition Russian activist Roman Dobrokhotov tweeted that she had “explained Trump’s victory as a Jewish conspiracy.”

Zakharova’s comments come despite a spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. following Trump’s election victory. Swastikas have appeared on a storefront in Philadelphia and a church in Indiana alongside pro-Trump messages. Trump has himself faced allegations of anti-Semitism, as has his chief-of-staff Steve Bannon. Both deny the accusations.

In contradiction of Zakharova’s comments, Jewish Americans overwhelmingly backed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, with 70 percent voting for her and only 25 percent voting for Trump, according to one exit poll.

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