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Greenblatt: Don’t spread rumors
@KingAbdullahII & #Jordan are strong US allies. Rumors that our peace vision includes a confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA, or that the vision contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please don t spread rumors, Greenblatt tweeted Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner addressed the Trump administration peace plan during the Time100 Summit, noting that the plan would entail tough compromises for both” sides.
“We deal with all the core status issues because you have to do it, but we’ve also built a robust business plan for the whole region,” he said.
“I think that what we do is something that allows for Israel to maintain security, but there will be tough compromises for both,” he added.
When asked if the plan would focus on the Two State solution, Kushner said that “if people focus on the old traditional talking points we will never make progress.”
“What we will put out is different, he said, noting the failure of past attempts based on the Two State Solution.
Kushner said that he had hoped to release the plan, which President Trump has called the “deal of the century,” last year. However, the administration held off on releasing the plan after the Israeli government announced new elections. He said that the plan will be released after the new coalition is formed.
“Once that’s done we’ll probably be in the middle of Ramadan, so we’ll wait until after Ramadan and then we’ll put our plan out,” Kushner said.
(Photo – Wiki Commons)
Rusya’dan flaş Türkiye ve F-35 açıklaması! “İstişarelere hazırız“
Türkiye’nin F-35 programından çıkarılması iddiası üzerine açıklama yapan Rusya devlet savunma sanayisi şirketi Rosoboronexport Başkanı Aleksandr Miheyev, F-35’e alternatif Rus savaş uçağı tedariki konusunda istişarelere hazır olduklarını belirtti.
24 Nisan 2019
Rusya devlet savunma sanayisi şirketi Rosoboronexport Başkanı Aleksandr Miheyev, Türkiye’nin F-35’e alternatif Rus savaş uçağı tedariki konusunda istişarelere hazır olduklarını belirtti.
“Eğer Türkiye bize başvurursa…”
Miheyev, Ankara’nın F-35 programından çıkması halinde Moskova’nın Türkiye’ye uçak tedarik etmeye hazır olup olmadığı sorusuna ilişkin Rus basınına yaptığı açıklamada, “Türk tarafı istişarelerde bulunmak için bize başvurursa imkanlarımız dahilinde Rus Birleşik Uçak Şirketi ile ortaklaşa istişare etmeye hazır olacağız.” ifadelerini kullandı.
Türkiye’ye S-400 hava savunma füze sistemlerinin teslimatı konusunda da bilgi veren Miheyev, sevkiyatın temmuz ayında başlayacağını belirtti.
Miheyev, Rusya ve Türkiye’nin S-400 üretiminin yerelleştirilmesiyle ilgili konuları da karara bağladıklarını kaydederek sözleşmenin yerine getirilmesi için çalışmalara devam ettiklerini dile getirdi.
Bakan Çavuşoğlu: Ben böyle istedim, Türkiye çıkacak diye bir şey yok
Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Türkiye’nin F-35 programındançıkarılması halinde Rusya’dan uçak almayı düşünüp düşünmeyeceği sorusu üzerine, “Ben böyle istedim, Türkiye çıkacak’ diye bir şey yok. Uluslararası hukuk var. Hakkımızı ararız. En kötü senaryoyu konuşalım. Bizim yeni uçaklara ihtiyacımız var. F-35’ler olmazsa ben yine ihtiyacım olan uçağı herhangi bir yerden almak durumundayım. Ta ki kendim üretinceye kadar. Şu anda kendi uçaklarımızı üretmek için yoğun çaba sarf ediyoruz.” demişti.
ISIS publishes photo, names of Sri Lanka terrorists.
INN – The ISIS terrorist organization released a photograph of seven of the terrorists behind the deadly Ester bombings in Sri Lanka shortly after claiming responsibility for the attacks that left 321 people dead and 375 hospitalized
A statement issued by the organization details the names of the seven terrorists who allegedly carried out the attack and including a photograph in which the terrorists appeared in masks.
Earlier in the day, the Sri Lankan authorities announced that the number of fatalities in the deadly terrorist attack had risen to 321.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Raniel Wickremasinghe warned today that there is a possibility that more attacks will be carried out in the country, adding that there are more explosive devices and other terrorists in the country.
Previously, authorities believed that the National Thowheeth Jama at (NTJ), a Sri Lankan Islamist movement, was responsible for orchestrating the Easter Sunday attacks.
However, a government spokesman had emphasized that NTJ was small and would have required “international support” to carry out such a complex attack.
(Photo – Wiki Commons)
Pakistan to sign $ 9 billion arms deal with Russia
Islamabad, April 22, IRNA — Pakistan has decided to a sign $9 billion deal with Russia to purchase military hardware, local media reported on Monday.
For years, China has remained the major arms supplier to Pakistan, especially after the latter decided to reduce its reliance on the US. The ties between the two countries have closely revolved around the defense purchases.
According to reports Pakistan has now shown interest in purchasing Russian military hardware.
The deal is expected to amount $9 billion under which Islamabad would purchase heavy and medium fighter jets, medium and short-range air defense systems, tanks, combat helicopters, and warships.
Reports quoted Konstantin Makienko, the deputy director of the Moscow-based defense think tank Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. Makeinko revealed that two types of Russian military hardware can make Pakistan’s shopping list, i.e., the new Russian fighter jet MiG-35 and the heavy transport helicopter Mi-26T2.
However, the news has not been confirmed by Pakistan.
From 2008 to 2018, Pakistan has received weapons worth over $6.4 billion from China.
It makes China, the South Asian country’s biggest military equipment supplier, while the US comes second with $2.5 billion in weapons supply, and Italy as the third with arms supply worth $471 million.
Notably, Russia and China have been competing to take over the weapon market worldwide.
China has been granting certain favors along the arms deals to become a permanent supplier.
Iran, Pakistan to form joint anti-terror force: Rouhani
Iran Press TV
Mon Apr 22, 2019
Iran and Pakistan have agreed to form a joint force to eliminate terrorist groups as Prime Minister Imran Khan began his first visit to Tehran with a pledge not to join any coalition against the Islamic Republic.
Rouhani announced the agreement on Monday after talks with Prime Minister Khan whose first visit to Tehran is hoped to start a new chapter in historic relations between the neighbors.
“We agreed to step up security cooperation between the two countries and their respective border security and intelligence forces while also forming a joint rapid reaction force on the shared borders to fight terrorism,” Rouhani said after a closed-door meeting with Khan.
The sensitive issue of border security was expected to dominate the conversation between Iranian and Pakistani officials.
Ahead of Khan’s visit, families of several Iranian border guards killed by terror groups wrote to the Pakistani leader and asked him to take swift action against groups freely crossing into Iran from Pakistan.
Iran had in the past urged Pakistan to address the issue, even offering to launch a joint military and intelligence operation to locate and eliminate terrorists in Pakistani territories.
In their latest attack, Pakistan-based terrorists killed over 40 members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) by ramming an explosive-laden car into their bus in southeastern Iran in February.
“Unfortunately, over the past few months we witnessed some tensions caused by some terrorists who acted savagely,” President Rouhani said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Khan on Monday.
“We are glad that the Pakistani side now recognizes groups with such inhumane conduct as terrorist and treats them as such.”
‘No country can affect Tehran-Islamabad ties’
Rouhani said that his meeting with Prime Minister Khan marked a new milestone in mutual ties, adding Iran and Pakistan would continue to maintain their close ties despite outside pressures.
“Both sides agree that no third country whatsoever can affect the friendly and brotherly ties that exist between Iran and Pakistan,” he said, adding that Khan had officially invited him for a visit to Islamabad.
According to Rouhani, they also agreed on the need for both sides to expand joint efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.
Other security issues discussed in the meeting included US President Donald Trump’s recent designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization and his recognition of Syria’s occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, Rouhani noted.
Addressing reports about Saudi and US pressure on Pakistan to join an Arab-Israeli front against Iran in the region, Rouhani said PM Khan had assured him that Pakistan “has never joined and will never join any coalition.”
Iran ready to supply oil, gas and electricity to Pakistan
Rouhani said Iran was ready to supply oil and gas to Pakistan and increase electricity exports to the country by ten-fold.
He also said Tehran was interested in expanding trade between Iran’s Chabahar and Pakistan’s Gawader ports by connecting them with a railway.
The president noted that Iran, Turkey and Pakistan as co-founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) could increase economic cooperation by connecting their railway systems. This, he said, would open a corridor from Europe to China.
Earlier in the day, Rouhani extended a formal welcome to Khan, whose historic visit to Tehran has been viewed as a major step towards opening a new era in relations between the two neighbors.
Khan and his high-profile delegation touched down in Tehran on Sunday night after a brief stop in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where the premier paid a visit to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Shia Imam.
Rouhani led the welcome ceremony for Khan at the at Sa’adabad Complex, which was also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif, Minister of Road and Industry Mohammad Eslami and a few other high-ranking members of the cabinet.
Khan is expected to meet later with Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
THE EGYPTIAN BROTHERHOOD GOES TO WASHINGTON
Parading around the U.S. Capitol as hearty advocates for human rights.
Reprinted From Islamist Watch.
Spring has arrived in Washington D.C. And a sure sign of the changing seasons in America’s capital is the annual parade of Islamist lobbyists, who come in March and April to the heart of Western democracy to advocate, under the guise of human rights, for Islamist causes and to misrepresent the beliefs held by ordinary Muslims.
Just a week before American Islamists descended on the Capitol to push for Islamist-friendly policies during the fifth annual National Muslim Advocacy Day, their Egyptian Islamist allies did the same. On March 24 and 25, Egypt Advocacy Day took place in Washington D.C. Sponsored by Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski, Egyptian activists and Western human rights lobbyists came together to warn policymakers against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and encourage the U.S. government to ensure Egypt works “to uphold the democratic principle of peaceful transfer of power.”
Representatives of prominent human rights organizations Human Rights Watch, Project on Middle East Democracy and Human Rights First were happy to take part in this effort, seemingly unconcerned that the organizers of this lobbying day are prominent officials of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was removed from power in 2013 following enormous protests against its own abuse of powers.
The main organizing body behind the advocacy day is the Freedom Initiative, a group founded by prominent Muslim Brotherhood activist Mohamed Soltan, who was imprisoned in Egypt for nearly two years on terrorism charges, until President Obama pressured the Cairo authorities to release him in 2015. While critics claim Soltan was the victim of political persecution, he has a long history of involvementwith hardline Islamist efforts in both the U.S. and Egypt – openly expressing support for the designated terror group Hamas, and leading chants praising the killing of Jews.
Other sponsors and supporters of Egypt Advocacy Day included the Egyptian Human Rights Forum, of which Soltan is among the founders. In previous years, a key Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood proxy in America, Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFAJ), has also been closely involved in the annual Egypt Advocacy Day. This year, its officials took part in the lobbying day, but the organization’s name and logo were nowhere to be found on official literature.
Perhaps this is a result of a series of articles and reports exposing EAFAJ’s extremism, particularly its leading officials Hani Elkadi and Ayat al-Oraby. Curiously, for example, the Project on Middle East Democracy, which sponsored this year’s Egypt Advocacy Day, notes on its own website that “A number of experts on the Muslim Brotherhood have spoken out regarding EAFAJ’s lobbying efforts and condemned al-Oraby’s views in particular. On Twitter, analyst Mokhtar Awad referred to al-Oraby as ‘a raving sectarian lunatic.’ Awad also posted a video of al-Oraby calling for an economic boycott of Christian businesses, where she states that ‘[Christians] must be made to understand that the [Islamic symbol] crescent must be on top of the cross.'”
In the days and weeks after Egypt Advocacy Day, EAFAJ held further meetings with congressional staffers and policymakers, to express support for deposed Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and encourage lawmakers to force the Egyptian government to release “political prisoners” – that is, jailed Muslim Brotherhood operatives. One report alleges that EAFAJ even met with Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.
Along with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian activist Ayat Oraby, Elkadi was accompanied by Amr Darraj and Ahmed Shehata. Darraj is wanted by Egyptian authorities on charges of coordinating terrorist activity in Egypt from his home in Turkey.
Shehata, meanwhile, is a prominent Islamist activist in America, closely involved with Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, another Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood proxy, as well as the international aid charity Islamic Reliefand the community organization Muslim American Society, both of which serve as the flagship institutions of the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced Islamism in America.
The April 9 visit of President Sisi to Washington evoked an angry response from Muslim Brotherhood operatives involved with all the recent lobbying efforts. At a protest outside the White House, EAFAJ, along with other supporters of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, wore Muslim Brotherhood insignia and held aloft placards of Mohamed Morsi.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, gave Mohamed Soltan column inches to denounce Sisi and criticize the Trump administration for hosting him. No mention was made of Soltan’s radical Islamist affiliations, with his byline merely noting that he is “a human rights advocate and founder of the Freedom Initiative.”
Why are politicians, human rights organizations and media outlets offering their support and time to these Islamist activists, given the violence and oppression that swept through Egypt under Morsi’s rule? Admittedly, the involvement of Representative Tom Malinowski is not particularly surprising. Malinowski was a vocal critic of plans to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and has condemned Trump’s meeting with Sisi.
But opposition to President Sisi should not mean support for a violent Islamist movement. In December 2017, the Muslim Brotherhood officially declared the United States of America an “enemy state.” Were that not enough for elected officials to stay away, Muslim Brotherhood members and splinter groups have wreaked havoc in Egypt over the past seven years, supporting attacks on Coptic churches, and involving themselves in terrorism and assassinations. The Brotherhood’s sister organization, the designated terrorist organization Hamas, needs no introduction.
For many in the Arab world, it is a bitter irony that a movement responsible for such widespread violence and hate is now paraded around the halls of the U.S. Capitol as hearty advocates for human rights, democracy and justice. Too often, naïve Western activists and policymakers offer legitimacy to the extremists, leaving ordinary Egyptians to suffer the consequences.
Egyptians Vote on Changes That Would Extend El-Sissi’s Rule
Saturday, 20 April 2019
Critics have blasted the proposed changes as another major step toward an authoritarian government perhaps even more severe than that of former President Hosni Mubarak, whose nearly three decades of autocratic rule was ended by a popular uprising in 2011.
The nationwide referendum came amid an unprecedented crackdown on dissent in recent years. El-Sissi’s government has arrested thousands of people, most of them Islamists but also prominent secular activists, and rolled back freedoms won eight years ago.
Polls closed at 9 a.m. local time. Voting will stretch over a period of three days to allow maximum turnout, which the government is hoping to lend the referendum legitimacy.
Outside a polling center near the Giza Pyramids, around two dozen people, mostly elderly women, lined up waiting to cast their votes. Heavy police and army security was reported at polling stations throughout the country.
Haja Khadija, a 63-year-old housewife, said she came for the “security and stability” of the country. “We love el-Sissi. He did lots of things. He raised our pensions.”
Omar Knawy, who writes novels, voted “No” in the referendum. He said he opposes most of the changes, especially those that would enable el-Sissi to stay in power beyond his current second four-year term. He also opposes articles that declare the military the “guardian and protector” of the Egyptian state, democracy and the constitution.
Casting his ballot on Saturday, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly urged voters to turn out in high numbers. He said that voting will reflect “the atmosphere of stability and democracy that we are witnessing now.”
Opposition voices have largely been shut out amid the rush to hold the referendum. Pro-government media have led a campaign for weeks calling a “Yes” vote a patriotic duty.
Since early April, the Egyptian capital has been awash with large posters and banners encouraging people to vote in favor of the changes. Most of the posters were apparently funded by pro-government parties, businessmen and lawmakers.
Parliament, packed with el-Sissi supporters, overwhelmingly approved the amendments on Tuesday, with only 22 no votes and one abstention from 554 lawmakers in attendance. The national electoral commission announced the following day that voting would begin on Saturday.
Two international advocacy groups — Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists — on Saturday urged the Egyptian government to withdraw the amendments.
“Egypt’s autocracy is shifting into overdrive to re-establish the ‘President-for-Life’ model, beloved by dictators in the region and despised by their citizens,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “But it’s a model that recent experience in Egypt and neighboring countries has demonstrated is not built to last.”
The Civil Democratic Movement, a coalition of liberal and left-leaning parties, urged people to participate in the referendum by voting “No.”
The coalition said it used social media to spread its message, noting that it was banned from hanging banners in the streets to call on voters to reject the amendments.
El-Sissi was elected president in 2014, and re-elected last year after all potentially serious challengers were either jailed or pressured to exit the race.
The amendments also allow the president to appoint top judges, while also granting military courts wider jurisdiction in trying civilians.
In the last three years, over 15,000 civilians, including children, have been referred to military prosecution in Egypt, according to Human Rights Watch.
The amendments also introduce one or more vice presidents, revive the senate and enshrine a 25% quota for women in parliament’s lower, legislative chamber. All three had been dropped from Egypt’s constitution after the 2011 revolution.
Hezbollah leader warns of war with Israel, fears being killed by IDF
Is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warning of a war with Israel in the summer, and worried that he might be killed?
According to Elijah J. Magnier of the Kuwaiti Al Rai newspaper, Nasrallah told commanders: “The possibility of a war with Israel is very high this summer and I may no longer be with you.”
In the Al Rai report, the Hezbollah chief is quoted as warning that Israel could be ready to attack “with the objective of removing the threat on its borders once and for all.”
In December, Israel launched an operation to neutralize attack tunnels dug along the Lebanese-Israeli border. The U.N. backed up the Israeli position that the tunnels were a violation of an agreement reached ending the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.
According to Al Rai, Hezbollah believes that Israel would evacuate its communities located near the Lebanese border before the launching the next military operation in order to prevent the possibility of kidnappings.
Magnier reports that Nasrallah believes that the U.S., Britain, and Arab states could take part in the next conflict. The U.K. recently extended its classification of Hezbollah as a terror group to include the entire organization, as opposed to just its military wing. The official European Union position categorizes only the military branch as terrorist in nature.
Despite its terror activity, Hezbollah is a member of the Lebanese government.
Israel has relayed the message over the years that while the Lebanese government is not the target of Israeli reprisals against terror attacks into the Jewish State, Jerusalem does ultimately view Beirut as responsible for attacks carried out from its territory.
WATCH: Netanyahu calls for new Golan Heights community named after Trump
Ukraine’s next president is a Jewish comedian
Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky’s dramatic lead in exit polls Sunday — in many of them he received more than 73 percent of the vote — was so overwhelming that it prompted a concession of defeat by incumbent Petro Poroshenko even before the official results were in, Radio Liberty reported.
If Zelensky is sworn in as president, his prime minister — at least for a while and possibly until the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place sometime later this year — will be Volodymyr Groysman, a Jewish politician who was the mayor of the city of Vinnytsia.
To some of Poroshenko’s critics, the landslide success of the vague campaign by the politically inexperienced Zelensky was not surprising in light of widespread resentment over the persistence of corruption under Poroshenko, who was elected in 2014 on a platform that vowed remedial action on exactly that front.
More unusual to some, however, was how Zelensky appears to have won the elections so decisively in spite of how his Jewish ancestry – his mother, Rima, is Jewish, and he has jokingly referred to this during the campaign — is well known in Ukraine.
After all, Russia and other critics claim Ukrainian society has a serious anti-Semitism problem and legacy.
“Imagine, a pure-blooded Jew with the appearance of a Sholom Aleichem protagonist wins by a landslide in a country where the glorification of Nazi criminals is enacted into law,” Avigdor Eskin, a Russian-Israeli columnist, wrote in an analysis published earlier this month by the Regnum news agency.
Eskin in the column on Zelensky downplayed allegations of widespread anti-Semitism in Ukraine, attributing much of the attention to the problem in the media and beyond to propaganda by Russia, which is involved in an armed conflict over territory with Ukraine.
But Eskin’s statement about Ukrainian laws glorifying Nazi criminals is not inaccurate, and Russia is not alone in criticizing Ukraine over this and other issues connected to anti-Semitism.
Last year, Israel’s government in its annual report on anti-Semitism singled out Ukraine as a regional trouble spot.
“A striking exception in the trend of decrease in anti-Semitic incidents in Eastern Europe was Ukraine, where the number of recorded anti-Semitic attacks was doubled from last year and surpassed the tally for all the incidents reported throughout the entire region combined,” the report said. The authors of the report said they counted more than 130 reported anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine in 2017.
Also last year, more than 50 U.S. Congress members condemned Ukrainian legislation that they said “glorifies Nazi collaborators” and therefore goes even further than Poland’s controversial laws limiting what can be said about local complicity during the Holocaust.
“It’s particularly troubling that much of the Nazi glorification in Ukraine is government-supported,” a letter signed by the U.S. lawmakers said.
The letter noted ceremonies, gestures and legislation venerating leaders of the UPA and OUN militias, who fought alongside Nazi Germany during World War II and whose troops participated in atrocities against Jews and other victims.
Poroshenko’s government greatly encouraged glorification of those troops and leaders as fighters for Ukrainian freedom who it insisted sided with Germany only in order to fight against the Russian-controlled Soviet Union.
Several cities across Ukraine named streets for the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, who prior to Poroshenko’s time in office was openly glorified only in the country’s west.
Meanwhile, in the western city of Lviv, nationalists became emboldened enough to celebrate — with the permission of city authorities — the anniversary of the 14th Galician division of the Waffen SS. The anniversary events featured men parading in Nazi SS uniforms on the street.
Such sights would have been unthinkable under Viktor Yanukovych, the corrupt president who was deposed in a 2013 revolution that ended with Poroshenko’s election. Careful to alienate neither ethnic Russians in Ukraine nor its powerful neighbor to the east, Yanukovych was less tolerant of this nationalist phenomenon.
On this subject, Zelensky has said only that he personally does not favor the veneration of people like Bandera, whom he described as “a hero to some Ukrainians.” It was a markedly reserved formulation compared to the endorsement of figures like Bandera by officials under Poroshenko.
The presidential campaign itself has featured some anti-Semitism.
In some far-right circles, Zelensky’s work for a television station owned by the Jewish billionaire Igor Kolomoisky was proof of his belonging to a “Jewish cabal.” But it made Zelensky popular with other nationalists who appreciated Kolomoisky’s reputation as a fiery patriot.
Alexander Paliy, an influential political analyst supporting Poroshenko, stirred controversy last month when he wrote on Facebook that, despite his “respect” for Jews and some Russians, “The president of Ukraine should be Ukrainian and Christian, like the absolute majority of Ukrainians.”
Such rhetoric is shocking to many of Ukraine’s some 300,000 Jews, whose ancestors suffered murderous anti-Semitism in Ukraine for centuries before, during and decades after the Holocaust.
The French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy also referenced Ukrainian Jews’ bloody history in an interview with Zelensky, the 41-year-old son of scientists who lived near major Soviet army bases in Ukraine.
“His Judaism. It’s extraordinary that the possible future president of the country of the Shoah by Bullets and Babi Yar is a self-affirmed Jew from a family of survivors from Kryvy Rih near Dnipro – the land of pogrom if ever there was one,” Levy wrote in an article published earlier this month in Le Point. “This postmodern kid, is he new proof that the virus of anti-Semitism has been contained” after the revolution, Levy added.
Not denying his Jewish ancestry, Zelensky declined to explore it at length in the interview, Levy wrote. On this subject, he replied with typical self-deprecating humor, telling Levy, “The fact that I am Jewish barely makes 20 in my long list of faults.”
Zelensky has ingratiated himself with the Ukrainian public with such jokes as the star of “Servant of the People” – a primetime television show where he portrays a teacher thrust by an unlikely chain of events to become Ukraine’s president. He announced his candidacy in January, becoming an instant favorite.
This popularity has allowed Zelensky to win on an unusually vague platform and distinguish himself from his professional politician rivals, with their proclivity to hyperbole and nationalist slogans.
For example, when a reporter asked him how he would deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zelensky reverted to his comic roots, saying “I would speak to him at eye level.” It was a reference to him and Putin being at least three inches shorter than Poroshenko, a 6-footer.
Zelensky’s opaqueness means a high level of uncertainty, according to Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee.
“We will need to wait and see what kind of president Zelensky turns out to be,” said Dolinsky, who was an outspoken critic of some policies of the Poroshenko administration. “What is clear is that Poroshenko’s attempt to appeal to nationalism has failed. Ukrainians said they wanted change. And I am feeling optimistic.”