Maybe you heard this weekend: Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of stealing his Super Bowl championship ring during a meeting in St. Petersburg in 2005 at which Kraft removed the ring to allow Putin to admire it.
Kraft made the accusation in a speech last Thursday at a Carnegie Hall benefit, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The Russians are very upset about the charge, they say that Kraft made a gift of the ring.
Why now? Well, back in ’05, Kraft said, he was told to keep his mouth shut about the alleged theft by the Bush administration; and Kraft obeyed the order.
Yes, but why now? Did the White House give Kraft the green light?
And: Did Kraft see an Israel interest in the disclosure? Israel has shifted in the last few weeks to a policy of confronting the Assad government, and, apparently, seeking its ouster. The big obstacle to moving Assad is the Russian support for his government.
As for imputing an Israel motivation to Kraft’s decision, well, that’s the problem with the Israel lobby, it implicitly raises the question. And Kraft supports Israel in many ways. Riding through Jerusalem on the light rail, I often see the Robert Kraft stadium built to promote football. I have often gone to the Robert Kraft center for Jewish life at Columbia to see pro-Israel events. “A taste of home” is the promotional slogan at Nana, the cafeteria there that serves Israeli foods. Kraft’s late wife once said that her sons could fight for Israel, she wouldn’t want them in American uniforms.
Am I accusing Kraft of blabbing now because he’s trying to help Israel? I certainly wonder. Maybe Kraft will tell us, in another 8 years…