Aaron Parnas, Whose Dad Was at the Center of the Trump-Ukraine
Scandal, Is a Pro-Ukraine Influencer on TikTok
Lev Parnas tried to leverage aid to Ukraine to get President Joe Biden investigated. His son is racking up millions of TikTok views by praising Biden for giving Ukraine aid without conditions.
Aaron Parnas, who is 22, has emerged as a leading pro-Ukraine voice on the video app. He posts videos of himself updating his 1.2 million followers on an hourly basis about Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Often, his dispatches are dry, seemingly drawn from news headlines with little elaboration. But sometimes they dip into trend territory, as when he lip-synced the lyrics “Isn’t this easy?” over the text “Supporting Ukraine instead of Russian war criminals.” He also says he gathers information from family members who live in Ukraine.
Parnas’ reach is so great that the Biden White House included him last week on a call with social media influencers whom they hope will combat misinformation about the war and the U.S. response to it. That briefing was first reported by The Washington Post, which said that some of the content creators on the call were shocked by Parnas’ presence.
That’s because he is the son of one of the men at the center of the scandal that led to former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment — a scandal that centered on Ukraine.
An associate of Trump, Lev Parnas — a Jewish businessman who was born in Odessa, then part of the Soviet Union, before moving to the United States at age 3 — allegedly helped Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani coax Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, then the Democratic presidential candidate, and his son over the latter’s seat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer. They refused.
Trump was impeached on charges that he refused to give Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky aid and an invitation to Washington, D.C., unless Zelensky agreed to investigate Burisma and charges that Ukraine had meddled in U.S. elections. Zelensky did not comply with the demands; a Republican-majority Senate acquitted Trump of those charges.
Parnas has since turned on Trump, been convicted of campaign finance crimes and pleaded guilty to separate fraud charges.
Aaron Parnas made headlines in 2017 when he enrolled in law school at George Washington University at age 18. He has since graduated, switched from being a Republican to a Democrat and has begun working as an attorney in Miami.
Parnas was not the only Jewish influencer on the White House call. Ellie Zeiler, who headed a Jewish youth group in San Diego before focusing full-time on her TikTok, where she has more than 10 million followers, told
The Washington Post she sees herself as “a White House correspondent for Gen Z.”
— Philissa Cramer
Jewish Owner of America’s Bobblehead Museum Has a Volodymyr Zelensky Figure in Production
Ukraine’s Jewish president Volodymyr Zelensky has become a global symbol of defiance as his country endures an all-out offensive from Russia.
British lawmakers gave him a standing ovation. Fans have set his speeches to rousing soundtracks. And Jewish supporters have called him a “modern Maccabee,” a reference to the ancient Jews who stood up to a formidable army in the Chanukah story.
So it only makes sense that he would join the ranks of the public figures immortalized in a bobblehead doll.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee, co-founded by Jewish Illinois native Phil Sklar, has announced a Zelensky bobblehead, and will donate some of the proceeds to Ukraine relief.
In a statement, Sklar said the figurine was intended to “show our support like countless others throughout the country and across the world” and “to help raise funds and awareness for Ukraine.”
The museum said it will donate $5 from each bobblehead sale to GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. The fund has already raised more than $10 million to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and surrounding areas that are taking in refugees.
The Zelensky bobblehead is dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, standing on a base displaying his name and backed with the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. The item is available for preorder, selling for $30 each plus a flat-rate $8 shipping fee, and is expected to ship late this spring.
Zelensky’s bobblehead joins other prominent Jews at the museum including Moses, Albert Einstein, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandy Koufax.
— Jacob Gurvis