Israel criticized Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 2 for his claims that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood.”
Lavrov made the remarks in an interview with Italian television program Zona Bianca when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “de-nazify” Ukraine when its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish.
“As to [Zelensky’s] argument of what kind of Nazification can we have if I’m Jewish, if I remember correctly, and I may be wrong, Hitler also had Jewish blood,” Lavrov said through an Italian interpreter.
“We have for a long time listened to the wise Jewish people who say that the most rabid anti-Semites tend to be Jews,” Lavrov added.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned Lavrov’s comments as “untrue and their intentions are wrong.”
“The goal of such lies is to accuse the Jews themselves of the most awful crimes in history, which were perpetrated against them, and thereby absolve Israel’s enemies of responsibility,” Bennett said in a statement.
“The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must cease immediately,” Bennett added.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov and demanded an apology.
“The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said.
Dani Dayan, the chairperson of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, described Lavrov’s remarks as “absurd, delusional, dangerous, and deserving of any condemnation.”
Dayan added that calling Zelensky and Ukrainians in general Nazis was “equally serious.”
In his daily video address, Zelensky said that Lavrov’s comments showed that the “Russian leadership has forgotten all the lessons of World War II.”
“Or perhaps they have never learned those lessons,” Zelensky said.
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