Russia’s foreign minister has been blasted by Israel for claiming Adolf Hitler “had Jewish origins” and that “some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews.”
Sergei Lavrov hit out at Ukraine’s president during an interview with Italian media, saying Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Jewish ancestry “doesn’t mean anything” while trying to justify Vladimir Putin’s call to “denazify” the nation.
Speaking through an interpreter, Lavrov told Italian media: “So what if Zelensky is Jewish? The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine.”
He added that “Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean anything. Some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews.”
Israel: Lavrov’s remarks on Hitler and Jewish origins “unforgivable”
Israel has called Lavrov’s remarks “unforgivable” and summoned Russia’s ambassador for an explanation.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: “Such lies are meant to blame the Jews themselves for the most terrible crimes in history and thus free the oppressors of the Jews from their responsibility.”
“No war today is the Holocaust or is like the Holocaust,” said the Israeli PM.
Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid said the comments were “scandalous and a horrible historical error.”
He added: “The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”
In his bid to legitimize the war to Russian citizens, President Putin has portrayed the battle as a struggle against Nazis in Ukraine even though the country has a democratically-elected government and a Jewish president whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust.
Just hours into the invasion, Putin appealed directly to Ukrainian troops and said it was “easier to negotiate with you” than the “gang of Nazis that has captured Kyiv.”