Israel has reacted angrily following Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, who claimed, in an attempt to legitimize the invasion of Ukraine, that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood.”
Sergei Lavrov made the remarks in an attempt to defend Vladimir Putin’s portrayal of Ukraine as a “Nazi” state, despite the fact that Ukraine’s president, Volodymir Zelenskyy, is Jewish.
When asked how Russia can claim to be working to “de-Nazify” Ukraine when its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish, Lavrov responded:
“So what if Zelensky is Jewish?”
“The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood,” adding that “some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews.”
Israel has responded angrily, calling Lavrov’s remarks ‘unforgivable’ After that, Israel summoned Russia’s envoy and demanded an “apology.”
Lavrov’s remarks sparked fury throughout Israel’s political spectrum.
“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,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated.
“No war today is the Holocaust or is like the Holocaust.”
On his Twitter account, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded strongly, calling Mr. Lavrov’s statements “unforgivable.”
Israeli officials have also asked that Russia apologize for the statements.
“His words are untrue, and their intentions are wrong,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated. “Using the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must cease immediately.”
An aide to Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, labeled Lavrov’s remark “antisemitic” and stated it “further evidence that Russia is the legal heir of Nazi ideology.”
“Trying to rewrite history, Moscow is simply looking for justifications for mass murders of Ukrainians,” he said.
Dani Dayan, the director of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust monument, also criticized Lavrov.
“Most of his views are absurd, delusory, dangerous, and deserving of any condemnation,” he said on Twitter. “Lavrov deals with the Holocaust’s reversal: turning victims into criminals, based on the promotion of a completely unfounded claim that Hitler was of Jewish heritage.”
The Israeli government has received criticism in recent months for not taking a tough enough position with President Putin, but Russia’s latest statements may change Israel’s approach.
For decades, unproven rumors have circulated that Hitler’s unidentified paternal grandfather was Jewish, based on an assertion made by Hitler’s lawyer Hans Frank.
In his book, released in 1953, Frank stated that Hitler had instructed him to look into rumors that he had Jewish ancestors. Historians have never confirmed Frank’s allegation that he discovered evidence indicating Hitler’s grandfather was Jewish.