The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Russian ambassador to Israel for clarifications following Nazi comparisons made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov had defended Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of the “de-Nazification” of Ukraine and said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Jewish ancestry did not undermine Putin’s position.
Lavrov said that Zelensky may indeed be a Jew, but “Adolf Hitler also had Jewish blood.”
“That does not mean anything at all. The wise Jewish people say that the most keen anti-Semites are usually Jews,” he told Italian TV channel Rete4 on Sunday evening, prompting outrage in Israel.
“Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement on Monday.
“Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism,” he said.
Lapid continued: “My grandfather was not killed by Jews, but by Nazis.” He told Lavrov to “open a history book.”
“Ukrainians are not Nazis, only the Nazis were Nazis, only they carried out the systematic extermination of Jews,” Lapid said.
Dani Dayan, head of the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, called Lavrov’s remarks as quoted as “absurd, delusional, dangerous and deserving of condemnation.”
“Lavrov is propagating the inversion of the Holocaust – turning the victims into the criminals on the basis of promoting a completely unfounded claim that Hitler was of Jewish descent,” he said in a statement.
“Equally serious is calling the Ukrainians in general, and President Zelensky in particular, Nazis. This, among other things, is a complete distortion of the history and an affront to the victims of Nazism.”