Israel wants and deserves an apology from Russia over ‘Hitler’ remark
Tel Aviv says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s words about Jews are a “historical error”
Israel has summoned the Russian ambassador, after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that Adolf Hitler may have had some Jewish blood, and that the “most ardent” anti-Semites are Jews themselves.
“Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted on Monday.
“Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism.”
Lapid said Israel expects an apology, and that the Russian ambassador was being summoned “for a tough talk.”
Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error. Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism.— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid🟠 (@yairlapid) May 2, 2022
In a signal of sharply deteriorating relations with Moscow, the Israeli foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded an apology.
Other Israeli officials expressed outrage over Lavrov’s comments as well, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who accused Russia’s top diplomat of using the Holocaust “as a political tool.” The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem also denounced Lavrov’s words as false and dangerous. Moscow has not commented on the matter.
Lavrov made the assertion on Italian television on Sunday when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “denazify” Ukraine if the country’s own president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was himself Jewish.
Speaking to Italy’s Mediaset media company on Sunday, Lavrov confirmed that one of the objectives of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine is the “denazification” of the country. A reporter mentioned that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
Lavrov replied: “I could be wrong, but Hitler, too, had Jewish blood in him. This means absolutely nothing. Wise Jewish people say the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews. Every family has a black sheep, as we like to say.”
Earlier in the interview, the minister pointed to Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, whose fighters include people with openly nationalist and Nazi views. He said captured fighters from Azov and other units display Nazi symbols on their uniforms and have swastika tattoos. They “openly read and promote ‘Mein Kampf,’” Lavrov added, referring to the book by Hitler.
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, said the Russian minister’s remarks were “an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism”.
Speaking on Kan radio, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact”.
The identity of one of Hitler’s grandfathers is not known but there has been some speculation, never backed up by any evidence, that he might have been a Jew.
There was no immediate response for comment from the Russian embassy to Israel or from Lavrov in Moscow.
Kyiv condemned Lavrov’s words, saying his “heinous remarks” were offensive to Zelenskiy, to Israel, Ukraine and Jews.
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador last month over Lapid’s “anti-Russian” comments regarding Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
However, the Ukrainian president Zelensky has also run into flak in Israel by looking to draw analogies between the conflict in his country and World War Two. In an address to the Israeli parliament in March, Zelenskiy compared the Russian offensive in Ukraine to Nazi Germany’s plan to murder all Jews within its reach during World War Two. read more
Yad Vashem called his comments “irresponsible,” saying they trivialised the historical facts of the Holocaust.