Israel has used its strongest language yet to condemn Russia after its foreign minister claimed in a television interview that Adolf Hitler was Jewish.
Sergei Lavrov made the remark after he was asked by Italian television network TgCom24 how Ukraine’s Jewish president Volodymyr Zelensky could be overseeing a Nazi regime, as the Kremlin has repeatedly claimed without evidence.
Lavrov replied: “So when they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’, in my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything.
“For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish.”
Israel reacted furiously to the remark through its foreign minister Yair Lapid.
He tweeted: “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.”
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
Israeli officials also summoned the Russian ambassador to Tel Aviv for a diplomatic rebuke.
There was condemnation too from Yad Vashem, which called the remarks “absurd, delusional, dangerous and deserving of condemnation.”
It said in a statement: “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.
“Equally serious is calling the Ukrainians in general, and President (Volodymyr) Zelensky in particular, Nazis. This, among other things, is a complete distortion of the history and an affront to the victims of Nazism.”
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