Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday condemned comments by his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that Hitler had Jewish blood as “unforgivable and outrageous.”
During an interview on Italian television Sunday night, Lavrov claimed that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy being Jewish does not negate his country having a Nazi element — a line pushed by Moscow to justify its lethal invasion. “I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood, some of the worst anti-Semites are Jews,” Lavrov added.
Israel was quick to hit back.
“Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement, as well as a terrible historical error,” Lapid said in a statement. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism,” he added.
Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel also blasted Lavrov’s claim about Hitler as “delusions that are meant to justify the Russians’ horrific acts in Ukraine.” Hendel said Sunday that he wouldn’t accept the “cheapening of the Holocaust.”
Ukraine also condemned Lavrov. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, tweeted, “Lavrov’s direct anti-Semitic statements … are the evidence of Russia being a successor to Nazi ideology.”
In the days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin claimed that Israel had offered to help negotiate a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine. Bennett has not yet publicly reacted to Lavrov’s inflammatory comment about Hitler.