Sergey Lavrov criticised Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for making “unforgivable” remarks on Nazism and anti-Semitism, including implying that Adolf Hitler had Jewish ancestors, and demanded an apology from Moscow.
Israel summoned the Russian ambassador for “clarifications” on Monday, claiming that the remarks condemned Jews for their own deaths during the Holocaust.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Israel has tried to strike a delicate balance between Moscow and Kyiv. Moscow calls its efforts a “special military operation” with the goal of “de-militarizing” and “denazifying” Ukraine.
While Israel has supplied humanitarian help to Ukraine and expressed support for its people, it has been cautious in its condemnation of Russia and has refused to join international sanctions against the country.
As a result, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was able to attempt to arbitrate between the parties, an endeavour that looks to have stagnated as Israel deals with internal instability.However, Israel was outraged by Lavrov’s comments to an Italian television station.
When asked about Russian accusations that Moscow intends to “denazify” Ukraine in an interview broadcast on Sunday, Lavrov claimed Kyiv could still have Nazi components even if some officials, including the country’s president, were Jewish.
“I could be mistaken, but Hitler also had Jewish blood,” Lavrov added, speaking to the station in Russian with an Italian translation.
The Russian embassy did not respond immediately. Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, branded Lavrov’s remarks “unforgivable, disgusting, and a dreadful historical blunder.”
“During the Holocaust, Jews did not murder themselves. “The lowest degree of antisemitism [anti-Jewism] is accusing Jews of being antisemitic,” he stated.
Bennett, who has been more cautious in his criticism of Russia’s invasion, slammed Lavrov’s remarks as well.
“His remarks are false, and their motives are incorrect,” he stated. “The use of the Holocaust as a political tool must come to an end immediately.”
The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, Yad Vashem, also slammed Lavrov’s remarks, calling them “unfounded, delusory, and dangerous words that ought to be condemned.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Israel to “make a choice” by backing Ukraine against Russia in an address to the Israeli Knesset at the end of March, and begged the Jewish state to equip it with weaponry.