Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said over the weekend that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood,” prompting a furious response from Israel on Monday.
“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.
“Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism.”
Lavrov made the comments on Italian television on Sunday, repeating Russia’s claim that its invasion of Ukraine is to “de-Nazify” the country.
He shrugged off the fact that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
“He [Zelensky] puts forward an argument: what kind of Nazism can they have if he is a Jew. I may be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood. It means absolutely nothing. The wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews," Lavrov said.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian Ambassador to Israel on Monday over Lavrov’s remarks.
Dani Dayan, who chairs the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance site in Israel, said it was “completely unfounded” to say Hitler was of Jewish descent.
And he slammed Russia’s labelling of Ukrainians as Nazis.
“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 a serious affront to the victims of Nazism,” Dayan said on Twitter.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the remarks made by his Russian counterpart were "heinous."
"FM Lavrov could not help hiding the deeply-rooted antisemitism of the Russian elites," Kuleba said Monday on his official Twitter account.
"His heinous remarks are offensive to President [Zelensky], Ukraine, Israel, and the Jewish people. More broadly, they demonstrate that today’s Russia is full of hatred towards other nations."