Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, made the stunning assertion that Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, had Jewish roots, causing Israel’s prime minister to reprimand the official, accusing him of using the Holocaust as a “battering ram.”
Since asked by Italian media how Russia could say it wanted to “denazify” Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish, Lavrov made the remarks on Sunday.
“When people argue, ‘What kind of nazification is this if we are Jews,’ I believe Hitler had Jewish ancestors as well, so that means nothing,” Lavrov added.
“We’ve been hearing for a long time from knowledgeable Jewish people that the strongest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett blasted Lavrov’s claims as “lies” Monday.
“Such lies are intended to accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrific crimes in history that were committed against them,” Bennett said in a statement.
“As I’ve already said, no war today is the Holocaust nor is it like the Holocaust,” he continued. “The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political battering ram must be stopped immediately.”
Lavrov’s Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, demanded an apology, calling the remarks “unforgivable and outrageous.”
“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The basest level of racism against Jews is to blame the Jews themselves for anti-Semitism.”
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, called Lavrov’s comments “an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism.”
He said Lavrov was spreading “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has couched the invasion of Ukraine he launched on Feb. 24 in terms of ridding its western neighbor of Nazi elements.