Israel has denounced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for suggesting that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots, and demanded an apology from Moscow.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Yair Lapid said the Russian ambassador would be summoned for “a tough talk” over the comments, which Lavrov made in an interview with Italian television.
“It is an unforgivable, scandalous statement, a terrible historical mistake, and we expect an apology,” Lapid said. There was no immediate comment from the Russian embassy.
During his interview with Italy’s Rete 4 channel, Lavrov was asked how Russia could claim that it needed to “denazify” Ukraine when the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was Jewish.
“When they say ‘What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews’, well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing,” Lavrov said. “For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves,” he added.
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, called Lavrov’s remarks “an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism”.
Speaking on Israel’s Kan radio, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading “an antisemitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact”.