Lavrov compares Ukraine’s Zelensky to Hitler with antisemitic ‘Jewish blood’ trope

FILE – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a joint news conference with Eritrea Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 27, 2022. On Monday, May 2, 2022, Israel lashed out at Russia over “unforgivable” comments made in an interview with an Italian news channel by Lavrov about Nazism and antisemitism — including claims that Adolf Hitler was Jewish. Israel, which summoned the Russian ambassador in response, said the remarks blamed Jews for their own murder in the Holocaust. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Israel on Monday condemned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after he claimed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood” while speaking about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish.

Lavrov’s remarks came in an Italian television appearance when asked about Russia’s claims that it was going to “denazify” Ukraine.

“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 had said, according to CNN.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is the son of a Holocaust survivor, responded by calling Lavrov’s statement “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”

“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” Lapid added. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also criticized the remarks and said they were “unacceptable,” The Associated Press reported.

“Using the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a means to score political points must be stopped immediately,” he said. “His remarks are not the truth and their content is unacceptable.”

Ukrainian leaders quickly lashed out at Lavrov’s remarks, including presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, who said the comments were “evidence of Russia being a successor to Nazi ideology.”  

“By trying to rewrite history, Moscow is simply looking for arguments to justify the mass murders of Ukrainians,” he tweeted.

Throughout the conflict in Ukraine, Israel has seemingly attempted to walk a line between Ukraine and Russia.

While Israel has expressed repeated support for Ukraine, it has not sent military equipment or enforced formal sanctions on Russian oligarchs, The New York Times reported. Bennett has in large part avoided directly criticizing Russia.

Tags Adolf Hitler Anti-semitism Jewish community Naftali Bennett russia Sergey Lavrov Sergey Lavrov ukraine VOldymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky Yair Lapid

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