Israel denounced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday for suggesting that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots, and demanded an apology from Moscow.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the Russian ambassador would be summoned for “a tough talk” about the comments, which Lavrov made in an interview with Italian television on Sunday.
“This is an unforgivable and shocking statement, a terrible historic mistake, and we expect an apology,” Lapid told the YNet news website.
The Russian embassy had no immediate comment.
During his interview with the Italian channel Rete 4, Lavrov was asked about Russia’s claim to “denazify” Ukraine when the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish.
“When they say ‘what kind of Nazification is this if we are Jews’, well, I think Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean anything,” Lavrov said, speaking through an Italian interpreter.
“For a long time we have heard Jewish scholars say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves,” he added.
Dani Dayan, president of Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial to the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, called Lavrov’s remarks “an insult and a heavy blow to the victims of true Nazism.”
On Israeli radio Kan, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory without any foundation”.
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