Israel voices outrage after Russian foreign minister claims 'some of the worst antisemites are Jews'
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that his Russian counterpart's claims that Adolf Hitler "had Jewish blood" and that Jews are "some of the worst antisemites" were "unforgivable and outrageous," Fox News reports.
During an interview with an Italian news channel on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked how he could reconcile Russia's claim to be waging war to "de-Nazify" Ukraine with the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
"The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood," Lavrov said, referring to a widespread theory — dismissed by most historians as mere rumor — that Hitler's paternal grandfather was Jewish.
A spokesperson for Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that the MFA had "summoned the Russian Ambassador to Israel for a clarification meeting."
Dani Dayan, who heads Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, also spoke out against Lavrov, calling his remarks "false, delusional and dangerous, and worthy of all condemnation." Yad Vashem previously chided Zelensky for comparing Russia's attack on Ukraine to the Holocaust.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Lavrov's comments "heinous."
Israel has denounced the invasion of Ukraine and voted in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning Russian aggression. Reuters notes, however, that Israel is also "wary of straining relations with Russia, a powerbroker in neighboring Syria," and "has not enforced formal sanctions on Russian oligarchs."