Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the startling suggestion that Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots — prompting Israel’s prime minister to issue a rebuke accusing the official of using the Holocaust as a “battering ram.”
Lavrov made the comments Sunday when he was questioned by Italian media about how Russia could claim it intended to “denazify” Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky is 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 antisemites are the Jews themselves,” the Russian foreign minister said.
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 antisemitism.”
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, Lavrov’s comments “an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism.”
He said Lavrov was spreading “an antisemitic 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 liberating its eastern neighbor of Nazi elements.
With Post wires