Israel demands apology after Russia says Hitler had Jewish roots

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Israel denounced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday for suggesting that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins, accusing Lavrov of spreading anti-Semitism and belittling the Holocaust.

“Such lies are intended to accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrific crimes in history that were committed against them,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

“The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people for political purposes must stop immediately,” he added.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Yair Lapid demanded an apology from Lavrov over his comments, which were made on Sunday in an interview with Italian television, and called in the Russian ambassador for “a tough talk” over the assertion.

Lapid said that to claim Hitler was of Jewish descent was like saying Jews had killed themselves, and accusing Jews of being anti-Semites was “the basest level of racism”.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian embassy or Lavrovhimself.

During his interview with Italy’s Rete 4 channel, Lavrov was asked how Russia could say 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, speaking through an Italian interpreter.

“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, said the Russian minister’s remarks were “an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism”.

Speaking on Kan radio, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact”.—Reuters

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