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8.5.2022. 11:57

Bennett to Lavrov: Stop using Holocaust as political battering ram

Foreign Ministry summons Russian ambassador over Lavrov’s claim Hitler was Jewish, comparison to Zelensky.

By LAHAV HARKOV. Published: MAY 2, 2022 10:41

In his most explicit condemnation of a Russian official since the war on Ukraine began, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke out against Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s claim that Hitler was part Jewish.

Asked in an interview with Italy’s Rete 4 on Sunday how Russia could be “denazifying” Ukraine if its president Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish, Lavrov said: "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.” "For a long time now we've been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest antisemites are the Jews themselves," he added.

Bennett said on Monday that “lies like these are meant to blame
the Jews themselves for the most terrible crimes in history, which were committed against them, and thus free the oppressors of the Jews from their responsibility.”

“As I’ve already said, no war today is the Holocaust nor is it like the Holocaust,” Bennett stated. “The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political battering ram must be stopped immediately."

The remarks, which named the Russian foreign minister explicitly, are the first of its kind the prime minister has made since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Bennett has not condemned Russia, though Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has repeatedly done so and Israel has voted against Russia in the UN.

Lapid said that Lavrov’s remarks were “unforgivable and outrageous, and a terrible historic mistake.”
“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.”

Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan said of Lavrov’s comments, “The remarks of Russian FM Lavrov are absurd, dangerous and deserving condemnation.

“Lavrov is propagating the inversion of the Holocaust – turning the victims into the criminals on the basis of promoting a completely unfounded claim that Hitler was of Jewish descent,” Dayan stated. 

Equally serious is calling the Ukrainians in general, and President Zelensky in particular, Nazis. This, among other things, is a complete distortion of the history and a serious affront to the victims of Nazism.”

Russia has claimed that its invasion of Ukraine in February aimed to “denazify” the country.
“Zelensky can promote peace between the states if he stops giving orders to his Nazi forces,” Lavrov said in the interview. “Nazi forces” likely refers to the Azov Battalion of Ukraine’s National Guard defending Mariupol.  The Azov Battalion, which Russia has used to paint Ukraine as a country in need of “denazification,” has roughly 1,000 members, while there were 245,000 active Ukrainian military personnel at the outset of the war with Russia this year, and millions of adult males were required to remain in the country to help in the war effort.
Lavrov also remarked that the upcoming anniversary of Russia’s liberation at the end of World War II will have no bearing on Moscow’s military operations in Ukraine.

“We’ll commemorate our victory in a solemn manner but the timing and speed of what is happening in Ukraine will hinge on the need to minimize risks for civilians and Russian soldiers,” he added, speaking in Russian through an Italian interpreter.