May 2 (UPI) –Top Israeli officials on Monday condemned remarks from Russia’s chief diplomat that claimed that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was Jewish and implied that Jewish captives during World War II were responsible for their own deaths in the Holocaust.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov made the remarks in an interview with an Italian news channel when asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that his war in Ukraine is “deNazifying” the country.
“In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything,” he said in the interview. “For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest anti-Semites were Jewish.”
In some of the harshest remarks since the start of the war in Ukraine, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Lavrov’s statement “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”
“The Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” said Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to blame Jews themselves for antisemitism.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has been more measured in his criticism of Russia’s invasion, also condemned Lavrov’s comments.
“His words are untrue and their intentions are wrong,” he said. “Using the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must cease immediately.”