Israel Lashes Out at Russia After Lavrov Claims Hitler Had Jewish Origins
Israel on Monday (May 2) lashed out at Russia over “unforgivable” comments by its foreign minister about Nazism and antisemitism—including claims that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins. Israel, which summoned the Russian ambassador in response, said the remarks blamed Jews for their own murder in the Holocaust.
It was a steep decline in the ties between the two countries at a time when Israel has sought to stake out a neutral position between Russia and Ukraine and remain in Russia’s good stead for its security needs in the Middle East.
Asked in an interview with an Italian news channel about Russian claims that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” the country, Sergey Lavrov said that Ukraine could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish.
“So when they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’ In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish,” Lavrov said.
Russia Says Israel Supporting “Neo-Nazi Regime” in Ukraine
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has doubled down on comments comparing Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky to Hitler, accusing Israel of supporting a “neo-Nazi” regime in Ukraine.
Israel reacted furiously to initial comments made by Lavrov in which he said both Zelensky and Hitler had “Jewish blood” and that Zelensky’s Jewish heritage did not prevent him leading a Nazi government.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described Lavrov’s comments as “an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error.”
On Tuesday (May 3), Lavrov hit back at Lapid and went further.
In a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry, he attacked Lapid’s statement as “anti-historical” and “explaining to a large extent why the current Israeli government supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”
Russia Says Israeli “Mercenaries” Are Fighting “Shoulder to Shoulder” With Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion
A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry claims Israeli mercenaries are fighting alongside the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment in Ukraine, further fueling tensions with Israel after Russia suggested Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood.”
“Israeli mercenaries are practically shoulder to shoulder with Azov militants in Ukraine,” Maria Zakharova told Sputnik radio in an interview.
By suggesting that Israelis are fighting alongside Azov—viewed by Russia as “fascists” and “Nazis”—Moscow is compounding tensions that started after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday (May 1) that Hitler had “Jewish blood.”
His remarks sparked outrage in Israel, which called the statement “unforgivable and outrageous” and a “terrible historical error.”
Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday accused Israel of backing “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is of Jewish descent.
Zelensky Received Propaganda Advice From Netanyahu Aides
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky consulted in recent weeks with a pair of public relations (another word for “propaganda”) advisers to Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu in a bid to galvanize military support for his country as it defends itself from Russia’s invasion, according to a report Tuesday (May 3).
Walla news said Zelensky received advice from Srulik Einhorn, who was a senior adviser for Netanyahu’s Likud party during the last election. He also reportedly consulted with Jonatan Urich, a longtime Netanyahu aide who continues to serve as the former prime minister’s spokesman.
Both Einhorn and Urich now work at strategic consulting firm perception.media, along with Ofer Golan, another Netanyahu aide.
Einhorn previously lauded Zelensky’s media efforts on behalf of his country, penning an op-ed in March that detailed the president’s media tactics.
“It can be stated that the social-media campaign conducted by Ukraine is one of the most brilliant campaigns orchestrated by countries in recent decades,” Einhorn wrote in The Jerusalem Post.