JERUSALEM — The Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, condemned on Monday a current declare by the Russian overseas minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, that Jews had been “the biggest antisemites.”
The Israeli Overseas Ministry additionally summoned the Russian ambassador to Israel to clarify Mr. Lavrov’s remarks, whereas the Israeli overseas minister, Yair Lapid, demanded an apology.
The backlash adopted an interview Mr. Lavrov gave on Sunday to an Italian tv journalist who requested him why Russia claimed to be “denazifying” Ukraine when the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was Jewish. Mr. Lavrov replied that he thought Hitler himself had Jewish roots, a declare dismissed by historians, and added, “For a very long time now we’ve been listening to the sensible Jewish folks say that the largest antisemites are the Jews themselves.”
Mr. Bennett stated that he considered Mr. Lavrov’s remarks with the “utmost severity,” saying that the feedback had been “unfaithful and their intentions are fallacious.”
Mr. Bennett added, “The purpose of such lies is to accuse the Jews themselves of probably the most terrible crimes in historical past, which had been perpetrated in opposition to them, and thereby absolve Israel’s enemies of accountability.”
Individually, Mr. Lapid stated that Mr. Lavrov’s feedback had been “each an unforgivable and outrageous assertion in addition to a horrible historic error.”
“Jews didn’t homicide themselves within the Holocaust,” he added. “The bottom degree of racism in opposition to Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism.”
The Israeli authorities’s response is among the many fiercest criticism it has leveled on the Russian authorities since the invasion of Ukraine.
Israel has been engaged in a tough balancing act: supporting Ukraine whereas making an attempt to keep away from a showdown with Russia, which has a big army presence in Syria, Israel’s neighbor. Israel coordinates with Russia when placing Iranian, Syrian or Lebanese army targets on Syrian soil, and doesn’t wish to unduly rock its relationship with Moscow. Israel can also be involved about doable fallout for Russian Jews.
Basically, Israeli officers are very delicate about how the Holocaust is invoked by politicians overseas. Mr. Zelensky himself was criticized in Israel when, throughout a virtual address in March to the country’s Parliament, he in contrast the struggling of Ukrainians to that of Jews through the Holocaust.