Sergey Lavrov made the comments in a bizarre interview with a Putin-friendly journalist on Italian TV.
ROME—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has sparked outrage in Israel after telling the Italian television news program Zona Bianca that even Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood.”
Lavrov, largely unchecked by host Giuseppe Brindisi, went on to blame Western media for “misinterpreting” the facts of his boss Vladimir Putin’s deadly “special operation” in Ukraine. He repeated the lies that Russian forces had only hit military targets and that the Bucha massacre was a staged event.
When asked how Ukraine could be “de-nazified” when its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish, Lavrov replied: “So what if Zelensky is Jewish. The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood and in fact, some of the worst antisemites are Jews.”
The comment drew scorn from Dani Dayan, head of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, who called Lavrov’s comments “false, delusional, and dangerous, and worthy of all condemnation.” Conspiracy theorists have long pushed the lie that Hitler was in fact Jewish, but scholars have debunked the notion.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Yair Lapid summoned the Russian ambassador to Israel over the comments. “It is an unforgivable, scandalous statement, a terrible historical mistake, and we expect an apology,” Lapid told YNet news website, according to Reuters.
Lavrov was also asked whether he thought Putin would use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, to which he said Russia was working to reach a peace accord. “We have proposed to our American colleagues to repeat what Gorbachev and Reagan said in 1987 and accept a declaration confirming that a nuclear war would have no winners.”
He also denied that Putin will use the May 9 Russian celebration to declare a total war, saying that “the pace depends on the need to minimize the risks for the civilian population and for the Russian military. Our military does not plan actions based on a date.”
Lavrov maintained the Russian theory that the war is actually Zelensky’s fault. “Zelensky can bring peace if he stops giving criminal orders to his Nazi battalions and forces them to stop hostilities,” Lavrov said. “We don’t want him to surrender… our aim is not regime change in Ukraine.”
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 World English Bible)