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A second day of antisemitism from Russia on the Ukrainian president’s Jewish origins

‘Antisemitism in everyday life and in politics is not stopped and is on the contrary nurtured (in Ukraine)’

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Russia’s foreign ministry accused Israel on Tuesday of supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, further escalating a row which began when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins.

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Israel lambasted Lavrov on Monday, saying his claim — made when talking about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy who is Jewish — was an “unforgivable” falsehood that debased the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Yair Lapid, whose grandfather died in the Holocaust, said accusing Jews of being anti-Semites was “the basest level of racism.” He dismissed Lavrov’s assertion that pro-Nazi elements held sway over the Ukrainian government and military.

“The Ukrainians aren’t Nazis. Only the Nazis were Nazis and only they dealt with the systematic destruction of the Jewish people,” Lapid told the YNet news website.

On Tuesday, the Russian ministry said in a statement that Lapid’s comments were “anti-historical” and explained “to a large extent why the current Israeli government supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

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Moscow reiterated Lavrov’s point that Zelenskiy’s Jewish origins did not preclude Ukraine from being run by neo-Nazis.

“Antisemitism in everyday life and in politics is not stopped and is on the contrary nurtured (in Ukraine),” it said in a statement.

Lavrov made the assertion on Italian television on Sunday when he was asked why Russia said it needed to “denazify” Ukraine if the country’s own president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was himself Jewish.

“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,” Lavrov told Rete 4 channel, speaking through an Italian interpreter.

“For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves,” he added.

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Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, said the Russian minister was spreading “an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.”

The identity of one of Hitler’s grandfathers is not known but there has been some speculation, never backed up by any evidence, that he might have been a Jew.

Zelenskiy, in his nightly video message, noted Moscow  has been silent since Lavrov’s comments. “This means that the Russian leadership has forgotten all the lessons of World War Two,” he said. “Or perhaps they have never learned those lessons.”

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken weighed in later on the comments by his Russian counterpart saying it was “incumbent on the world to speak out against such vile, dangerous rhetoric.”

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The German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, said Lavrov’s remarks mocked the victims of Nazism and “shamelessly confront not only Jews but the entire international public with open anti-Semitism.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called the top Russian diplomat’s comments obscene, while Canada’s Justin Trudeau expressed disbelief.

Trudeau said Monday those comments were “ridiculous and unacceptable.”

“The fact that Russia, as we’ve seen, has been peddling misinformation and disinformation has reached a point where it shouldn’t surprise us anymore,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Windsor, Ont.

“But what the Russian foreign minister just said is unbelievable. We need to stand condemning ever stronger the ridiculous and unacceptable positions of Russia, even as we stand with Ukraine.”

Israel has expressed support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February. But wary of damaging relations with Russia, a powerbroker in neighboring Syria, it initially avoided direct criticism of Moscow and has not enforced formal sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

However, ties have grown more strained, with Lapid last month accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

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Reference-nationalpost.com

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Pioneer Jury is a qualified writer and a blogger, who loves to dabble with and write about technology. While focusing on and writing on tech topics, his varied skills and experience enable him to write on any topic related to tech which may interest him. [email protected]

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