Israel slams Russia claim of Hitler's Jewish roots

STORY: Israel's foreign minister on Monday fiercely denounced comments by his Russian counterpart who suggested that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was of Jewish descent.

"It is an unforgivable, scandalous statement as you said, and also, of course, a terrible historical mistake, and we expect an apology."

The diplomatic outrage is fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a war not just destroying lives but one that critics say is twisting history.

Moscow has justified its unprovoked invasion of its neighbor in part on claims it wanted to "de-Nazify" Ukraine, trying to paint the democratically-elected government of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the image of Nazi Germany under dictator Adolf Hitler, who tried to exterminate European Jews.

That comparison provoked scoffs and disbelief based in no small part on the simple fact that the Ukrainian leader is Jewish.

An Italian journalist asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about this about this on Sunday.

Speaking through an Italian interpreter, Lavrov responded, "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."

He added, "For a long time now we've been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves."

"The statement of Foreign Minister Lavrov is false, is despicable and is deemed of the strongest condemnation."

Dani Dayan is the chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

"He is basically engaging in Holocaust inversion, making the victims of the Holocaust the perpetrators, and that is inexcusable."

Israeli Foreign Ministry Yair Lapid said the Russian ambassador would be summoned for "a tough talk" over the comments.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian embassy.

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