In recent months, many have compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to the infamous Adolf Hitler. Many people see the tendencies of a totalitarian state remerging, with war strategies that date back to when man had little regard for humanity alongside mind games that leave other world leaders with whiplash. Russia seems to want to lead the designated areas in Ukraine towards a perfect Russian regime rather than an Aryan one.
Last week, Israel sat and honored the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust as they did from April 27 to the end of April 28. The latter was killed and abused for following their beliefs. Many Israelis promised to commemorate and respect their fallen ancestors after hearing survivors’ first-hand accounts of the horrors and fears instilled in the Jewish -German during WWII.
Shortly following Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, it seemed as though Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov mocked Israel’s grievances. However, it is believed that the question from the interviewer was what initially stirred the metaphorical pot. The question that caused tension asked how Russia can claim that it is fighting to “de-Nazify” Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
The response that put the entirety of Israel up in arms was when Lavrov said Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood.” Israel’s foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador for “clarification” and demanded an apology. Even though the Russian Foreign Minister admitted to potentially being wrong, he worsened his position when he said, “Wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”
Israel’s foreign ministry’s demand for clarification and an apology did not end the outrage across the entire nation. With rage coming from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Twitter, calling Lavrov’s words “unforgivable,” and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett saying, “Such lies are meant to blame the Jews themselves for the most terrible crimes in history and thus free the oppressors of the Jews from their responsibility.” Many citizens of Israel have their anger amplified and renewed, feeding fuel to an already burning fire.
In response to Lavrov, Ukrainian President Zelensky said in a video address, “I have no words… No one has heard any denial or any justification from Moscow. All we have from there is silence.” Zelensky added that Russia’s silence emphasizes that the Russian leadership had either forgotten “all the lessons of World War Two” or “perhaps have never learned those lessons.”
Jon Donnison of the BBC in Jerusalem, the outpouring of support underlines how profoundly disrespectful and terrible Lavrov’s remarks were to Jews in Israel and throughout the globe. Isreal, having a large Russian population, has been criticized for not taking a tough enough line with President Vladimir Putin. It has also attempted to mediate between Russia and Ukraine; however, Israel might be shifting its position due to recent events.
Although rumors about Hitler being Jewish have circulated for years since WWII, all stories have yet to have proven that Hitler’s paternal grandfather was Jewish. The rumor initially emerged when Hitler’s lawyer, Hans Frank, published a memoir in 1953 laying claim that Hitler had instructed him to investigate rumors that he had Jewish ancestry, which he claims to have been proven true.