Ronald Lauder, head of WJC.
Ronald Lauder, head of WJC.Flash90

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder condemned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s comments that Hitler had Jewish origins and accusing Jews of antisemitism.

“I join Israeli Prime Minister Bennett and Foreign Minister Lapid in deploring Foreign Minister Lavrov’s unfortunate comments as being beyond any legitimate and permissible rhetoric. Comparing any Jew, let alone Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, to Hitler is beyond the pale, and accusing Jews of antisemitism feeds into the agendas of the worst antisemites and neo-Nazis. I call on Foreign Minister Lavrov to publicly retract these comments to avoid pouring further gasoline on an already surging global antisemitic fire.”

In an interview with an Italian news channel, Foreign Minister Lavrov referred to the fact that Ukraine’s president is Jewish and said: “In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chided Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov Monday, calling his comparison of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine to the war against Nazi Germany ‘untrue’.

Following more strident condemnations by other Israeli leaders, Bennett did not call Lavrov’s comments to an Italian news network Sunday racist or anti-Semitic, choosing instead a more restrained response.

"I view with utmost severity the Russian Foreign Minister's statement," Bennett said Monday afternoon. “His words are untrue and their intentions are wrong. The goal of such lies is to accuse the Jews themselves of the most awful crimes in history, which were perpetrated against them, and thereby absolve Israel's enemies of responsibility.”

“As I have already said, no war in our time is like the Holocaust or is comparable to the Holocaust.

The use of the Holocaust of the Jewish people as a political tool must cease immediately."

Earlier on Monday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that it had summoned Russian Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov for “clarification” in response to Lavrov’s comments on Sunday.