Sergei Lavrov
Sergei LavrovReuters

Jewish Democratic Members of Congress on Tuesday denounced antisemitic remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"The blatant antisemitism in recent comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is appalling but sadly not surprising. Lavrov, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian regime are doing everything they can to divert attention from their unprovoked, unlawful invasion of Ukraine and the failings of their military in the face of a heroic Ukrainian response," said the lawmakers in a statement.

"Defaulting to antisemitic tropes, including blaming the Jews for the Holocaust and using the Holocaust to cover their own war crimes, reflects the gutless depravity of the Russian regime. Lavrov’s remarks on Italian TV were an affront to the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, the survivors of the Holocaust, their families, and the entire world Jewish community," they added.

The statement was issued jointly by Reps. Auchincloss, Bonamici, Cicilline, Deutch, Frankel, Gottheimer, Jacobs, Levin (CA), Levin (MI), Lowenthal, Manning, Nadler, Raskin, Schakowsky, Schiff, Schneider, Schrier, M.D., Sherman, Slotkin, Wasserman Schultz, Wild, and Yarmuth.

Lavrov caused an uproar after saying on Sunday that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood.

In an interview with an Italian news channel, Lavrov referred to the fact that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy 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.”

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

Later in the day, Zelenskyy responded to Lavrov and said that his comments show that Moscow "has forgotten all the lessons of World War II or perhaps never learned them."

"I have no words...No one has heard any denial or any justification from Moscow. All we have from there is silence.... this means that the Russian leadership has forgotten all the lessons of World War II," he said in his nightly video message.

"Or perhaps they have never learned those lessons," he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also responded on Monday to Lavrov.

Quoting Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s condemnation of the remarks, Blinken tweeted, “My friend Yair Lapid put it perfectly. It is incumbent on the world to speak out against such vile, dangerous rhetoric and support our Ukrainian partners in the face of the Kremlin’s vicious assault.”