MK Cassif Condemns Russian FM’s Antisemite Statements

Leading Communist lawmaker, MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List), condemned on Monday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s “antisemite statements.” Lavrov on Sunday said that the fact that Ukraine’s president is Jewish does not contradict Moscow’s claims that it launched the invasion to “de-nazify” the country, claiming that even Hitler “had Jewish blood.”

In an interview with Italian news channel Zona Bianca, Lavrov was asked how Russian President Vladimir Putin could claim he was trying to “de-nazify” Ukraine when Volodymyr Zelensky, the country’s president, was Jewish. “So, what if Zelensky is Jewish. The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood,” Lavrov said, adding that “some of the worst antisemites are Jews.”

MK Ofer Cassif, center, during a demonstration against occupation in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, Feb. 13, 2022 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Announcing the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the “special military operation” would seek the “denazification” of its sovereign neighbor. Russian media has repeatedly sought to portray Ukraine as being aligned with Nazism, without evidence to support such accusations.

“Lavrov harm the memory of those murdered by the Nazis,” said Cassif. “Hitler was not of Jewish origin and the Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest form of racism against Jews is blaming the Jews themselves for antisemitism.”

According Zo Haderech weekly, the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) is well aware that for decades, the Israeli establishment has made great efforts to appropriate the Holocaust for the benefit of official state propaganda. According the CPI, “This is a false connection. As the Communist Party, it is our duty to contribute to the struggle against the misuse of the memory of the Holocaust, which is intended for the justification of the occupation of the Palestinian territories. The way of dealing with it is not by running away or avoiding the matter. Dealing with it means not forfeiting to the Israeli establishment the universal marking of events and ceremonies commemorating the victims of Nazism.”

Every year on May 9th, the anniversary of the Nazi Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union in 1945, the CPI marks the defeat of the Nazi forces at the hands of the Red Army. This year, the annual commemoration of this historic event will be held by communists and Hadash activists on next Saturday, May 7, in the Red Army Forest near Jerusalem. In Israel, the CPI has for many years stood in the forefront of the commemoration of May 9th – Victory Day over Nazi Germany – even during times in which the Israeli establishment chose to completely ignore this decisive event in human history.

Towards the anniversary of the Nazi surrender, the CPI has issued a call to the public to participate in the Victory Day celebration in the Red Army Forest: “Throughout the 20th century, Communists led the struggle against fascism and racism. We are proud of this struggle and are committed to its humane values, now and in the future.” The CPI statement goes on to say that “The Holocaust of European Jewry is an inseparable part of the essence of racism and the monstrous practices of fascism. The lesson of the Holocaust is universal and humane. Dealing with it is both a humanistic and a Communist duty. For us, it is also a very contemporary lesson. No people is immune to fascism and racism. These dangers exist in Israeli society as well, and struggling against them obliges us to form, within the Israeli society, a broad democratic front of resistance and action.”