Israel pushes back on Russian claim that Kyiv ambassador ‘glorified Nazism’

No one can lecture Israel on what is distortion of Holocaust memory, says Israeli Foreign Ministry.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israeli Foreign Ministry lashed back Friday at Russian claims that Jerusalem’s envoy to Ukraine had “glorified Nazism.”

“There is no change in Israel’s policy, which is absolutely opposed to and rejects the glorification of criminals who collaborated with the Nazis in murdering Jews,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Lior Haiat tweeted.

However, he added, “No party should lecture the State of Israel, Israel’s Foreign Ministry, or its diplomats about the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust or about the war on historical distortion.”

In a Thursday interview with Israeli Russian-language station Iton TV, Ambassador Michael Brodsky had said it would be wrong to condition aid to Ukraine on its renouncing its adulation for those who fought for Ukrainian independence by joining the Nazis during World War II. He also made it clear that due to their antisemitism, Israel has always opposed the fact that statues are erected and streets are named after them throughout the country.

The troops who followed such men as Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera were notorious for having murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust while fighting against the Soviet Union that had swallowed their country years earlier.

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Ignoring Israel’s enunciated position regarding those historic figures, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova sharply criticized him Friday for saying that these men were “heroes” to most Ukrainians.

“No one has the right to have such heroes … These were not heroes, but demons, and this was not an identity, but a disgrace for the people of Ukraine,” she tweeted. “This is an act of glorifying Nazism.”

Zakharova also took on the role of “reminding” the ambassador on Telegram of the part Bandera’s nationalists had played in perpetrating the extermination of the Jews in Ukraine, “since there is no one else to defend the victims of the Holocaust but us.”

This is not the first time Brodsky has delinked these Ukrainian nationalists’ complicity in the Holocaust with realpolitik defense of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In January 2022, almost two months before Russia’s invasion of its southern neighbor on the pretext that it was a “neo-Nazi” regime, he said that Israel’s years-long “principled position” that people like Bandera “should not become heroes” as their crimes against the Jewish people have been proven by the historical research of Yad Vashem and others, it should not be a reason to stop supporting Ukraine, with Russian troops amassing on its borders.

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