The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday released a large statement condemning fresh remarks made by Israeli Ambassador to the country, Simona Halperin, as “provocative and unacceptable.”
The explosive interview with the envoy, published by the Russian daily Kommersant on Sunday, was slammed by the ministry as twisting both “historic realities and foreign policy approaches of our country.” Namely, the ministry called out Halperin for criticizing Russia for not having the International Holocaust Memorial Day on its official holiday list, as she pledged to discuss the issue with the country’s diplomats.
Russia is among the countries that floated the idea of establishing the International Memorial Day at the UN back in 2005 in the first place, the ministry noted. Apart from that, the country has a whole memorial week dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust victims, it said.
The ministry also called out Halperin for describing the Holocaust as an unprecedented mass-killing event that targeted “only the Jewish people.” According to multiple cornerstone international documents, including several UN Security Council resolutions, such a take on the Holocaust was not exactly accurate, the ministry suggested.
“It is important once again to draw attention to the fact that the Holocaust was the persecution and mass extermination of representatives of various ethnic and social groups by the Nazis. This is exactly how it is recorded in the most important international documents,” the ministry emphasized.
Russian diplomats have also described as “puzzling” Halperin’s take on the country’s effort to ease the situation in the Middle East, namely the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Namely, the envoy has claimed that Russia has been hosting “Hamas members” who purportedly had been “received in Moscow, hugged, with red carpets rolled out in front of them.”
“We cannot understand this. In Russia, they say that they are conducting these negotiations to free the hostages. But soon it’ll be four months as people are held hostage and they haven’t been released,” the diplomat asserted.
The Russian ministry, however, advised Halperin to “reach relatives of former hostages for further explanation” on why exactly Moscow has been maintaining contact with the political wing of the Palestinian group.
“It would be useful for the Israeli diplomat to learn firsthand what it was like for them to be held captive for almost two months and whether their release was worth our contacts with Hamas. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk to the relatives of Russian citizens still held in Gaza either,” it said, adding that Halperin should have better inquired with her own government why exactly the hostages still remain at the hands of Hamas.