The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday announced the summons of Israeli Ambassador Simona Halperin due to “unacceptable” statements she made in an interview, according to the TASS news agency.
The ministry indicated that Halperin spoke distortedly about Russian foreign policy positions in an interview conducted with him by the Russian daily Kommersant, which was published yesterday, Sunday.
The ministry expressed its dissatisfaction with the ambassador's statements and described it as a “completely unsuccessful start” to his diplomatic position, which he began last December.
Halperin drew harsh criticism in the interview, as he criticized Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, accusing him of downplaying the significance of the Holocaust. He indicated that Russia treats the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in a “highly friendly” manner.
“I don't understand why Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov downplays the significance of this brutal incident,” he said.
The ambassador also said that “Moscow condemned Hamas' attack on Israel last October until it was too late,” noting that Russia does not classify Hamas as a terrorist group. And is still in touch with its members.
Galperin believes Moscow stands in solidarity with South Africa, which filed a lawsuit against Israel on charges of extermination of Palestinians before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. According to Israeli diplomatic sources, this reduces the level of sympathy towards Russia among Israelis, including Russian-speakers.
Commenting on the ambassador's statements, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, “Given unacceptable public statements and distortion of Russian foreign policy attitudes and historical facts, Ambassador Halperin will be summoned to the ministry.”
The ministry further stated that “thinking about the need to change the political calendar of the Russian state is considered interference in the internal affairs of Russia”.