Mumbai: Responding to a letter by the Israel Embassy over his “anti-semitic” post amid Israel’s ongoing ground operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday said he shared the post long back and did not intend to hurt Israel.
The letter from the Israeli embassy came close on the heels of an uproar over Mr Raut’s post on social media platform X allegedly justifying the Holocaust.
Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Sanjay Raut said, “It’s been a long time since I shared that post on X. I have since deleted it. I did make a reference to Hitler in my post but had no intention to hurt Israel.”
The Rajya Sabha MP claimed that he had condemned Hamas’ October 7 attacks in southern Israel while also criticising the Israeli reprisal.
“I did criticise and condemn the way Hamas attacked southern Israel and took innocent lives. In the same breath, however, I also condemned the way Gaza hospitals were attacked, killing newborns and children, and their essential supplies blocked. I believe children shouldn’t be targeted during a war,” he said.
“I said what was happening was inhumane. I did say as well that it is because of the lack of humanity that they are demonstrating now that a leader back in the day (Adolf Hitler) opposed them,” the Sena (UBT) leader said.
He claimed that the Israeli Embassy must have been prompted by “someone” to “oppose” his post.
“It was only after a month that the Israel Embassy in India wrote to me over the post. I feel someone may have prompted them to write to me,” he claimed.
The Israeli Embassy wrote a strongly-worded letter to the External Affairs Ministry and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expressing disappointment and dismay over Sanjay Raut’s post.
Mr Raut posted on X in Hindi that he understood “why Hitler hated the Jews so much”. Facing backlash, the MP deleted his post.
On October 7, over 2,000 Hamas operatives breached Israel’s borders and unleashed coordinated attacks, killing over 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
In response, Israel launched a fierce counter-offensive, targeting Hamas units in the Gaza Strip.
However, the Israeli air assault and ground operations drew frowns from rights groups and the Arab world over the mounting civilian death count.
According to the Hamas-run ministry in Gaza, over 14,000 people, including over 5,000 children, have died in Gaza amid the ongoing Israeli offensive.
(This story has been published from a syndicated feed.)