A senior member of Israel’s government welcomed on Wednesday White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s apology for saying Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons, comments that overlooked the killing of millions of Jews in Nazi gas chambers.
“Since he apologized and retracted his remarks, as far as (I) am concerned, the matter is over,” Intelligence and Transport Minister Israel Katz said in a statement, citing the “tremendous importance of historical truth and remembrance” of the victims of the Holocaust.
Spicer made the assertion at a daily news briefing, during a discussion about the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Syria.
Spicer’s assertion, made during the Jewish holiday of Passover, sparked instant outrage on social media and from some Holocaust memorial groups who accused him of minimizing Hitler’s crimes.
Katz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, had tweeted late on Tuesday that Spicer’s comments at the news briefing were “grave and outrageous,” and he said the White House spokesman should apologize or resign.
There was no immediate comment from other Israeli leaders, during a Passover holiday period when government business is largely at a standstill and many in the country are on vacation.