Nuevo Culture

Brazil-Israel Dispute Escalates After President Lula’s Latest Comments — Here’s What He Said

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recalled the country’s ambassador to Israel after comparing the country’s military incursion in Gaza to the Holocaust. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed by calling the comments “disgraceful and grave.”

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” da Silva said on Sunday (February 18) during an African Union summit.

In response, the office of the Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that the Brazilian President would not be welcome in the country until he took back his comments. 

“We will not forget nor forgive. It is a serious anti-Semitic attack. In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel, tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back.” Katz said.

The President’s words caused Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mauro Vieira to summon Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Zonshine, for a meeting in Rio de Janeiro. He also recalled the Brazilian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Frederico Meyer, back to Brazil for consultations.

Da Silva expressed his “repudiation of terrorism in any of its forms,” adding that Brazil would make all efforts to avoid any escalation. Those comments came on October 7th, the same day as the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel. On that day, da Silva also called “on the international community to work to immediately resume negotiations that lead to a solution to the conflict.”

Since, however, Brazil has endorsed South Africa’s genocide case brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice, and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been increasingly critical of what he has called “a war between a highly prepared army and women and children.”