An Israeli reprimand to the Brazilian ambassador at Yad Vashem

Lula and biden. Wikipedia, Palácio do Planalto

In the past two days, a small diplomatic crisis has developed between Brazil and Israel, a backdrop of the war in Gaza. Brazilian President Louise “Lola” da Silva held a press conference in Addis Ababa on Monday against Israel’s conduct in the war, and provided a particularly outrageous comparison: “What is happening in the Gaza Strip is not war, but genocide… What is happening in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian people has not happened at any other time in history. In fact, it has happened before: When Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

The president’s remarks do not come in a vacuum, and are not surprising in essence, but only in their extremism – because in recent years Israel has become a political issue in Brazil. Jair Bolsenaro, the previous president, was known for his fondness of Israel (which was expressed in the waving of many Israeli flags by his supporters); Brazilian politics was polarized, and since then the tables have turned, and Lula came out of prison and returned to the presidency while Bolsenaro was ousted from the political arena. Even during his previous presidency, Lola was not very nice to Israel – and much less today. In addition, Lula made his remarks during a visit to the African Congress, and they are meant to be heard by the Third World, whose loathing for Israel has long since become a unifying factor. The bottom line is that the president’s words should not be seen as representing the opinion of the majority of the Brazilian public.

In any case, in Israel, the extreme and inciting remarks of the Brazilian president were seen with great severity. “This is an contempt of the Holocaust and an attempt to harm the Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself,” Netanyahu said, defining the comparison between Israel and Germany as “crossing a red line.” Danny Dayan, Yad Vashem Chairman and National Director of Holocaust Heritage, defined the president’s remarks as clearly anti-Semitic. Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz summoned the Brazilian ambassador to a reprimand call, which did not take place in his office but in the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Museum. “The words spoken by the President of Brazil… They are a disgrace and a serious anti-Semitic attack… I would like to tell the president, on my behalf and on behalf of the State of Israel, that we will not forgive him, and he is an undesirable person in Israel as long as he does not back down and apologize.”

Declaring of a leader of a foreign country, especially of a large and important country like Brazil, as an undesirable personality, is not trivial. Lula was insulted, returned the Brazilian ambassador to his country, and summoned the Israeli ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Zohar-Sonstein, to a reprimand call. But a diplomatic crisis is a small price for standing up for our principles, our right to self-defense and the history of our people. It is good to see the State of Israel stand for these values.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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