Brazil Calls Ambassador to Israel Home as Row Over President’s Comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany Escalates

‘In my name, and in the name of all Israeli citizens, tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he retracts his statements,’ the Israeli foreign affairs minister says.

AP/Marcelo Chello
The former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, arriving at a polling station at Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 2, 2022. AP/Marcelo Chello

The diplomatic row between Israel and Brazil escalated sharply Monday, with ambassadors being summoned and reprimanded following remarks over the weekend from the Brazilian leader comparing Israel’s war against Hamas to Hitler’s Holocaust during World War II.

President da Silva summoned Brazil’s ambassador to Israel, Frederico Meyer, back to Brazil “for consultations,” according to a statement by Brazil’s foreign ministry. Earlier in the day, Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, reprimanded Mr. Meyer about Mr. da Silva’s comments.

The diplomatic spat comes just one day after Mr. da Silva accused the Jewish state of committing a Holocaust-style genocide at Gaza. He also compared Israel to Nazi Germany. 

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” Mr. da Silva said during a press conference at the African Union summit in Ethiopia on Sunday. “It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children.”

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history,” he continued. “Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

On Monday morning, Mr. Katz brought Mr. Meyer to the famous Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem to reprimand him for Mr. da Silva’s comments and declare that the Israeli people “will not forget and we will not forgive.”

“In my name, and in the name of all Israeli citizens, tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he retracts his statements,” Mr. Katz told the Brazilian ambassador. 

“I brought you to the place that testifies more than anything else to what the Nazis and Hitler did to the Jews, who killed six million of our people, the Jews, including members of my family,” Mr. Katz told Mr. Meyer at Yad Vashem, according to All Israel News.

“The comparison between Israel’s just war against Hamas, and the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, is a shame and disgrace and a serious anti-Semitic attack,” the foreign minister continued.

Brazil is not the first South American or Latin American state to have such a dramatic diplomatic rift with Israel. Bolivia and Belize have severed all ties with the Jewish state, and Chile and Honduras have recalled their ambassadors. Colombia recalled its ambassador citing what President Petro called the “massacre of Palestinian people.”

Correction: Brazil summoned its ambassador to Israel Monday. An earlier version incorrectly characterized the exchange.

The New York Sun

© 2024 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use