Tens of Thousands of Brazilians, Many Waving Israeli Flags, Rally To Support Bolsonaro and Reject Lula’s Antisemitism

Bolsonaro had his passport seized as Brazilian authorities investigate his attempts to remain in power after losing the 2022 election.

AP/Andre Penner
Followers of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rally Sunday at Sao Paulo. AP/Andre Penner

The president of Brazil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, is defending his assertion that Israel is committing a Holocaust-style genocide against Palestinian Arabs at Gaza, saying that his own imprisonment could not break his will, and neither will criticism from Israeli and other foreign officials.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of Brazilians who are supportive of Mr. da Silva’s impeachment took to the streets of São Paulo. Many waved Israeli flags during their show of support for a former Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who had his passport seized as Brazilian authorities investigate his attempts to remain in power after losing the 2022 election. 

Mr. Bolsonaro draped himself in the Israeli flag as a sign of rejection of Mr. da Silva’s comments during an African Union meeting, during which he said that Israel was guilty of committing a Holocaust against Palestinian Arabs. He described the war as a battle between Israel’s “highly prepared army” and the “women and children” of Gaza. 

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history,” Mr. da Silva, a long-time leader of Brazil’s left-wing party, added. “Actually, it has happened — when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

On Saturday, Mr. da Silva doubled down, defending his original comments despite strong pushback from Israeli officials. 

“In the same way that I said when I was in prison that I would not accept a deal to get out of jail and that I would not exchange my freedom for my dignity, I say: I will not exchange my dignity for falsehood,” he wrote on X, defending his characterization of Israel’s war against Hamas as a genocide at Gaza. 

“I am in favor of the creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian State,” he continued. “May this Palestinian State live in harmony with the State of Israel. What the Israeli government is doing is not war, it is genocide. Children and women are being murdered. Don’t try to interpret the interview I gave. Read the interview and stop judging me based on the speech of the Prime Minister of Israel.”

After Mr. da Silva’s Holocaust remarks earlier this month, Prime Minister Netanyahu came out to call the characterization “disgraceful and grave.”

“This is a trivialisation of the Holocaust and an attempt to attack the Jewish people and the right of Israel to self-defense,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Drawing comparisons between Israel and the Nazis and Hitler is to cross a red line.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s foreign minister later called the Brazilian ambassador in Israel to Yad Vashem, the famous Holocaust memorial and museum, where he was reprimanded by the minister. 

The following day, Mr. da Silva’s ambassador was recalled to Brasilia “for consultations,” the Brazilian foreign ministry said.

The New York Sun

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