Brazil-Israel Diplomatic Tensions Escalate as FM Criticizes Israel’s Response to President’s Comments

By Yoni Weiss

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva addresses the opening of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union at the African Union Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Feb. 17. (REUTERS/Stringer)

The diplomatic dispute between Brazil and Israel continued into its third day on Tuesday night, with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira criticizing Israel’s reaction to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s comments on the Gaza Strip as “unacceptable” and “untruthful.”

After Lula likened Israel’s actions in Gaza to Hitler’s treatment of Jews on Sunday, Israel declared on Monday that Lula is not welcome in the country until he retracts his statements. Responding to Israel’s stance, Vieira stated at the G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro that addressing a head of state from a friendly country in such a manner is unusual and revolting. He described Israel’s diplomacy as a “shameful page in history” and accused Israel of using the situation as a smokescreen to conceal events in Gaza.

The Israeli government has not yet responded to Vieira’s remarks, and Brazil has affirmed that it has no intention of retracting Lula’s comments.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz previously condemned Lula’s remarks as a “serious antisemitic attack” and declared Lula “persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back.”

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