Daily Review: Brazil’s Lula Compares Israel’s Actions to Holocaust

Daily Review: Brazil’s Lula Compares Israel’s Actions to Holocaust
Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a meeting with youth activists at the U.N. COP27 Climate Summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 17, 2022 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

Tensions have escalated between Brazil and Israel in recent days after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva compared Israel’s military campaign in Gaza to the Holocaust. Israel’s foreign minister yesterday reprimanded Brazil’s ambassador to Israel, Frederico Meyer, for the comments and said Lula is not welcome in Israel until he takes them back, prompting Lula to recall Meyer. (New York Times)

Our Take

The diplomatic row is just the latest example of how reactions among leftist leaders in Latin America to the Israel-Hamas war, which initially varied, have changed over time. In the days after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, when Israel’s air campaign in Gaza had already begun to cause massive civilian casualties, leftist leaders in the region struggled to formulate their responses. Some, like Chilean President Gabriel Boric, were criticized for being too cautious and vague in their equivocal condemnations of violence against civilians, while others, like Colombian President Gustavo Petro, were criticized for being too unequivocal in criticizing only Israel.

Since then, though, a consensus has crystallized among Latin America’s left in opposition to Israel’s disproportionate military operations in Gaza. Lula, who initially expressed some sympathy for Israel, was one of the quickest to shift gears, publicly calling Israel’s actions in Gaza a genocide by the end of October.

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