TEL AVIV – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff likened attempts to impeach her to the Nazi treatment of Jews on Thursday.
“Recently, a person told me it is very similar to Nazism,” she said of the campaign to impeach her over corruption charges. “First, you put a star on someone’s chest and say, ‘He is a Jew.’ Then you put him in a concentration camp. Such intolerance cannot happen in our government.”
Israel’s honorary consul in Rio de Janeiro, Osias Wurman, objected to the comparison, calling it “miserable” and stating, “no segment of Brazilian society deserves this type of Nazi comparison,” JTA reported.
Mauro Wainstock, editor of Rio’s Jewish newspaper Alef News, wrote Friday, “Comparing peaceful democratic rallies to the Nazi genocidal machine is an unfortunate and ridiculously absurd insult to all the victims and their families.”
In another reference to fascism, Rousseff said that Brazilians have never before “had such a fascist side” as today. She was commenting on the case of a child who was reportedly denied medical assistance by a doctor because their mother supported Rousseff’s Workers Party.
The attempts to impeach Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured when the country was ruled by a dictatorship, occur at a time when Brazil is fraught with social unrest and its worst recession in 100 years.
Last month, millions gathered in the streets of Sao Paulo, Rio, and other major cities to demand Rousseff’s removal from office. Meanwhile supporters from her base also rallied in 75 cities to protest the impeachment calls.