Socialist Brazil Withdraws Ambassador from Israel

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, during a press conference with Fumio K
Ton Molina/Bloomberg via Getty

Radical leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva officially withdrew Brazil’s ambassador to Israel, Frederico Meyer, on Wednesday, marking a new chapter in already tense relations between the countries.

Lula has issued several statements against Israel over the past eight months following Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 terrorist attack and the start of Israel’s self-defense operations against the jihadist terrorists, accusing Israel and its government of commiting “genocide” through its operations.

In one such comment, issued in February on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Lula compared Israel’s self-defense operations to the actions committed by Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler during the Holocaust.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments. In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” Lula said at the time.

Lula’s remarks — which elicited praise from Hamas — prompted Israel to declare him persona non grata, banning the Brazilian president from visiting Israel until he formally apologizes and retracts his statements. Lula’s top foreign policy advisor Celsor Amorim has insisted that Lula will not issue any kind of apology — arguing Israel should “apologize before humanity.”

Lula responded to his ban by recalling the now-former ambassador Meyer. On Wednesday, Lula officially removed Meyer from his position at the Brazilian embassy in Tel Aviv and designated him the Brazilian envoy to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. Meyer had remained in Brazil since February and reportedly returned to Tel Aviv last week to prepare his transfer to Geneva.

Sources from the Brazilian Foreign Ministry told AFP that the Brazilian government will not immediately designate a new ambassador to Israel and, as a result, its embassy in Tel Aviv will be led by diplomat Fábio Moreira Farias, a charge d’affaires — effectively downgrading the level of the diplomatic relations between the two countries unless a new ambassador is designated.

The Brazilian sources claimed that Meyer had been “humiliated” after he was summoned by the Israeli government to a meeting at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem in February shortly after Lula issued his antisemitic remarks. The source claimed that Meyer was “publicly reprimanded” in Hebrew without a translator present – which, according to the source, contributed to his permanent recall.

Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported on Thursday morning that Israel summoned charge d’affaires Farias to a meeting in Jerusalem, the nation’s capital, where he explained the situation. Israeli authorities reportedly stated that they do not intend to issue an official communiqué or statement on the matter.

A source from the Israeli Foreign Ministry told RFI that the Brazilian diplomat sought to clarify his government’s decision.

“The Chargé d’Affaires presented a diplomatic note stating that the ambassador had been assigned to a new post in Switzerland. So he wasn’t really called back [to Brazil], but transferred,” the source said.

RFI stated that, according to information provided by an unnamed Brazilian Foreign Ministry source, Lula’s decision to not name a new ambassador to Israel “would not” mean that he intends to cut ties with Israel, an action other leftist governments in the region such as Colombia and Bolivia have done.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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