Brazil’s President Lula Recalls Ambassador to Israel, Escalating Dispute

Brazil’s President Lula Recalls Ambassador to Israel, Escalating Dispute

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President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil recalled his ambassador to Israel on Monday, as tensions escalated between the countries over the Brazilian leader’s sharp remarks against Israel’s war on Hamas.

Mr. Lula summoned the ambassador, Frederico Meyer, back to Brazil “for consultations,” according to a statement from the country’s foreign ministry.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, reprimanded Mr. Meyer on Monday about comments in which Mr. Lula compared Israel’s actions in the war to the Holocaust.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments,” Mr. Lula told reporters during the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, on Sunday. But, he then added, “it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Also on Monday, Mr. Katz said Mr. Lula was not welcome in the country until he takes back his remarks.

Citing “the seriousness” of statements made by Israeli officials, Brazil’s foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, also summoned the Israeli ambassador for a meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, according to the statement.

Mr. Lula’s recall of his envoy does not represent a permanent rupture in diplomatic relations, as Brazil’s Embassy in Israel will remain open. But the discord does highlight a growing rift between Israel and countries that have been reluctant to align themselves in support of its military action in Gaza, most notably South Africa and Brazil.

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