Brazil Pledges to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

December 16, 2019

by: Joshua Spurlock

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (left) with PM Netanyahu

Monday, 16 December 2019 | Brazil opened a trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday, and if that move wasn’t enough to re-confirm Brazilian plans to move their embassy to the Holy City, the son of Brazil’s president explicitly reaffirmed those plans at the office’s opening ceremony.

“I was with President Jair Bolsonaro before I came here. He told me that for sure [Brazil will keep] the commitment. He’s going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He’s going to do that,” Eduardo Bolsonaro, himself a Brazilian legislator and Brazilian International Affairs and National Defense Committee chairman, was quoted by an Israeli press release as saying.

“We want to do a movement to Jerusalem, not only for Brazil, but to be an example to the rest of Latin America.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted by the same press release as calling the opening of the Brazilian trade office in Jerusalem “part of something that we have agreed upon in the tightening of relations between Israel and Brazil. And here it’s happening today as part of President Bolsonaro’s commitment to open an embassy in Jerusalem next year.”

The trade office itself is an important movement to bringing the two nations closer together, Netanyahu emphasized.

“The [Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency] office can help Brazil and Israel realize the potential of cooperation between us,” said Netanyahu. “Israel is the most dynamic innovation nation in the world. This is not what I say, but many others who are saying it. The markets are saying it. If we merge the great potentials that our two countries have, we can benefit each other unbelievably.”

In addition to the physical move of the embassy, Eduardo Bolsonaro said on Sunday that he wants his nation to back Israeli interests in the diplomatic arena as well by recognizing the Lebanese Hezbollah group as a terrorist organization. He reminded of his own country’s experience with Hezbollah bombings in the 1990s.

“Sooner or later we are going to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist group, especially after what they did in Argentina, in 92 and 94,” said the Brazilian lawmaker. He also noted that Israel and Brazil would “reach together to fight back against” terrorists. “If you want to avoid a terrorist attack you have to show power,” he said.

Beyond terrorism, Brazil has also backed Israel in international forums, something Netanyahu said he much appreciates.

“President Bolsonaro immediately changed policy and said, ‘We stand with Israel. We stand with the truth,’” said Netanyahu, noting that the Jewish state had supported Brazil in dealing with tragedies such as the fires in the Amazon. “Israel was there, and Israel will always be there for the people of Brazil and for our common friendship,” he said.

While the two countries are growing closer together now and in the future, Netanyahu noted that when he visited Brazil for President Bolsonaro’s inauguration last January, Brazilians showed “unbelievable” friendship toward Israel then too.

“We came and we were so deeply impressed with not only with [President Bolsonaro’s] friendship, and your friendship Eduardo and so many others in your government and in the congress, but also in the friendship with the people…We saw this everywhere, everywhere we went, including in the inauguration itself in Brasília, where crowds were cheering for President Bolsonaro, but those same crowds cheered the prime minister of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“It was very moving for us because we cherish our friends. We have no better friends than the people and the government of Brazil. Know that you have no better friends than the people and the government of Israel.”

Posted on December 16, 2019

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 15, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Alan Santos/PR/wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org