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Brazil’s New Leader Ousts Israel Envoy

January 12, 2023

by: Itamar Eichner ~ Ynet

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Pictured with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Kotel during an official visit, Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, was a strong supporter of Israel.

Thursday, 12 January 2023 | Brazil’s ambassador to Israel General Gerson Menandro Garcia de Freitas was booted from his post on Tuesday in one of the first moves by the Latin American country’s newly minted President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva since taking office.

Menandro was appointed by Lula’s right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro as a political appointee in early 2021. Now his removal might indicate a shift in policy toward Israel.

During Bolsonaro’s term, Brazil bucked its traditional voting patterns and supported Israel in international institutions, contrary to the traditional position of the country’s foreign ministry.

New Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira stated upon the establishment of the new government that under Lula’s left-wing government, which took office at the beginning of the month, Brazil “will cooperate with Arab countries, primarily Palestine.” In addition, Brazil also removed its ambassador in Washington.

Bolsonaro appointed General Menandro in a bid to deepen military ties with Israel. He then also stated his intention to move the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that did not materialize due to pressure from Arab countries. Brazil opened a trade office in the capital instead.

Shortly before leaving office, Israeli foreign ministry officials managed to convince Bolsonaro to pressure the Brazilian foreign ministry so that the country’s representatives at the United Nations would not vote in favor of the Palestinians’ proposal to receive an opinion from the International Court of Justice [ICJ] in The Hague regarding the “legality of the occupation.” Brazil ended up abstaining.

In 2014, Brazil recalled its ambassador in protest of Israel’s war with Gaza Strip terrorist factions. Then-Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff called Israel’s action in Gaza “disproportionate”.

The Israeli foreign ministry responded with choice words, accusing Brazil of “adopting a double standard” and “becoming part of the problem” while calling it “irrelevant in the political arena.”

In 2016, Brasília refused to approve Israel’s appointment of Danny Dayan as ambassador to the country because he resided in a settlement [Jewish community in Judea and Samaria] and was a former leader of a powerful settler lobby.

Posted on January 12, 2023

Source: (Excerpt from article originally published by Ynetnews on January 11, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Alan Santos/PR/

Photo License: Wikimedia

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