Brazil Recalls Ambassador to Israel

According to Brazilian state media, Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Israel, in part due to Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza, as well as in response to the “humiliation” of Brazil’s ambassador by the Israeli foreign minister. Brazil has been one of many nations critical of Israel’s war in Gaza, particularly in regards to civilian casualties.

Diplomatic Tensions

The relationship between Brazil and Israel has been tense since soon after the beginning of the war between Israel and Gaza’s militants, as the reported civilian casualties quickly rose. However, relations took a much deeper dive in February, when Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva compared the situation in Gaza, and Israel’s actions, to the Holocaust.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip and to the Palestinian people hasn’t been seen in any other moment in history. Actually, it did when Hitler decided to kill the Jews” -Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in February of 2024

The statement received strong criticism from Israel. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, summoned Brazil’s ambassador to Israel, Frederico Meyer, to Israel’s national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, in order to publicly reprimand him.

According to sources within Brazil’s foreign ministry, the recalling of Brazil’s ambassador is in response to this incident, described as the “humiliation” of the ambassador.

Israel’s foreign ministry has stated they’ve received no official notification of the move from Brazil’s government, however has summoned Brazil’s charge d’affaires to the office of the foreign ministry for Thursday, May 30th, in order to hold a meeting on the matter.

Notably, while Brazil’s ambassador has been recalled, they have not closed the embassy, and instead has placed their charge d’aiffaires as the temporary head of Brazil’s embassy. While certainly a diplomatic and relational hit, the removal of the ambassador falls short of a total cessation of relations as several other countries, including Colombia earlier this month, have done. Colombian President Gustavo Petro has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza, and has also compared Israel’s actions and statements to those perpetrated and said by Nazi Germany.

Notably, Brazil’s embassy is in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

“Any appointment of a new Brazilian ambassador to Israel will be announced in due course in a press release. For the time being, the Brazilian Embassy in Tel Aviv continues to function under the leadership of the chargé d’affaires” -Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a separate statement, also welcomed the official recognition of a Palestinian state by Ireland, Spain, and Norway. The three nations announced their recognition of Palestine last week, which became official on May 28th.

Brazil, who recognized Palestine in 2010, urged other nations to follow suit in the recognition, in support of a two state solution.

“By urging all other countries that have not yet done so to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, Brazil reaffirms its defense of the two-state solution, with an independent and viable state of Palestine living side by side with Israel, in peace and security” -The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Israel extensively criticized the recognition of Palestine by Ireland, Spain, and Norway, and recalled their ambassadors from the three nations. Foreign Minister Katz claimed the recognition was a “reward” to Hamas and Iran, and that it only served to “send a message to the Palestinians and the world: Terrorism pays.”

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.


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