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Netanyahu: Brazil’s Lula ‘shameful’ for likening Israel to Nazis in Gaza war

"Israel fights for its defense and securing its future until complete victory and it does so while upholding international law," said Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference in Jerusalem, Feb. 17, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference in Jerusalem, Feb. 17, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed Brazil’s president for comparing the Israel Defense Forces’ operation against Hamas in Gaza to the Nazis’ mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust, saying Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s remark “crosses a red line.”

“The words of the president of Brazil are shameful and alarming. This is about trivializing the Holocaust and trying to harm the Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself,” Netanyahu’s office said.

“Israel fights for its defense and securing its future until complete victory and it does so while upholding international law,” the premier stated, adding that he consulted with Foreign Minister Israel Katz and decided to summon the Brazilian ambassador for a “stern reprimand.”

Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the 37th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier on Sunday, Lula claimed that “what’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” added the far-left president.

The Brazilian envoy has been called to the foreign ministry in Jerusalem for a reprimand on Monday, Katz tweeted on Sunday afternoon, vowing to let “no one” harm the Jewish state’s right to self-defense.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Lula “supports a genocidal terrorist organization—Hamas—and in doing so brings great shame to his people, and violates the values of the free world.”

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir noted that while Lula’s words are “despicable,” they are “not surprising at all when it comes to a corrupt president, a passionate supporter of the [anti-Israel] BDS movement, whom Hamas regards as a good friend.”

Lula has been highly critical of Israel, slamming late last year what he called “the insanity of the prime minister of Israel [in] wanting to destroy the Gaza Strip but forgetting that there aren’t just Hamas soldiers there but also women and children who are the big victims of this war.”

Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia have in recent years elected far-left leaders.

In November, Bolivia announced it was severing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state over the war against Hamas, while Chile and Colombia have recalled their ambassadors.

Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and wounded thousands more during the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 invasion of the northwestern Negev. The Islamist group also took 253 hostages from Israel, 134 of whom remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip.

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