Israeli FM says Brazil’s president is ‘a persona non grata’ for comparisons of Gaza war to Holocaust

‘The comparison between Israel’s just war against Hamas and the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis is a shame.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz, whose parents are Holocaust survivors, invited Brazil’s ambassador to Yad Vashem and declared that Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is a “persona non grata” in Israel.

In front of cameras, Katz explained to Ambassador Federico Mayer at Israel’s Holocaust memorial that his nation’s president is not welcome in Israel.

“We will not forget nor forgive. It is a serious antisemitic attack,” Katz said.

“In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel – tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back,” he continued.

Katz explained, “I brought you to a place that testifies more than anything else to what the Nazis and Hitler did to the Jews, including members of my family.”

“The comparison between Israel’s just war against Hamas, and the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, is a shame,” he concluded.

Afterward, Israel Katz took Federico Mayer on a tour of Yad Vashem and showed him documents recounting the murder of Katz’s family members at the hands of the Nazis.

An official said they believe that Mayer had “internalized the message” of Katz’s remarks and the visit.

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Speaking to journalists at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday Lula claimed that “what’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide.”

“It is not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It is a war between a trained military against women and children,” Lula continued.

He added, “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.”

Later on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized 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.