‘Victory for Palestine’: Anti-Israel candidate wins Brazil election, defeats friend of Jewish state

Enemies of Israel are celebrating the victory of Brazil’s president-elect Lula da Silva; “He’s our friend.”

By World Israel News Staff 

Michelle Bolsonaro, an evangelical Christian and wife of Jair Bolsonaro, who lost the country’s national election Sunday night, wore a T-shirt with an Israeli flag when she cast her ballot in the country’s presidential elections on Sunday.

Her husband, who was leading through the first half of the count, was narrowly defeated, however, winning 49.1 of the vote while his opponent Lula da Silva, a former president, got 50.9%.

For da Silva, the high-stakes election was a stunning comeback. His imprisonment for corruption sidelined him from the 2018 election won by Bolsonaro.

This was the country’s tightest election since its return to democracy in 1985, and the first time that a sitting president failed to win reelection. Just over 2 million votes separated the two candidates; the previous closest race, in 2014, was decided by a margin of roughly 3.5 million votes.

Da Silva’s win extended a wave of recent leftist triumphs across the region, including Chile, where student leader Gabriel Boric, who is vehemently anti-Israel, won the presidential election in December 2021.

Throughout the campaign, anti-Israel activists were rooting for da Silva. A headline in the Argentina-based El American, for example, published a piece in June that was headlined, “Hamas backs Brazil’s Lula da Silva: ‘He’s our friend and we want him back.”

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Middle East Monitor (MEM) on Friday published an interview with da Silva, titled, “A victory for Lula in Brazil, is a victory for Palestine.”

“During a visit to the West Bank in 2010, Lula talked of his dream to see “‘an independent and free Palestine,'” the article noted.

Later that year, it continued, “he recognized ‘Palestine’ as an independent state within its 1967 borders” – although there never was a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 Six-Day War territories then belonging to Jordan (Judea and Samaria, aka ‘West Bank’), Egypt (Gaza and Sinai) and Syria (Golan Heights).

In a separate report, MEM reported that Da Silva met with members of the Palestinian community in Brazil at Plaza Sao Rafael hotel in June dressed in a keffiyeh.

Biden congratulates da Silva

The Brazilian president-elect will inherit a nation straining against itself after he is inaugurated on Jan. 1, said Thomas Traumann, an independent political analyst who compared Sunday’s results to U.S. President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

“The huge challenge that Lula has will be to pacify the country,” he said. “People are not only polarized on political matters, but also have different values, identity and opinions. What’s more, they don’t care what the other side’s values, identities and opinions are.”

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Among world leaders offering congratulations on Sunday night was Biden, who in a statement highlighted the country’s “free, fair, and credible elections.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.