Brazil withdraws ambassador to Israel after criticising Gaza war

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been a frequent critic of Israel’s offensive in Gaza

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. AP
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Brazil withdrew its ambassador to Israel on Wednesday after months of tension between the two countries over the war in Gaza, the latest move from a South American nation in response to Israel's military campaign.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been a frequent critic of Israel’s war on Gaza, which he has compared to the Holocaust.

That led Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to summon the Brazilian ambassador, Frederico Meyer, to the national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem for a public reprimand. Mr Meyer has not returned to Israel since then.

He is now Brazil's special representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva.

A new Brazilian ambassador to Israel will be announced in due course, Brazil's Foreign Relations Ministry said in a statement, adding that for the time being its embassy in Tel Aviv will be led by its charge d'affaires.

A pro-Israel group, the Israeli Confederation of Brazil, said on social media that it “regretted” the move by Brazil.

“The Brazilian government’s unilateral measure moves us away from the Brazilian diplomatic tradition of balance and seeking dialogue, and prevents Brazil from exercising its desired role as mediator and protagonist in the Middle East,” it said.

Other Latin American countries have taken action against Israel since it launched its war on the enclave after the October 7 attack.

The International Court of Justice announced on Tuesday that Mexico filed a “declaration of intervention” in the case brought by South Africa, which accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza.

Updated: May 30, 2024, 10:32 AM