Israel declares Brazil’s president persona non grata after comparing Gaza war to ‘Hitler’s genocide’

JERUSALEM- Israel on Monday declared Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva persona non grata after describing the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip as a “genocide.”

“In my name and in the name of the citizens of the State of Israel – inform President Lula that he is an unwanted personality in Israel until he does not retract,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Brazil’s Ambassador Federico Mayer after he was summoned for reprimand.

Katz said Israel “will not forget and we will not forgive” until the president expresses contrition for his words, according to a statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“The comparison between Israel’s just war against Hamas, and the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis, is a shame and disgrace and a serious anti-Semitic attack,” Katz claimed.

On Sunday, da Silva accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza and compared Tel Aviv’s war on the Palestinian enclave to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s actions against the Jews.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” da Silva told reporters in Addis Ababa, where he attended an African Union summit.

“It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children,” 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,” he remarked.

Israel decried da Silva’s statements, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the Brazilian president “crossed a red line.”

According to Israeli public broadcaster KAN, da Silva recalled his ambassador from Israel for talks amid a crisis between the two countries.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a Hamas attack on Oct. 7. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed nearly 29,092 and injured about 69,028 with mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

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