Brazil, in conflict with Israel, shows the limits of US diplomacy

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The Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenaddressed the President of Brazil on Wednesday, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for his recent scathing comments about Israel, including the Brazilian leader’s comparison of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust.

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The clash highlighted that the Gaza war has become a larger diplomatic issue for the United States and that the growing death toll has led more countries to speak out against the Israeli offensive.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Galeao Air Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Silvia Izquierdo/Piscina/AFP)US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Galeao Air Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Silvia Izquierdo/Piscina/AFP)

A growing dispute between Brazil and Israel has erupted this week over Lula’s comments on Sunday that the only comparison to Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza is “when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

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It was a significant escalation of his previous rhetoric.

Since then, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahusaid Lula “crossed the red line”, the Israeli Foreign Minister called the Brazilian ambassador to the Holocaust museum and berated him in front of the media, and the official Israeli account on X, formerly known as Twitter, he said Lula “did like Holocaust denier“.

Brazil responded by calling its ambassador to Israel for consultations and, according to Brazilian media, he spoke expel to the Israeli ambassador to Brazil if the situation worsens.

lIn a 90-minute meeting in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, Blinken had a “frank exchange” with Lula, in which he expressed his disagreement with the Brazilian leader’s recent statements and said the United States was trying to gain the release of hostages held by Hamas and the promulgation of prolonged humanitarian pausesaccording to a senior US State Department official.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity during the secretary’s flight to Rio de Janeiro.

Blinken is in Brazil to attend a conference of the Group of 20 Foreign Ministers.

Celsus AmorimLula’s top foreign policy advisor, who attended the meeting, said it was a respectful conversation about two different points of view on the war.

“Secretary Blinken explained the U.S. position in Gaza,” he said.

“President Lula reiterated his shock and horror at the massacre that took place there, reiterating that he strongly condemns what Hamas has done.”

It was a brief conversation at the end of the meeting, Amorim said, and Blinken opened the topic by talking about how his stepfather, Samuel Pisar, survived the Holocaust.

“We believe there was a genocide in Gaza,” Amorim said.

U.S. officials disagree, but Amorim said there has been no debate on the issue.

Officials from both countries said both sides agreed on the goal of ending the conflict as soon as possible.

However, Blinken stressed that this must be done under conditions that prevent Hamas from carrying out another October 7-style attack and ending the long cycle of violence.

The fact that the war between Israel and Hamas has become a point of friction in the Biden administration’s relationship with one of Latin America’s most influential nations, considered a leading voice in the region, illustrates how the conflict is overshadowed American diplomacy in the world. world.

The countries of the ban South of the world, including American partners, have publicly opposed US policy since last fall and called for a ceasefire in the war.

Such calls grew louder as the massive civilian death toll mounted over the winter:

There are currently around 30,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, most of them civilians, according to local Health Ministry officials.

The Hamas-led attack on October 7 killed around 1,200 Israelis, most of them civilians.

Diplomatic measures

Lula’s recent firing of Brazil’s ambassador to Israel follows similar moves by other nations in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, including Turkey, Jordan, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia and South Africa.

Brazil and South Africa have become two of the war’s staunchest opponents, showing that there is now little support for Israel among the group of developing countries. BRICS, which is emerging as a major diplomatic and economic power.

Among other major BRICS nations, China and Russia played both sides in the war, while India tried to remain neutral.

The United States has repeatedly stood up to its allies at the United Nations and in The Hague over the war between Israel and Hamas.

In October, the United States vetoed Brazil’s proposed resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for humanitarian access and protection of civilians in Gaza, as well as the immediate release of Israeli hostages.

U.S. officials said they vetoed the measure in part because it did not mention Israel’s right to self-defense.

The United States on Tuesday vetoed another Security Council resolution submitted by Algeria on behalf of the Arab states calling for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

The United States said the resolution would jeopardize negotiations to free the Israeli hostages.

Thousands of kilometers from the meeting between Blinken and Lula in Brasilia, the United States and Brazil faced each other in the match International Court of Justice in The Hague.

On Wednesday, the United States asked the court not to require Israel’s immediate withdrawal from Gaza, saying Israel faces “very real security needs.”

The day before, Brazil had argued otherwise in court.

The United States also rejected South Africa’s case in court accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza, a case Brazil supported. Israel denies the accusations.

The court issued an initial ruling last month saying Israel must take steps to avoid committing genocide, although it did not ask the Israeli army to halt its campaign.

Aside from the discussion on the war in Gaza, the meeting between Blinken and Lula was mostly friendly, with the two sides discussing ways to work together on challenges in Venezuela and Haiti and deepen cooperation on supply chains, on workers’ human rights and the environment. , according to officials.

“It was a conversation characterized by a lot of convergence and respect,” Amorim said.

“It’s a visit that strengthened our friendship.”

c.2024 The New York Times Company

Source: Clarin

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