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Daphne Klajman

Gaza Crisis: Lula’s Troubling Support for South Africa

Brazilian President Lula declares on the 10th of January, his support for the South African motion against Israel in the International Court of Justice. In a shameful proclamation, Lula singles out Israel in his condemnation of genocide and responsibility for civilian casualties in the current crisis in Gaza.

I, a proud Brazilian Jew, do not stand by my president’s position or words against the Jewish State. Let’s revise some facts that failed to be mentioned in his statement, which can provide a clearer picture of why Israel is falsely accused of crimes Hamas is guilty of.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, evacuating all its citizens and military presence from the Strip. Evidence of this includes, for instance, the kilometres of terror tunnels, which could only be constructed in the absence of Israeli intelligence. After the disengagement, Gaza could have become a perfect example of two states coexisting peacefully side by side, like Dubai and Doha, a true paradise in the Mediterranean next to its Jewish neighbours. Evidently, that did not happen.

The population elected an Islamist government as its representative, and the trillions of dollars sent to aid the people were diverted to invest in the violent institutionalization of anti-Semitism through education, weapons, terror tunnels, and jihadist training camps for children — culminating in a horrific attack against the Jewish people, and the largest since the Holocaust.

Until October 2023, Israel respected the border and independence of Gaza. No Jew or Israeli voluntarily set foot on that territory or by military order. There was no “occupation” in Gaza; this is also a fact. However, everything on the 7th as Hamas invaded Israeli territory and massacred 1,200 civilians using methods more brutal than those observed in concentration camps.

Anyone who denies, justifies, or minimizes the atrocities of that day is engaging in an act akin to Holocaust denial.

The shameful support of President Lula for South Africa’s demand for condemnation in the International Court of Justice is a denial of Israel’s right to defend itself against a group that invaded its territory with a single goal: to kill as many Jews as possible, including babies, women, men, and even pets.

We should indeed condemn the death of civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian. However, genocide is a term defined with clear intentions and does not apply to Israeli military actions in Gaza. The number of civilians killed does not determine whether a population is a victim of genocide. Statistics on deaths released by entities controlled by Hamas ignore non-uniformed combatants and are untruthful.

The citizens of Gaza are oppressed and subjugated by terrorists who camouflage themselves among civilians, using them as human shields. For Hamas, the Palestinian people are disposable tools in their jihadist mission.

The Brazilian president, in aligning himself with South Africa, seems to be defending not the rights of the Palestinian people but rather of a terrorist group whose declared intention is the extermination of the Jewish people by any means necessary.

Lula also fails to mention the Brazilians murdered by Hamas, as well as those still in captivity, such as Michel Nisenbaum from Rio de Janeiro, who remains among the hostages in Gaza. Hostages who have been victims of torture and sexual violence without access to the Red Cross, UN, or other humanitarian organizations.

Antisemitism must be recognized and condemned in all political spheres. It is easy and convenient to acknowledge it on the right, but ignoring it on the left and progressive spaces renders any previous condemnation irrelevant.

President Lula’s support for South Africa at the International Court of Justice demonizes the State of Israel and is antisemitic, according to the IHRA definition. His statement fails to condemn Hamas, singles out Israel as the driving force of evil, and pushes for a cease-fire between a State defending itself against a group that will not stop until the other side is dead.

A ceasefire means dead Jews, it means dead Palestinians, and in the very best case scenario, the upkeep of a status quo that led to October 7th in the first place. Peace will not be possible until Hamas is defeated, and those who stand against Israel, like President Lula, are stepping on the bodies of dead Jews waving their arms comfortably from the West as they beg Hamas for more.

About the Author
Daphne Klajman holds a Masters’s Degree in Conflict Studies and Diplomacy from Reichmann University, Herzliya, Israel.
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