Brazil’s Lula not welcome in Israel until he retracts Holocaust remarks: Minister

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is not welcome in Israel until he takes back comments likening the war against Hamas militants in Gaza to the Nazi genocide during World War Two, the Israeli foreign minister said on Monday.

“We will not forget nor forgive. It is a serious antisemitic attack. In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel - tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Brazil’s ambassador, according to a statement from Katz’s office.

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Israel has accused Lula of trivializing the Holocaust and causing offence to the Jewish people in remarks to the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa. Katz summoned the Brazilian ambassador to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Monday for a reprimand over the remarks.

The Gaza war began when the Palestinian militant group Hamas sent fighters into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

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Israel’s air and ground offensive has since devastated much of Gaza, killing more than 29,000 people, also mostly civilians according to Palestinian health authorities, and forcing nearly all of its more than 2 million inhabitants from their homes.

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