Brazil’s president removes ambassador to Israel after Gaza criticism

Photo: Times of Israel

BRASÍLIA — President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil has removed his ambassador to Israel, Frederico Meyer, from his post and reassigned him as his special representative in Geneva amid ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two countries, according to the official gazette published on Wednesday.

The move comes several months after President Lula recalled Meyer to Brazil.

This recall followed an incident in which Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz summoned Meyer to declare Lula persona non grata in Israel.

The diplomatic rift was triggered by Lula’s remarks comparing Israel’s actions in Gaza to the Holocaust.

Meyer had not returned to Israel since his recall and will now serve as Brazil’s special representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva. As of now, no replacement has been appointed to serve as ambassador to Israel. Brazil’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The diplomatic row occurs against the backdrop of Israel’s ongoing conflict with Hamas, the ruling authority in Gaza. The conflict escalated following a cross-border attack by Hamas militants on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and the taking of over 250 hostages, according to Israeli reports. Nearly 130 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Gaza health authorities report that more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war. Israel states its objective is to eliminate the remaining strongholds of Hamas fighters in Rafah and secure the release of the hostages.