JPOST: Brazilian MPs challenge president, visit Israel on solidarity mission

JPOST - In a bold display of opposition to their president, a group of Brazilian lawmakers arrived on Wednesday in Israel on a solidarity mission.

Hosted by the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), this is the first high-level Latin American delegation since the October 7 massacre. They will stay in the country until Saturday night.

"We want to make it clear to the people of Israel that we do not agree with the recent statements made by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in his view of the State of Israel and the Hamas terrorist group," said chief of mission Sen. Carlos Viana, who is also president of the Brazil-Israel Parliamentary Group.

"We assert that Israel has the right to defend itself, to position itself, and to exist," he said.

Silva has slammed Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip as "genocide." He also accused US President Joe Biden of being "insensitive" for not putting a stop to the war.

Majority of Brazil's population supports Israel

The president's comments are in contrast to the Brazilian majority; surveys show that 75% of Brazilians, mostly Christians, are in favor of Israel.

The IAF said that the representatives' goals are to boost the relationship between Brazil's Congress and the Israeli government, and to return to their home country with the ability to inform their government about the situation in Israel.

Brazilian Members of Congress joining the delegation include Viana, Sen. Alexandre Giordano, Deputy Carla Zambelli, and Deputy Sargento Gonçalves.

They will participate in several meetings at the Knesset, including one held on Wednesday with Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana and the head of the Israel-Brazil Parliamentary Friendship Group, Moshe Saada.

The delegation will also tour the Gaza Strip border towns to visit the sites of the October 7 attacks, as well as visiting Yad Vashem.

"This show of solidarity from Brazilian Members of Congress reflects the importance of faith-based diplomacy," said IAF president Josh Reinstein. "It is an honor to host the delegation, and we are confident that this critical visit will strengthen the alliance between our two countries."

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