Opposition seeks to impeach Lula over ‘hostile’ Holocaust analogy

The impeachment request, led by deputy Carla Zambelli, of the Liberal Party (PL), has received the support of at least 90 deputies.

In a context of growing diplomatic tension between Brazil and Israel, the Brazilian opposition has presented a request for impeachment against President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

This movement comes after controversial statements by Lula, who compared Israel’s attacks in the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust, unleashing a strong response from the Israeli government.

The impeachment request, led by deputy Carla Zambelli, of the Liberal Party (PL), has received the support of at least 90 deputies, including 20 from parties allied to the government, according to O Globo.

Although the ruling party does not have a majority in the chambers of Congress, it is unlikely that the impeachment request will advance: Lula has already been the protagonist of several impeachment attempts since he took office in January 2023.

The initiative focuses on the consideration of Lula’s statements as “an act of hostility against a foreign nation”, alluding to a possible risk of compromising the neutrality or national security of Brazil. “This request is not bravado against Lula… it is an action in defense of national security,” Zambelli stated on her social networks, reflecting the seriousness with which some sectors perceive the incident.

Additionally, a proposed motion of repudiation was presented against the Brazilian president, signed by 53 deputies and led by deputy Júlia Zanatta, also from the PL.

The controversy arose following a statement by Lula during a press conference in Ethiopia, where he compared the situation in the Gaza Strip with the acts committed by Hitler: “What is happening in the Gaza Strip, with the Palestinian people, It did not exist at any other historical moment. In fact, it existed when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Israel’s response was immediate. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Israel Katz strongly condemned Lula’s statements, going so far as to declare the Brazilian president “persona non grata” until he retracts his words.

This situation escalated to affect diplomatic relations, evidenced in the treatment of the Brazilian ambassador to Israel, summoned to the Holocaust Museum instead of the Foreign Ministry, a move interpreted as lacking diplomacy on the part of Brazil.

The Brazilian government, through Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira and first lady Rosângela da Silva, has defended the president’s position, emphasizing that his comments were directed at actions of the Israeli government, not at the Jewish people.

“The speech referred to the genocidal government and not the Jewish people. Let us be honest in our analyses,” the first lady published on platform X, reiterating Brazil’s commitment to constructive criticism without the intention of antagonizing the Jewish people.

Meanwhile, the scenario in the Brazilian Congress becomes even more complicated for Lula, who currently does not have a majority. The presentation of the impeachment request adds a layer of political tension at a time already burdened by the international ramifications of his comments.

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