Brazil recalls its ambassador to Israel after criticizing the war in Gaza

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a ministerial meeting at the presidential palace in Brasilia.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at a ministerial meeting in Brasilia on May 13.
(Eraldo Peres / Associated Press)

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva withdrew his country’s ambassador to Israel on Wednesday after months of tensions between the two countries over the war in Gaza.

The move was announced in Brazil’s official gazette.

Lula has been a frequent critic of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which he compared to the Holocaust earlier this year. That led Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to summon the Brazilian ambassador to the national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem for a public reprimand.

The removal of Brazil’s Ambassador Frederico Meyer comes in response to that humiliating action by the top Israeli diplomat, according to a person at Brazil’s foreign ministry with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.


Meyer has been transferred to Geneva and will join Brazil’s permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organizations.

Israel criticizes Bolivia, Chile and Colombia over the three countries’ diplomatic moves to protest Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Nov. 1, 2023

The latest war in Gaza, now in its eighth month, began when the Palestinian militant group Hamas burst into southern Israel in a surprise attack on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 civilians and taking around 250 hostage.

Israel’s offensive in response to that attack has killed at least 36,096 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its count. Israel says it has killed 13,000 militants.

In February, Lula said that “what is happening in the Gaza Strip and to the Palestinian people hasn’t been seen in any other moment in history. Actually, it did when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Israel says its war in Gaza is a defensive action triggered by Hamas’ unprecedented assault and rejects any comparisons of its offensive to the Holocaust.

Hughes and Biller write for the Associated Press.