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Brazilian Jewish Leaders Protest Ahmadinejad's Upcoming Visit

Brazil’s Jewish communities are voicing opposition to the upcoming visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/14/2012, 12:13 AM

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

Representatives of Brazil’s Jewish communities are voicing their opposition to the upcoming meeting between their president, Dilma Rousseff, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his visit to Brazil next week.

Ahmadinejad will be traveling to Brazil for Rio +20, a United Nations summit that seeks to “shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet,” according to the event’s website.

A delegation of members from the umbrella organization of Brazil’s Jewish communities, Confederação Israelita do Brasil (CONIB) stated their request during a meeting last week with the country’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota.

“Ahmadinejad is arriving to Brazil at the invitation of the U.N., not the Brazilian government,” said Ricardo Berkiensztat, executive vice president of the Sao Paolo Jewish community.

Walter Feldman, a Brazilian congressman, asserted that Ahmadinejad is a “danger to Brazil and South America” and noted his opposition to the Iranian leader’s entry into the country.

CONIB and other Jewish organizations are planning protest rallies against Ahmadinejad’s arrival in several cities across Brazil for June 17.