Ronald S. Lauder, World Jewish Congress President
Ronald S. Lauder, World Jewish Congress PresidentShahar Azran/WJC

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder on Tuesday issued a forceful condemnation of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva's comparison of Israel's actions in Gaza to those of Nazi Germany and accusing Israel of genocide.

"The allegations by President Lula are not only historically inaccurate but dangerously blur the lines of antisemitism. Such comparisons are not just a distortion of reality but are profoundly disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust and the October 7th massacre," stated Lauder.

“Israel's military engagement is a legitimate act of self-defense against Hamas, a recognized terrorist group,” he added.

“With antisemitism surging across the world, it is particularly important that political leaders be informed and supportive of their Jewish communities. In this case, President Lula must urgently correct course to ensure that Jewish feel protected in Brazil, home to one of the largest populations of Holocaust survivors.”

Lauder’s comments come after da Silva compared the IDF’s actions in Gaza to Hitler’s actions against Jews in World War II.

"What is happening in the Gaza Strip is not war. This is genocide. It is not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It is a war between a trained military against women and children. What is happening in the Gaza Strip against the Palestinian people has not happened at almost any other time in history. In fact, it only happened once; when Hitler decided to kill the Jews," the Brazilian President charged.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the Brazilian Ambassador, Federico Mayer, for a reprimand in the wake of da Silva’s comments. The reprimand took place at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem.

"We will not forgive and we will not forget: In my name and in the name of all citizens of Israel, tell President Lula that he is a persona non grata in Israel until he apologizes and retracts his statements," Katz told the ambassador.

Later,da Silva announced that the Brazilian ambassador to Israel would be recalled and that Brazil has decided to summon Israel's ambassador to the country for a reprimand.