Middle East

Israel summons Brazil’s ambassador after President Lula likened Israel’s actions in Gaza to Holocaust

From CNN's Chris Liakos and Duarte Mendonca

Israel said on Sunday it is summoning the Brazilian ambassador to the country over what it says were “shameful and serious” remarks by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Speaking earlier Sunday at the African Union summit, Lula called Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip a “genocide.”

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in history. Indeed, it occurred when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on X that Lula is “trivializing” the Holocaust and “trying to harm the Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself,” saying that “comparing Israel to the Nazi Holocaust and Hitler is crossing a red line.”

“Israel fights for its defense and securing its future until complete victory and it does so while upholding international law,” he added.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also condemned the remarks in a post on X.

Israel has pledged not to stop its campaign in Gaza until Hamas is destroyed and all of the group’s remaining hostages have been released, following its October 7 attacks on Israel.

More background: Last month, the top United Nations court called on Israel to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, but stopped short of calling for Israel to immediately suspend its military campaign in the war-torn enclave.

South Africa, which accused Israel in the unprecedented case, argued Israel’s air and ground assaults on Gaza were intended to “bring about the destruction” of its Palestinian population.

Israel dismissed the case as “absurd blood libel” and insisted it goes to great lengths to prevent civilian deaths in Gaza.

CNN’s Christian Edwards contributed reporting to this post.

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