Protests at Ahmadinejad's Presence at Rio Summit

By JTA

Published June 19, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Some 2,000 Brazilian Jews and non-Jews protested Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presence at Rio + 20, the United Nations summit on sustainable development.

Jews, gays, Afro-Latin Americans and human right activists rallied Sunday at the upscale Ipanema seafront to protest Ahmadinejad’s visit. Backed by intense drumming by the cultural group AfroReggae, marchers carried signs and banners in English that read “Rio does not welcome Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” and “Religious intolerance is not acceptable.”

Michel Gherman, the head of Hillel in Rio, yelled about stopping “the speech of hatred that affects the freedom in Brazil.” His call was repeated by protesters.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center also called on the summit delegates to boycott Ahmadinejad by leaving the conference room when he speaks and also refusing any request for bilateral meetings from the Iranian delegation.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes canceled the inauguration of a replica of the famed Persepolis columns offered by Iran, citing “delays in the works.” The event had been scheduled for Thursday in the presence of the Iranian leader.

City Council member Teresa Bergher, who also presides over the human rights commission, said she will propose a bill to turn Ahmadinejad into persona non grata, or undesired person, which she believes will prevent him from future visits to the city.

Last week, representatives of the Brazilian umbrella Jewish organization CONIB had urged President Dilma Rousseff not to meet with Ahmadinejad because of Iran’s suspicious nuclear program and Ahmadinejad’s repeated denials of the Holocaust, as well as Iranian persecution of minorities and critics of the regime.

“Ahmadinejad is arriving in Brazil at the invitation of the U.N., not the Brazilian government,” said Ricardo Berkiensztat, vice president of the Jewish federation in Sao Paulo, where some 200 people also gathered in a heavily Jewish neighborhood to protest.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.