An Brazilian columnist is in hot water for calling into question Jewish loyalties in an ongoing diplomatic row with Israel.
“The cordial coexistence here granted to the Jewish community is threatened,” wrote Janio de Freitas, in the fight over over Israel’s appointment of former settler leader Dani Dayan as ambassador to Brasilia.
De Freitas, a senior editor for the influential newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, made the comments in Sunday’s edition in response to fight. Brazil has not yet accepted Dayan’s credentials, though the choice of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was approved five months ago by the Cabinet.
“In international relations, there are attitudes that are against governments and attitudes that are against countries. Netanyahu adopts the latter,” de Freitas wrote.
Freitas, 83, an award-winning journalist, has a track record of making anti-Israel statements.
The Brazilian Israelite Confederation, or CONIB, the umbrella Jewish organization in Brazil, condemned the columnist.
“Mr. Freitas once again distilled his hatred against Israel, but this time he’s gone much too far,” CONIB President Fernando Lottenberg said. “The Jews, like all Brazilians, have the right to express their opinion and not be threatened for them, as the columnist insinuated in an arrogant and intimidating way, evoking openly anti-Semitic attitudes.”
Brazil is home to a 120,000-member Jewish community, the second largest in Latin America, at nearly half the size of Argentina’s. Some 500 Brazilian Jews immigrated to Israel in 2015.