FASCISM >>>> THE ANTI OCCUPATION’S NEW ENERGIZER

Bolsonaro is a vulgar and violent man. His aggressive remarks leave no doubt regarding the kind of policies he plans on enacting. He also wholeheartedly supports Israel and its actions, which is hardly a surprise. 

Here’s why Israel loves him…..

The record reveals Bolsonaro as a racist, misogynist, homophobic, weaponizing thug, favoring a white, patriarchal, hierarchical, hetero-normative and “homogenous” Brazil.

 

The rise of the global far-right could energize the anti-occupation movement

The warm relations between Israel and a new crop of anti-democratic leaders are tragic, but they also expose the true nature of Israel’s relationship to the Palestinians.

By Eli Bitan

Only hours after Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil last Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to phone the extreme-right candidate. Netanyahu accepted Bolsonaro’s invitation to Brazil, inviting the president-elect to Jerusalem, after the latter declared his intention to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

Bolsonaro is a vulgar and violent man. His aggressive remarks leave no doubt regarding the kind of policies he plans on enacting. He also wholeheartedly supports Israel and its actions, which is hardly a surprise. With Trump, Orban, Modi, Duterte and others, it has become self-evident that far-right leaders will immediately side with Israel, to which the Jewish state responds with a reciprocal warm embrace. There are few who are still embarrassed by this show, but in Israel, Netanyahu has been able to celebrate these victories as if he himself were kingmaker.

The more Israel becomes excited by these leaders, seemingly vestiges of centuries passed, who were elected with the help of Vladimir Putin, the more they feel it necessary to ignore Palestinian suffering and pledge support for continued occupation. The more right-wing commentators spout the main argument of the Right today, the more their opponents understand the extent to which the Israeli government and the occupation need both racism and regressive ideas to exist.

The congruence between the violence and the hate that these officials spread, and their complete, unquestioned support for Israel is astounding. It is doubtful whether there is anything that proves the irrelevance of all kinds of “liberal” justifications for the settlement enterprise and the occupations quite like the support of right-wing authoritarians. The world now sees who vouches for Israel — the only thing left to do is draw a line in the sand.

And yet the Foreign Ministry, the hasbara industry, the Jewish Agency, Birthright — they are all busy figuring out how to market this package deal. Netanyahu, of course, heads this industry, and each appearance on the world stage proves what his rivals have always claimed about him. Yet the occupation has long ago become Israel’s official policy.

This much is clear to all those who oppose this new wave of elected officials, and it is good news for Palestinians and activists who for decades have tried to convince Western leaders that the occupation and the settlements are littler more than theft and dispossession. That there is no connection between the occupation and the Holocaust or Israel’s security. Now it is clear that Israel is acting only to entrench military rule in the occupied territories, that this is the only obstacle to peace and to the end of the conflict. Today dissidents of all stripes are learning this truth, ironically thanks to Israeli funding.

There are people in Israel who believe that before Trump, the United States opposed the occupation. Those who know the details are aware that this is a joke. Trump is not a much bigger supporter of the occupation than Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, and the same goes for the rest of the leaders of the West. Some of them may have supported peace negotiations, while others have not, but backing for Israel’s policies was and remains near total. Israel has always enjoyed being part of the family of nations, economically, politically, or even morally.

Israel’s decision to peg its foreign policy to far-right authoritarians is a poor one, characterizing the paranoid and anxiety-driven era of Benjamin Netanyahu. But it is not the entire story: Trump, Orban, Modi, Duterte, and now Bolsonaro have happily jumped on the bandwagon. They are taking advantage of Israel’s liberal credit around the world in order to bolster themselves. In effect, they end up undercutting that very liberal credit.

The fact that these people are being elected is terrifying, both for their citizens as well as for the world. The same goes for the fact that they choose to support Israeli policies, and that Israel chooses to praise them and offer its support in return. But the Bolsonaros of the world have also left us with a worthy mission. On the day they are tossed into the dustbin of history, the struggle against the occupation, for the end of the conflict, and for peace, can find itself stronger and more stable, with many new partners who for years have gone along with Israel’s every whim.

Opponents of the occupation must now pick up the leftovers. There is no doubt that they must also contend with the new regimes, as awful as they may be, just as they must contend with Israel, the IDF, the Civil Administration, the courts, and the police. But this new crop of leaders has also provided us with a huge liberal camp with which we must form alliances. We must teach it about what is happening on the other side of the Green Line, and then we must fight together.

ISRAEL APPLAUDS THE EMERGENCE OF FASCISM IN BRAZIL

Fascist Bolsonaro wins Brazil Elections. During the campaign he promised to move Brazil’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and kick the Palestinian Embassy out of Brasilia.

Image by Carlos Latuff

*

Davidi Hermelin, President of The Int’l Center for Public Diplomacy In Israel speaking at ILTV Studio about the evolving relationship with Brazil.

*

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ MOURNING WITH THE FANS OF BRAZIL

Image by Carlos Latuff

cyd4ombwqaazf18

#InternationalSolidarityExtraordinaire ~~ BRAZILIANS AIDING PALESTINIAN FARMERS

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

Brazil’s MST begins solidarity olive harvest

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

MST is a mass social movement in Brazil formed by rural workers and those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice in rural areas.

Members of the delegation are assisting with the physical work of picking olives as well as serving as witnesses to Israeli state or settler violence directed against Palestinian farmers. The hope is to ensure Palestinian farmers, even in high-risk areas, are able to harvest their olives.

The olive oil industry constitutes 25% of Palestine’s agricultural income and supports the livelihoods of approximately 100,000 Palestinian families. The constant threat of Israeli state and settler violence and upsets the olive harvest in Palestine each year.

The MST activists have already taken part in olive harvests across the West Bank, mainly in areas targeted by Israeli settlers. As a part of the 20-day olive picking delegation, MST representatives are also meeting with Palestinian civil society organizations, unions, and politicians.

On Monday, MST met with the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Beit Sahour. AIC Director Nassar Ibrahim provided an overview of the Palestinian national movement, stressing the importance of mobilizing democratic forces against the occupation in both Palestinian and Israeli societies. AIC Senior Project Coordinator Ahmad Jaradat discussed the relationship of the Palestinian struggle for liberation to other international social justice movements.

MST has acted in support of the Palestinian national movement for years. It is one of the largest social movements in the world, with a membership of 1.5 million.

2landlesspal

Source

IN TOONS ~~ WELCOME TO RIO

Images by Carlos Latuff (Direct from Rio)

The Police welcome protesters

The Police welcome protesters

*

Brazil  wins its first medal in the Olympics for shooting...Black and poor people!

Brazil wins its first medal in the Olympics for shooting…Black and poor people!

*

President Michel Temer lights the torch

President Michel Temer lights the torch

And the real winner is ……

Let's get the Olympics started!!!

Let’s get the Olympics started!!!

 

MONDAY’S TOONS ~~ #ImpeachmentDay IN BRAZIL

Message from Carlos Latuff ….

Sorry my friends abroad, but today I devote my art and time to my homeland.

All images by Carlos Latuff

CgQNgFBWQAAYuC9

*

CgQu1gFWwAAfgB4

*

CgQ5GCXWcAA5rdU

*

CgQ7m9rXEAAE6T6

*

CgRIBDMWEAAFYY8

*

CgR6SRYXEAEXUI8

*

CgSXLU-W4AE34B3

*

CgSm_yMW8AAHbAa

*

CgVEuwYWQAAthG9

Also see the Hashtag #ImpeachmentDay HERE

(In Portuguese)

*

TOON OF THE DAY ~~ BRAZIL’S CLUSTER BOMBS IN YEMEN

Image by Carlos Latuff

Thanks Brazil for showing us your true colours …

Brazil's Cluster Bombs prohibited by Geneva Convention used by Saudis in Yemen

Brazil’s Cluster Bombs prohibited by Geneva Convention used by Saudis in Yemen

Related …. (Click on link)

Yemen: Brazilian cluster munitions suspected in Saudi Arabia-led coalition attack

Image by Emad Hajjaj

Valentine's Day in Middle East

Valentine’s Day in Middle East

SPOOFS OF THE DAY ~~ WELCOME TO RIO …

Images by Carlos Latuff

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, Land of @Rio2016 @Olympics, Dengue Fever, Zika Virus, Gentrification and Corruption

Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, Land of @Rio2016 @Olympics, Dengue Fever, Zika Virus, Gentrification and Corruption

*

Rio de Janeiro, The Olympics, City Of Zika Virus, Dengue Fever!

Rio de Janeiro, The Olympics, City Of Zika Virus, Dengue Fever!

CROSSING OVER TO BDS

How one artist saw the truth when he refused to boycott Israel ….

Veloso describes how his visit to the Palestinian village of Susiya in the occupied Palestinian territory helped to shed light on the grim reality of living under Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation and colonization. What Veloso heard there from Palestinian villagers being subjected to daily violent attacks by fanatic Israeli settlers, under protection from the Israeli occupation forces, made him reach the conclusion that, “all complaints from BDS [activists] have ground”.

Brazilian Music Legends Caetano and Gil Will Perform in Israel Despite Calls to Cancel · Image by Carlos Latuff

Brazilian Music Legends Caetano and Gil Will Perform in Israel Despite Calls to Cancel ·
Image by Carlos Latuff

Brazilian star Caetano Veloso announces he will never go back to Israel

After performing in Tel Aviv, in defiance of Palestinian appeals not to help Israel use his name to cover up its regime of oppression, Caetano Veloso has now concluded that he will “never go back” to Israel. In an article entitled, “To visit Israel to never go back to Israel”, published on November 8, the prominent Brazilian artist reveals how he reached his decision after seeing the reality of Israel’s occupation and systematic, violent suppression of Palestinian human rights.

Veloso describes how his visit to the Palestinian village of Susiya in the occupied Palestinian territory helped to shed light on the grim reality of living under Israel’s decades-old regime of occupation and colonization. What Veloso heard there from Palestinian villagers being subjected to daily violent attacks by fanatic Israeli settlers, under protection from the Israeli occupation forces, made him reach the conclusion that, “all complaints from BDS [activists] have ground”.

Revealing that “the peace I had believed [to exist] inside Tel Aviv” was all along “fragile, superficial and illusory”, Veloso writes that he now wants real peace, which Palestinians have always argued must be based on justice and full respect for international law. He writes, “But now I want it feeling much closer to the Palestinians than I had ever imagined myself – and further away from Israel than my heart could not even [imagine] just a little more than a year ago”.

Veloso says he consulted with the Palestinian director of “Paradise Now,” Hany Abu-Assad, about BDS appeals to cancel the concert, and his advice was to “heed the BDS demands”.

The views of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the late Israeli scientist and philosopher who was deeply critical of Israel’s occupation and who compared some of its policies not only to those of apartheid South Africa, but also to Nazi practices during World War II, “impressed me the most,” writes Caetano Veloso, “I would have dedicated our concert to his memory”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which leads the global BDS movement, reacted to Caetano Veloso’s article saying, “We are glad that Caetano is committing not to perform again in Israel. We sincerely hope that all Brazilian and Latin American artists will also heed the cultural boycott of Israel, called for by the absolute majority in Palestinian civil society, including the Palestinian artists”.

“International artists are all welcome to come and see the reality of Israel’s brutal regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid under which Palestinians live and against which they are waging the current wave of popular resistance. But they can do that without crossing the international picket line, without performing in Tel Aviv, the capital of Israeli apartheid and war mongering”.

Earlier this year Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil refused to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv despite wide Brazilian, Palestinian and international appeals. Major figures like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Roger Waters, Brazil’s former Human Rights Minister and UN rapporteur Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, wrote to the Brazilian stars at the time asking them not to do business-as-usual with a state that is committing horrific crimes against the Palestinian people.

In its appeal to Caetano and Gil, the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) wrote, “Your Tropicalia Way stands against racism and for social justice, so do not offer Israel a fig leaf to cover its human rights violations with”.

In his letter to them, Arch. Desmond Tutu wrote, “I have myself witnessed the apartheid reality that Israel has created within its borders and in the occupied Palestinian territory (…) If we cannot, at the very least, heed the appeals of Palestinian society, to refrain from undermining their peaceful resistance and aspirations for a life without oppression, we will be abandoning our moral obligations. In situations of oppression, neutrality means taking the side of the oppressor”.

Roger Waters wrote, “Just as musicians weren’t going to play Sun City, increasingly we’re not going to play Tel Aviv. There is no place today in this world for another racist, apartheid regime”.

Captura-de-Tela-2015-11-09-às-17.41.20-600x372

Source

BDS REACHES THE SHORES OF BRAZIL


Against cooperation of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) universities with Israeli @ElbitSystemsLtd

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

cooperacao-universidades-gauchas-com-israel

Who is Elbit Systems? Click HERE to find out …

BRITISH GOVERNMENT SMASHES ALL OF SNOWDEN’S ‘SECURITY LEAKS’

The British government essentially forced the newspaper to destroy the hard drives that contained files that the National Security Agency whistleblower gave them. 
*
Miranda’s Detention ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
david-miranda-heathrow
*

British government forced Guardian to smash hard drives with Snowden files

Alex Kane 
*
Rusbridger
The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (Photo: Francesco Alesi/Flickr)
*

Two officers from the British intelligence agency GCHQ oversaw the destruction of hard drives at The Guardian newspaper’s office last month in an effort to stop the paper from reporting on the documents that Edward Snowden gave them. The incident was reported Monday night by The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger.

The British government essentially forced the newspaper to destroy the hard drives that contained files that the National Security Agency whistleblower gave them. 

The Guardian‘s Julian Borger explained the reasoning behind the newspaper’s actions:

The Guardian’s lawyers believed the government might either seek an injunction under the law of confidence, a catch-all statute that covers any unauthorised possession of confidential material, or start criminal proceedings under the Official Secrets Act.

Either brought with it the risk that the Guardian’s reporting would be frozen everywhere and that the newspaper would be forced to hand over material.

“I explained to British authorities that there were other copies in America and Brazil so they wouldn’t be achieving anything,” Rusbridger said. “But once it was obvious that they would be going to law I preferred to destroy our copy rather than hand it back to them or allow the courts to freeze our reporting.”

Any such surrender would have represented a betrayal of the source, Edward Snowden, Rusbridger believed. The files could ultimately have been used in the American whistleblower’s prosecution. 

In the column that first broke the news, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger described various attempts at intimidation that the British government made before Rusbridger agreed to finally destroy the hard drives.

Two months ago, a senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister called Rusbridger and demanded that the paper return or destroy documents exposing the National Security Agency’s surveillance. A month later, Rusbridger received another phone call from the government. “ You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back,” the official allegedly said.

More meetings with British government officials occurred, with an official telling Rusbridger, “you’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”

After The Guardian continued to hold steadfast, the government took an action described by Glenn Greenwald as “thuggish.”

“And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents,” writes Rusbridger.

The account in The Guardian was published after Greenwald’s husband David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, was detained in Britain for 9 hours under a UK anti-terrorism law after crossing through Heathrow airport on his way back from meeting Laura Poitras, Greenwald’s reporting companion, in Berlin. Miranda was questioned about his partner’s reporting and threatened with jail. Rusbridger vowed that the detention–and seizure of documents Miranda was carrying–would not deter The Guardian.

“We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won’t do it in London,” wrote Rusbridger. “The seizure of Miranda’s laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald’s work.”

Outrage has erupted in Britain over Miranda’s detention. The British Labour Party has demanded a review of the anti-terrorism law used to hold Greenwald’s partner. The law has disproportionately targeted Muslims. 

And Miranda’s lawyers have said they are planning to take legal action against the British government for his detention.

While The Guardian editor vowed to press on despite the destruction of the files and Miranda’s detention, he closed out his column with a warning:

We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best (many of them in the UK, oddly, on the right) may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack.

 Written FOR

CARLOS LATUFF; THE INSPIRATION FROM AFAR

Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff finalizes a cartoon after an interview with
Reuters in Rio de Janeiro August 26, 2011. [REUTERS/Sergio Moraes]
*
*

Rio cartoonist Carlos Latuff inspires Arab rebellions from afar

By Stuart Grudgings
 *
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – His cartoons are edgy, bold, and a thorn in the side of the Arab world’s tottering authoritarians — a gift to protesters from the unlikely setting of an apartment in beach-side Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Latuff, a 42-year-old leftist whose only family link to the Middle East is a Lebanese grandfather he never knew, has become a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire satirical sketches that have helped inspire the uprisings.

All he has needed is his pen, a passion for the region’s struggles and a Twitter account that he uses to send out his cartoons.

Starting with the Tunisia uprisings last December, Latuff’s work has been downloaded by protest leaders and splashed on T-shirts and banners at protests from Egypt to Libya and Bahrain, becoming a satirical emblem of outrage.

In one, a jackboot representing Syria’s government stamps on a hand writing the word “freedom.” In another, a man representing justice under Egypt’s military rulers holds a scale full of imprisoned protesters.

Latuff said he first knew his cartoons were having an impact when, watching TV, he saw them printed on banners as protests swept Egypt on Jan. 25, only two days after he had made them available.

“That gave me certainty that my job was useful,” Latuff told Reuters. “It’s not the social platforms that make revolutions, it’s the people. Twitter, Facebook, just like a camera or Molotov cocktails, are just instruments, equipment.”

A cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting Muammar Gaddafi (L), a
Libyan rebel and U.S. President Barack Obama (R), is released August 22, 2011.
[REUTERS/Carlos Latuff/Handout] and other new images
A cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting Muammar Gaddafi (L), a Libyan rebel and U.S. President Barack Obama (R), is released August 22, 2011. Latuff, a 42-year-old leftist whose only family link to the Middle East is a Lebanese grandfather he never knew, has become a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire satirical sketches that have helped inspire the uprisings. All he has needed is his pen, a passion for the region's struggles and a Twitter account. Starting with the Tunisia uprisings last December, Latuff's work has been downloaded by protest leaders and splashed on tee-shirts and banners at protests from Egypt to Libya and Bahrain, becoming a satirical emblem of outrage. REUTERS-Carlos Latuff-Handout
*
*
Official Twitpic account page of Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff displays his new cartoon in Rio de Janeiro August 29, 2011. REUTERS-Sergio Moraes
*
A cartoon by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff depicting military trials of civilians in Egypt, is released August 26, 2011. REUTERS-Handout

Latuff, who does work for Brazilian newspapers and other outlets, doesn’t charge protest leaders for his work, saying he donates the cartoons to highlight injustices and to show his solidarity against authoritarianism globally.

At home, he has been in trouble with authorities several times for hard-hitting images depicting police brutality in Rio’s slums.

His only visits to the Middle East came in 1999 and 2009, when he went to the occupied Palestinian territories and later Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

Making friends, and enemies

It was enough, he says, to give him an understanding that the dynamics of oppression in the region were similar to those in Rio’s violence-plagued slums, or “favelas.”

“Misery is the same in any country,” he said. “The only difference was that women covered their heads, the writing was in Arabic, and the men with guns were militants, not drug traffickers.”

Latuff’s foray into the divisive world of Middle Eastern politics has made him plenty of enemies as well as friends. His uncompromising work depicting Israeli army brutality toward Palestinians — one cartoon compares soldiers with Nazi Germans — has drawn allegations that he is anti-Semitic, a charge he strongly denies.

The cartoonist, wearing a “Free Palestine” badge and “War is Business” T-shirt, attributed the strong demand for his cartoons among protesters to the continuing lack of freedom for journalists in the region.

Many of his cartoons still focus on Egypt, where emergency powers for the security forces remain in place six months after Hosni Mubarak was toppled. One recent piece shows a snake looming behind a woman sitting at a computer — a reference to the recent arrest of activist Asmaa Mahfouz for “insulting” the military in a Twitter comment. The army later acquitted her.

“Most people don’t know what is happening now in Egypt — because Mubarak left the government they think they have democracy, but this is not true,” Latuff said.

Source (via Reuters)

TORTURETOON ~~ TORTURERS PROTECTED IN BRAZIL

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Amnesty International has condemned the Brazilian Supreme Court’s
blocking of a reinterpretation of a 1979 Amnesty Law that protects
members of the former military government from being put on trial for
extrajudicial killings, torture and rape.

Amnesty International report

VISITING BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT TO ISRAEL ‘SPITS IN THE EYE OF ZION’

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Brazilian leader Lula da Silva.
(Reuters)

Not only did the President of Brazil refuse to honour the ‘father of zion’ yesterday, he honoured the Palestinian people today by placing a wreath at Yasser Arafat’s grave in Ramallah. That was literally a ‘spit in the eye’ at the zionist occupiers.

WE NEED MORE PRESIDENTS IN THE WORLD LIKE HIM!

Brazil President in West Bank: I dream of a free Palestine
Brazil President meets with Abbas, lays wreath at Arafat’s grave after row over refusal to visit Herzl’s tomb.

Several days into a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived Wednesday in Ramallah, where he expressed his support for Palestinian independence and for the creation of a Palestinian state.

“I dream of an independent and free Palestine living in peace in the Middle East,” Lula said during a visit to the West Bank. “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis are going to share the land of their forefathers.”

The Brazilian leader has said he would like to play a bigger role in Mideast diplomacy. He is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week.


Lula also visited the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, where he laid a wreath, despite criticism from Israel. There was no immediate Israeli reaction to the visit to Arafat’s grave.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had boycotted meetings with Lula because the Brazilian leader did not visit the grave of the founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl.


Read the rest HERE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Lula criticises Israeli policies

Lula’s visit is the first by a sitting Brazilian president to Israel and the Palestinian territories [AFP]


Brazil’s president has criticised Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, warning that Israel’s separation barrier, its blockade of Gaza and its continued settlement building was extinguishing “the candle of hope”.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made his comments while on a visit to the West Bank where, on Wednesday, he placed a wreath on the tomb Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader.

What Lula terms his “mission of peace” began in Israel on Tuesday, and is the first visit by a sitting Brazilian president to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Brazil is Israel’s largest trading partner in Latin America, but it also has close ties to Iran and Lula has defended Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which Tehran says are peaceful but which Israel sees as a potential threat.

Lula laid a yellow and green wreath on Arafat’s mausoleum in Ramallah and told a crowd of Palestinian officials and several dozen people waving Brazil’s flag that he had participated in pro-Palestinian protests in the past.

Later Lula said that Brazil was willing to talk to Hamas, which is listed by the European Union and the US as a “terrorist” organisation.

“Brazil is prepared to talk to everybody,” he said. “All the parties involved must be listened to.”

International player

Lula’s comments are unlikely to have endeared him to Israel.

A day earlier, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, said he had boycotted meetings with Lula because the Brazilian president did not pay a visit to the grave of Theodor Herzl, one of the founders of Zionism.

Colin Harding, London-based a Latin America analyst, told Al Jazeera that Lula’s visit aimed at helping Brazil emerge as a bigger player on the world stage.

“Brazil, under Lula, has been  pressing very hard for a permanent seat on the Security Council of the United Nations, and if Brazil can intervene in some effective way in the Middle East crisis, this would clearly do Brazil’s chances no harm at all,” he said.

“Their unique selling point in the Middle East is their engagement with Iran … and I think they hope this policy of engagement will help to bring Iran in as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”

EU efforts

Also visiting Palestinian leaders on Wednesday was Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, on the first leg of a two-day visit to the region.

Like Lula, Ashton has criticised Israeli settlement building, telling Arab leaders in Cairo on Monday that the settlements threaten peace talks and are illegal.

During a joint news conference in occupied Jerusalem with Lieberman, Ashton also called for the immediate resumption of peace talks.

“I believe that it’s in the long term interest of this country that this government, together with the Palestinians, determine that future and the sooner we get to the talks, the better,” she said.

She also said the so-called Quartet of Middle East negotiators would be “reinvigorated” in their efforts.

Economic pressures

Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem correspondent, said: “I think plenty of people on the ground here have wondered what the Quartet is – it’s this body that brings together the Russians, the Americans the EU and the UN – but actually it hasn’t been seen to be having much impact here on the ground.”

Ashton, left, called for the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians [AFP]


She continued: “It’s difficult to say exactly how pressure on Israel might be exerted, it certainly wouldn’t be exerted in public press conference, it’s far more likely to go on behind the scenes.

“What Ashton did stress though was that the EU’s role was much more an economic one than a political one … she said the EU was there to provide the economic weight to support the process.”

A Quartet meeting to be held in Moscow this week appears likely to be dominated by the issue of Israel’s settlement construction.

Israel’s continued settlement building has caused a crisis Israel relations with the US after Israel unveiled plans to construct 1,600 new homes on occupied Palestinian land during a visit by Joesph Biden, the US vice-president.

‘FATHER OF ZION’ SNUBBED BY BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT

It is not every day that a visiting foreign diplomat to Israel makes a statement like this…

President of Brazil Refuses to Lay Wreath

President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, who arrived this evening (Sunday) to visit Israel, refused to visit Mount Herzl and lay a wreath on the grave of Theodor Herzl.

In response to his announcement, Hagai Merom, whose job it is to escort the heads of state at the ceremony at the tomb of Herzl, said that the decision insults the accepted rules of politeness and friendship between countries. FROM


Just a short, sweet report from Israel’s extreme right wing news centre…. a report , which BTW, appeared nowhere else in the Israeli press…. are they ashamed? THEY SHOULD BE!

TOON OF THE DAY ~~ BRAZIL SPENDING MILLIONS ON ISRAELI DRONES

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Brazil under fire for spending $350 million on Israeli drones

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

The anticipated use of Israeli-made drones by Brazilian police Tuesday
drew criticism from a prominent ruling party politician. It also
prompted social activists to seek greater cooperation with Palestinian
movements to protest the “importation of Israeli oppression.”

The sale of Israeli drones to Brazil “confirms that Israel draws
indirect benefits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian
territories,” Valter Pomar, secretary of international relations for
the leftist Workers Party (PT), told Haaretz.

Pomar said he disagreed with the “democratically-reached” decision to
equip Brazilian police with drones used as part of what he termed
“Israel’s illegal and illegitimate actions.”

“It is symptomatic that Brazil imports tactics and equipment from
Israel, an ultra-militarized country which keeps an entire population
under military occupation,” said Mauricio Campos, a spokesman for the
Network of Communities and Movements against Violence.

He added that the network – a prominent grassroots organization which
sprang up six years ago in Rio’s poor favelas, or shantytowns – will
discuss the pending sale on Thursday, during a general meeting.
“Without doubt, we will make our voices heard over this,” Campos told
Haaretz.

His group has organized various events to protest Israel’s policies
and what the network called “genocidal attacks” on Palestinians.

The discussion on Thursday of the drone sale was scheduled after
Brazilian media reported last week that Rio’s state police force is
considering buying six Israeli Skylark I unmanned aerial vehicles to
combat rampant crime.

In November, during President Shimon Peres’ state visit to Brazil,
Israel and Brazil sealed a $350 million deal for the supply of 14
Israeli Heron UAVs to several Brazilian law enforcement agencies.

That deal was completed weeks after a drug gang from a Rio favela shot
down a police helicopter with a short range rocket.


TUESDAY’S TOONS ~~ HUMAN RIGHTS IN BRAZIL

When Human Rights are threatened ANYWHERE we are all at risk

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Read these reports from Amnesty International
“Picking up the Pieces: Women’s Experience of Urban Violence in Brazil” (PDF)

Latest Reports

Brazil: ‘Changing this deadly scenario’: Demand dignity in Brazil’s favelas
May 28, 2009

Brazil: Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in National Legislation
March 23, 2009

Brazil: Challenging Brazil’s milícias: Marcelo Freixo and members of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry
October 09, 2008

Brazil: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review. First session of the UPR Working Group, 7-11 April 2008
November 28, 2007