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Did Netanyahu´s gov’t lie to garner sympathy in Brazil?

December 15, 2023 at 11:00 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on December 10, 2023 [RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Brazil’s Federal Police said in a statement last month that they arrested two people in Sao Paulo who intended to carry out attacks against members of the country’s 120,000 Jewish population.

An investigation into the allegation was closed days ago and both men were declared innocent. A court in Brazil declared that there was no plan to “attack Jews” and ordered the release of Brazilians arrested for alleged links with Hezbollah.

That came after the Federal Police launched an operation to interrupt alleged “preparatory acts of terrorism” and to “obtain evidence of possible recruitment of Brazilians to carry out extreme acts”.

As the operation was being announced, the Israeli government released a statement stating that the Mossad, its intelligence agency, supported the police’s actions in Brazil and worked with intelligence agencies to thwart planned attacks on Jewish sites.

“The Brazilian security services, together with the Mossad and its partners in the Israeli security community, alongside additional international security agencies, foiled a terrorist attack in Brazil, planned by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, directed and financed by Iran,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“Given the backdrop of the war in Gaza … Hezbollah and the Iranian regime are continuing to operate around the world in order to attack Israeli, Jewish and Western targets,” it added

It added: “Mossad commends Brazilian security forces for the arrest of a terrorist cell acting on behalf of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, with the intention of carrying out attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in the country”.

Netanyahu government’s claim that Mossad had helped Brazilian police and arrested two “Hezbollah terrorists” who were “planning attacks against Jews in Brazil” was immediately debunked by the Brasilia’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, Flavio Dino, who announced that Mossad had nothing to do with the arrests and the Israeli government had no right to comment on an investigation that was still underway.

“Brazil is a sovereign country. Legal and police cooperation exists widely, with countries of different ideological hues, based on international agreements. No foreign force rules the Brazilian Federal Police. And no representative of a foreign government can intend to anticipate the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Police, which is still ongoing,” Dino said

“We appreciate appropriate international cooperation, but we reject any foreign authority that considers directing Brazilian police bodies, or using investigations that we are responsible for for the purposes of propaganda of their political interests,” he added.

On the same day, Israel’s Ambassador in Brasília, Daniel Zonshine, met with former President Jair Bolsonaro and other parliamentarians at the National Congress to present “exclusive images” of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to local media outlets.

According to the Brazilian political analyst, Sayid Marcos Tenorio, Israel has failed in all attempts to destroy the Palestinian resistance movements in Gaza and it started to lose the world´s sympathy. “Israel has already lost the battle in the world public opinion through the evident growth of the unpopularity of the Zionist state across the world. The streets of the main cities of the world have been the scenes of massive demonstrations in support of Palestine and outright repudiation of the actions of the terrorist state of Israel,” Tenorio explained. Even anti-Zionist Jews are mobilising around the world, “including in Israel, repudiating Israel’s crimes under the slogan of ‘not in my name’,” he continued..

“The feeling of Israel’s military weakening, that there was no victory, and the evident inability to defeat Hamas and the other Palestinian resistance forces is growing in Israeli public opinion. This feeling has been increasing since the humiliating defeat of the Zionist army in Lebanon in 2006, when they were driven out by Hezbollah.”

“The result of each attempt was that Palestinian resistance forces emerged stronger, more rooted in the population, better prepared militarily and with important popular support in Gaza, the West Bank and the territories assigned to Israel since 1948,” he concluded.

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