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Brazil still not crying for Israel

March 18, 2010

To the dismay of ultra right-wing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Brazil’s Lula refused to lay a wreath on Theodor Herzl’s grave. It’s telling that the Jerusalem Post makes it seem like it was Lieberman who snubbed Lula (‘FM Snubs Lula Over Herzl Wreath Row’), when the overt rebuff obviously embarrassed the Israelis.

Herzl, who envisioned the state of Israel as a ‘vanguard’ against the ‘barbarian’ nature of Asia, was the brains behind the manufactured 1948 colonization project.

Herzl also wrote ridiculously bad novels that are described as utopian, if one’s vision of utopia is a pretend-land where Arabs don’t exist.

Compared to the effusive praise by Hillary Clinton this week for Israel—her use of the phrase ‘unshakeable’ to describe the U.S.-Israeli bond seemed to practically call for a third intifada, or ‘shaking off’—Lula remained stoic about Palestinian human rights, what he called a ‘dream of an independent and free Palestine living in peace in the Middle East.’ He even hinted at a one-state imperative: ‘I believe the Palestinians and Israelis are going to share the land of their forefathers.’

Lula’s greatest gift is his ability to subvert the U.S.’s soft bullying into whiny pleading. He appeals to a vast majority of people (he’s been called the world’s most popular politician) because he understands south-south initiative and solidarity beyond the universe of Anglo-European hegemony. Just trying to imagine a ‘north’ country president saying the following words seems bizarre, since the official U.S. discourse is to ignore or blight Palestinian existence:

‘It gives me great emotion to be the first Brazilian president to step on Palestinian soil. In Brazil, when we think of Ramallah, Gaza and the West Bank, they evoke a fearless and courageous people fighting for their dignity, freedom and democracy. The self-determination of the Palestinians is a cause close to the heart of Brazilians.’

(Photo: ‘Palestine, Free Country,’ taken by South/South in Rio de Janeiro.)

[Related] Brazil: not crying for Israel

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