President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has again said he will move Brazil’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a claim he made in his campaign.
By Josh Babb
Rabat – Bolsonaro made the remarks on Thursday If the move does happen, Brazil would join just two other countries, the US and Guatemala, in stationing their embassy in the contested city of Jerusalem.
Taking to Twitter, Bolsonaro said, “As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to praise Bolsonaro “for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!”
The Palestinians lay claim to parts of East Jerusalem which Israel has controlled since the 1967 six-day war. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its rightful capital. Most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Rubens Barbosa, Brazil’s former ambassador to the US, says the move could endanger Brazil’s economic ties with Arab countries, stating the country risks “throwing away as much as $6 billion per year in poultry sales.”
On Sunday, congressman Bolsonaro won a runoff election in Brazil against leftist candidate ex-Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, claiming 55 percent of the vote in a country where election participation is compulsory.
The runup to Sunday’s election was marred by harsh rhetoric and political violence targeted at voters, journalists, and politicians. Bolsonaro himself was stabbed in the stomach at a rally in September.
Bolsonaro has a controversial history, often making crude comments targeting Brazil’s minorities, the LGBT community, and women. He once told a fellow congresswoman that she did not deserve to be raped because she was “very ugly.” He also publicly stated that he would rather see his son “die in an accident” than come out as homosexual.