The footballer is facing backlash just like Messi, who was heavily criticized for joining Israel’s team fan club, Beitar Jerusalem.
Rabat – Brazilian superstar Neymar Junior has accepted an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to visit Israel, receiving backlash from his fans supporting the Palestinian cause.
Both Netanyahu and Bolsonaro recorded a video from the Western Wall in Jerusalem to invite Neymar and other athletes, including the two-time surfing world champion Gabriel Medina.
Neymar, who currently plays for the Paris Saint Germain football club, responded to their invitation through a recorded video.
“Hello Bibi and Bolsonaro. Thanks for inviting us. Israel, we are coming,” said the footballer. The surfer also promised to visit.
The invitation came as part of celebrating the opening of a new trade mission from Brazil to Israel in the region, which Palestine also objected to.
– Netanyahu, Bolsonaro, Neymar e Medina pelo Sucesso de Brasil e Israel. pic.twitter.com/ixoyspZEyI
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) April 2, 2019
According to Reuters, Palestine is considering recalling its ambassador in Brazil after the move. The Palestinian ambassador in Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeban, told Reuters that Palestine might recall him.
Brazil may also follow the US’s path in moving its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Brazilian Presidential Spokesman Otavio Rego seemed to deny the rumors on a potential embassy move, emphasizing that the trade mission would not be a diplomatic representation.
“Our president continues to evaluate this possibility [of moving the embassy], but that is not what we decided at this time,” said the Brazilian spokesman.
Palestinians, according to Reuters, were also angry that Bolsonaro did not “consider a visit to the Palestinian territories and did not coordinate his trip with Palestinian authorities.”
Bolsonaro and Netanyahu visited the Western Wall on Monday. Bolsonaro became the first head of state to do so with an Israeli premier.
In December 2018, Barcelona star Lionel Messi was criticized after he decided to join the Beitar Jerusalem fan club.
Messi has long faced scrutiny for his relationship with Israel.
In 2013, Messi and his club, FC Barcelona, visited Israel on a peace tour, where a photo emerged of him kneeling at the wall with a Jewish yarmulke. The photos drew criticism from many Arabs who said he was alienating many from his Muslim fanbase with his actions.