Israeli Ambassador to Brazil Yossi Shelley decided not to attend the Confederação Israelita do Brasil’s (the Jewish Confederation of Brazil) 50th anniversary celebration. Shelley’s absence was allegedly due to his fear of damaging Israeli-Brazilian relations because CONIB officials allegedly made statements against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
, Yediot Aharonot
In an article quoting Shelley, the ambassador referred to Fernando Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation: “Lottenberg has his own political agenda. He talks badly about Bolsonaro and the Jewish community doesn’t like it,” according to Yediot Aharonot
. “There are excellent relations between Brazil and Israel today. Why ruin it now?”
“The Jewish community is pluralistic and the organization seeks to represent everyone,” Lottenberg said. “You can’t help but express the community’s position when President Bolsonaro says Nazism was a leftist movement.”
The Foreign Ministry said the ambassador’s schedule prevented him from attending the event.
“The relationship between the states is characterized by an impressive momentum,” the ministry said. “Later this month, we will host the Brazilian Congress Foreign and Security Committee and continue to work to deepen relations with Brazil in all areas.”
Israel’s ambassador in Brazil previously came under fire in July for tweeting a picture of himself and Bolsonaro eating what appeared to be lobster
, which was blacked out in the photo.
In May, Bolsonaro awarded Shelley the National Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil’s highest national honor for high-ranking guests.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.