Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, has a Jewish
population of about 100,000, out of a total population of over 185 million. Most
Jews live in Brazil’s major cities – São Paulo, Río de Janeiro,
and Porto Alegre.
in other Latin American countries during and in the aftermath of the Gaza operation, in Brazil, too, there was a considerable increase in antisemitic
manifestations (see ASW 2008/9).
Thereafter, the wave decreased.
An official visit
of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil in November provoked some opposition
from Brazilian politicians. Ahmadinejad met with president Luis da Silva, and during
his participation in a session of the Senate, congressman Alvaro Dias, from the
opposition Socialist Democratic Brazilian Party (PSDB-PR), said: “It is a great
mistake to receive with honor dictators such as the president of Iran… there is
no pragmatism that can justify receiving a man who denies the Holocaust and
wants to destroy the State of Israel.” Congressman Marcelo Itagiba from the
same party held a placard saying: “Holocaust never again.” With him was Ben
Abraham, president of survivors of the Nazis association in Brazil.
activities of the radical anti-Zionist left diminished somewhat after the end
of the Gaza operation, as in Argentina, the extreme right remained active. On
May 18, the police confiscated more than 300 items of Nazi paraphenalia during a
raid in five cities of the state of Rio Grande do Sul aimed at arresting
members of neo-Nazi groups. The material included photos, DVDs, books, knives,
clothes with swastikas, and three homemade bombs which were to have been set
off at least two synagogues in the city of Porto Alegre, according to police inspector
Paulo Cesar Jardim. The extremists were planning to attack Jews and gays.