World

Brazil’s president says Nazis were leftists following his visit to Yad Vashem

(JTA) — President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil said that Nazism was a leftist movement following his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

The far-right leader was asked on Tuesday during his visit to Israel if he agreed with a recent claim by his foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, that Nazis were leftists.

“There is no doubt, right?” Bolsonaro replied, according to Reuters. He went on to say that the Nazi party’s offical name, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, contains the word “socialist.”

Yad Vashem’s website follows the wide historical consensus that Nazism was the product of “the growth of radical right-wing groups in Germany.”

Bolsonaro was visiting Israel just days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up for re-election. Prior to the trip, the Brazilian leader walked back his promise to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, saying that his government may instead open a “business office” in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has appeared eager to embrace the new leader of Latin America’s largest economy, despite criticism by Bolsonaro’s opponents at home that the president is hostile to black, indigenous and LGBTQ people, as well as protections for the environment and human rights.

COMMENTS