On Thursday January 8, a group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a statement against Israel’s appointment of Mr. Dani Dayan for the Israeli Embassy in Brazil, re-stating discontentment with the way Dayan was announced and with his role in the settlement movement, which they view as an affront to Brazil’s positions against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Last year, a group of Brazilian social movements also released its own statement, in an effort to draw attention to Dayan’s role as incompatible with Brazil’s position and growing solidarity with the Palestinians.
Skipping diplomatic protocols, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Dayan’s appointment last year, emphasizing how Israel aims to strengthen its commercial partnerships with “strategic” Latin America. The career diplomats signing the statement think the act of bypassing diplomatic protocol was done “on purpose”, since it was not preceded by any communication with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry nor any presentation of his credentials for an agreement.
The diplomats state their opposition to Dayan’s appointment especially because of his role among the settler movement, since he presided the Yesha Council between 2007 and 2013 and still lives in a settlement, Ma’ale Shomron, in territories that Brazil has recognized as part of the State of Palestine since 2010. In addition, the diplomats remember, Dayan also has stated his opposition to the establishment of the Palestinian state.
The Brazilian Government has already demonstrated opposition to Dayan’s appointment and this provoked disproportionate reaction of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Former Brazilian Minister of Defense Jaques Wagner, who is a member of the Brazilian Jewish community, was contacted by his Israeli counterpart Moshe Ya’alon, in another breach of protocol, in an attempt to exert pressure on the Government’s decision. Wagner has changed his post since then and stopped receiving Ya’alon’s calls, according to the Brazilian media.
Dayan claimed that Netanyahu did not pressure Brazil enough to accept his appointment, according to a Haaretz report, and his concern was that it would “create a precedent barring settlers from representing Israel abroad”. Well, this should be exactly the goal.
Dayan would prefer to see Israel in another indelicate and arrogant position towards Brazil, after one of its diplomatic representatives already classified the country as a “diplomatic dwarf” for condemning the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in 2014. In that case, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had to try and amend the situation with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in phone call.
Israeli illegal settlements in occupied Palestine continue to expose the country to growing international boycotts and diplomatic constraints. In Brazil, solidarity with the Palestinians against the occupation and for a free and independent State is also growing, despite the national media’s simplistic and overall biased coverage. Recently, we have had our own cases of baseless “anti-Semitism” charges for an important BDS action in an University and a campaign was launched to alert two of the main popular singers in Brazil, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, who sang in Israel last year. They traveled despite the campaigns, but later, Veloso published an article condemning the occupation, saying he would never go back to Israel, and received heavy criticism from a fraction of the Jewish community.
Read the translation of the diplomats’ statement:
“Forty of the most reputed Brazilian Ambassadors signed the following note on Israel:
We, the retired diplomats undersigned, remembering Ambassador Luís Martins de Sousa Dantas, who saved hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust; pride of the role played;
We, the retired diplomats undersigned, remembering Ambassador Luís Martins’ memory representing Brazil at the United Nations when, with Osvaldo Aranha as the President of the UN General Assembly, the creation of the State of Israel was approved;
We consider it unacceptable that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly announced the name of the person he intended to appoint as his country’s new Ambassador to Brazil before submitting it, in accordance to the norm, to our Government. This rupture with a diplomatic practice seems to have been on purpose, an attempt to establish facts, since the appointed, Dani Dayan, between 2007 and 2013, was the President of the Yesha Council, responsible for the settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal by the international community, and has already declared himself contrary to the creation of the Palestinian State, which counts on the support of the Brazilian Government and was already recognized by over 70% of the UN member States.
Under these conditions, we support the Brazilian Government’s position on this issue and wish that the current episode is quickly overcome, so we can, together, strengthen the bonds between the two countries in a historical moment in which the conciliatory spirit becomes imperative.
Amaury Porto de Oliveira
Armando Victor Boisson Cardoso
Brian Michael Fraser Neele
Carlos Alberto Leite Barbosa
Carlos Eduardo Alves de Souza
Edgar Telles Ribeiro
Fernando Guimarães Reis
Fernando Silva Alves
Geraldo Holanda Cavalcanti
Heloisa Vilhena de Araujo
Hildebrando Tadeu Valladares
Joaquim A. Whitaker Salles
José Maurício Bustani
José Viegas Filho
Julio Cesar Gomes dos Santos
Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves
Luiz Felipe Lampreia
Luiz Orlando Carone Gelio
Marcílio Marques Moreira
Maria Celina Azevedo Rodrigues
Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães
Sergio Fernando Guarischi Bath
Sergio A. Florencio Sobrinho
Sergio Henrique Nabuco de Castro
Virgílio Moretzsohn de Andrade
Washington Luis P. Sousa”