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Lula’s Controversial Comments on Israel’s Actions in Gaza

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In a stark and controversial statement, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accused Israel of committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. She compared its actions to Adolf Hitler’s campaign to exterminate Jewish people.“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” Lula told reporters on Sunday in Addis Ababa where he was attending an African Union summit. “It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children,” he added.

Lula’s comments, which were among the strongest yet on the conflict from the prominent voice for the global south, have sparked outrage in Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the comments as “disgraceful and grave,” accusing Lula of being antisemitic and trivializing the Holocaust.“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. It happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” Lula said.

Lula’s comments come after leaders at the AU summit on Saturday condemned Israel’s offensive in Gaza and called for its immediate end. Lula has previously said Israel is carrying out genocide in Gaza and has supported South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide at the U.N.’s International Court of Justice. His comment Sunday was the first time he directly compared Israel’s actions to the Holocaust.

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