The tragedy of Brumadinho, where a wave of toxic mud pouring from a ruptured mining dam has so far left 84 dead and 276 missing, seemed a good public relations opportunity for both far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his close ally, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Bolsonaro requested that a team from the Israeli army (IDF) help in rescue operations at Brumadinho, even though Brazil has a great number of military personnel in its army, navy, and air force, alongside firemen, which were already deployed in different occasions.
Bolsonaro’s could call teams from nearby countries like Chile, or even Mexico, countries used to dealing with disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. But instead he prefered to request military assistance from a country 10.093 km from Brazil.
The answer is POLITICS!
Bolsonaro is one of Netanyahu’s new friends, whose strategy now is to seek alliances with right-wing politicians, like Matteo Salvini in Italy, Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philipines. Bolsonaro is a former army captain with a long record of hate speech; rape apology, defense of torture and extra-judicial killings, homophobia and misogyny. In 2017 Bolsonaro was cheered in the Jewish community center “Hebraica” in Rio de Janeiro, where a racist tirade over quilombolas (Black descendants of African slaves) made the audience clap and laugh. Bolsonaro already stated that he will move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, just like his mentor, Donald Trump.
Now this contingent of the Israeli army (IDF) was sent to Brazil as “humanitarian aid”, coming from an army which routinely oppresses, brutalizes and kills Palestinians in the occupied territories. It may sound like a joke. A joke in bad taste! Like “pinkwashing” and other PR strategies, this is just another stunt in order to whitewash Israel’s gross human rights violations in the occupied territories of Palestine.
Israel has no moral ground to say that is going to save Brazilian lives while is destroying Palestinian lives in its own backyard.
Shame on Bolsonaro! Shame on Netanyahu! Shame on Israel!