RIO DE JANIERO — A group of 200 left-wing Brazilian university professors and researchers have signed an online letter supporting an academic boycott of Israel.
“The professors and researchers who sign below, reaffirming their commitment to social justice and against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, declare their support for the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel in the terms proposed by the BDS movement,” reads the letter.
Most supporters serve at Brazilian government-run public universities, including the country’s most prestigious Unicamp, USP and UFRJ. Long-time Brazilian diplomat and former United Nations rapporteur, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, is the most prominent figures among the signatories.
Two weeks ago, Pinheiro slammed Brazilian congressman Jean Wyllys for visiting Israel by saying, “It’s insolent that a human rights activist pays a visit to Israel nowadays” after Wyllys, Brazil’s only openly gay congressman and human rights defender, declared he objected to BDS despite his leftist platform.
Earlier this month, a group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a petition against the appointment of former settler leader Dani Dayan as Israel’s ambassador to Brasilia, complaining that the Jewish state had bypassed protocol because there was no prior communication with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry or any presentation of his credentials for an agreement. In opposition, a pro-Dayan petition gathered nearly 4,000 signatures.
After a six-month diplomatic imbroglio, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if Brazil does not approve Dayan as ambassador, Israel will not offer another diplomat, and there will be a “de facto downgrade in relations” between the two countries.
In a recent television interview aired in Brazil and Israel, President Dilma Rousseff’s diplomatic far-left advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia declared Dayan’s appointment controversial over Brazil’s stance “against the occupation of Palestinian territories.”