Bolsonaro says Nazis were ‘leftists’ following visit to Yad Vashem
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Bolsonaro says Nazis were ‘leftists’ following visit to Yad Vashem

Controversial Brazilian president makes claim after trip to Jerusalem Holocaust museum, despite it being widely accepted that Nazism was a far-right movement

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro during a visit at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on April 2, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro during a visit at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on April 2, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

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 the claim by his foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, that Nazis were leftists.

“There is no doubt, right?” Bolsonaro replied, according to Reuters.

It is widely accepted that Nazism was a far-right movement. Yad Vashem’s website says that a range of factors, including Germany’s defeat in World War I, “created fertile soil for the growth of radical right-wing groups in Germany, spawning entities such as the Nazi Party.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a visit at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on April 2, 2019 (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

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.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touch the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 1, 2019 (Menahem KAHANA / POOL / AFP)

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 the environment and human rights.

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