A Brazilian lawmaker compared Dani Dayan, Israel’s candidate for ambassador to his country, to a guard at a Nazi concentration camp because of his past role as a leader of the West Bank settler community.
Parliamentarian Carlos Marun made the comments, which were caught on video, in August, the Hebrew-language Ynet website reported on Sunday. Marun initiated ongoing Brazilian opposition to Dayan’s appointment, the report said.
A Brazilian official said recently that his country would not accept Dayan as ambassador.
“To send a settler leader to represent Israel in Brazil is an insult to our country,” Marun said. “We can’t accept such provocation. It would be like Germany sending to Brazil as an ambassador a former concentration camp guard, like Chile sending as an ambassador to Brazil a prison guard from the dictatorship, or South Africa sending a prison torturer from the apartheid period.
“I have nothing against the existence of the State of Israel, whose borders are already recognized and take up 85 percent of Palestine,” Marun continued. “These settlers are agents of Zionism that the world can’t accept. They are thieves of others’ land. In what is an insult to Brazil, an insult to the government, and an insult to millions of Brazilians whose origins, like mine, are from the Arab world — Israel chooses to send the leader of these settlers to represent it in our land.
“We can’t accept this provocation, we can’t accept this. Brazil needs to respond. In this way Israel wants to humiliate Brazil, ‘the diplomatic dwarf’ as it’s been called in the past.”
Last week a senior official in Brasilia said that following diplomatic protocol, Brazil would not respond to Israel’s months-old request to confirm Dayan’s nomination, waiting instead until Jerusalem gets the hint and proposes a different envoy to its capital. Dayan was named as envoy in August, and endorsed by the Israeli cabinet in September, but Brazil has maintained a frosty silence on the appointment rather than issuing the customary confirmation.
The South American country rejects Dayan not only because of his senior positions in the Yesha Council, a committee representing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but also due to the unorthodox way in which his appointment was announced, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his nomination of Dayan as Israel’s new ambassador only one year after the current envoy, Reda Mansour, took up his post there.
According to diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Mansour’s wife did not want to move to Brasilia, and he therefore informed Jerusalem that he wanted to quit. As soon as Netanyahu — who is also foreign minister — heard that Mansour was planning to vacate the post in December, he publicly nominated Dayan without first informing the Brazilian Foreign Ministry of what had transpired.