Was Lula BANNED from Israel? Understand the term "persona non grata" declared to the president

Recently, President Lula made statements about the latest events in Gaza, stating that the situation is similar to the Holocaust.

Recently, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva found himself at the center of an international controversy after comparing the humanitarian disaster in Gaza with the Holocaust.

This comparison led Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, to classify Lula as "persona non grata" until there is a retraction.

But what does it really mean to be "persona non grata"? And what are the practical implications of this declaration on diplomatic relations between Brazil and Israel? Check out all the details below.

President Lula’s recent statements led Israel to declare him "persona non grata". Understand! / Photo: publicity

Statements by President Lula

Initially, the special advisor to the Presidency, Celso Amorim, met with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to discuss the Brazilian government’s response to Israel’s decision to declare Lula a "persona non grata".

This measure was a reaction to Lula’s statements, made in Ethiopia, which compared Israeli actions in Gaza to the Holocaust, leading to more than 28,000 deaths and the displacement of more than 1.5 million Palestinians.

Lula’s statement sparked outrage among Jewish entities and criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Lula of crossing a "red line".

Impeachment request

In Brazil, deputies allied with Jair Bolsonaro and led by Carla Zambelli announced a request for impeachment against Lula, based on an article that considers acts of hostility against foreign nations a crime of responsibility.

PT president Gleisi Hoffmann defended Lula, stating that his statements were aimed at the Israeli government, not the Jewish people.

Vice President Geraldo Alckmin also commented, highlighting that Lula condemned Hamas terrorism and defended a ceasefire.

The meaning of “persona non grata”

The expression "persona non grata" is a diplomatic term used to indicate that an individual is no longer welcome in a particular country.

Although it does not imply a direct expulsion, the declaration has significant symbolic weight, reflecting a government’s discontent with the actions or statements of a foreign representative.

The consequences of the declaration for Lula

Although the "persona non grata" declaration does not formally prohibit Lula from entering Israel, it marks a moment of diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Israel’s decision to summon the Brazilian ambassador to a meeting at the Holocaust Museum, instead of the usual location, shows how they are handling the issue.

FEPAL’s reaction

The Palestinian Arab Federation of Brazil (FEPAL) considers it an honor for Lula’s biography to be declared "persona non grata" by Israel, following his criticism of the country over the conflict in Gaza.

FEPAL praised Lula’s position, considering it courageous and potentially capable of delaying an attack on Rafah. The lack of international criticism of Lula suggests, in FEPAL’s view, Israel’s isolation.

The entity reinforces Lula’s comparison between Israel’s actions in Gaza and the Holocaust, pointing to the high number of Palestinians killed in the conflict.

FEPAL is pressing for a total rupture in Brazil’s relations with the Israeli government and highlights the tacit international support for the Brazilian president in the face of the silence of Israel’s allies.

President Lula’s next steps

Palácio do Planalto plans to clarify that President Lula’s criticism of the conflict in Gaza is directed at the state of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, not at the Jewish people.

Despite the international repercussion of his statements comparing Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in Gaza to the Holocaust, there is no provision for an apology. Lula, in a meeting with advisors, discusses how to approach the issue, maintaining his criticism of the war.

Internally, there is an understanding that, although there is no error in Lula’s statements, they can be interpreted as an attack on the Jewish people.

Options such as a letter or statement clarifying its position are being considered, aiming to separate the actions of the Israeli government from the Jewish population.

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