Brazil withdraws ambassador from Israel

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Photo: Associated Press

Brazil recalled its ambassador to Israel on Wednesday after months of tensions between the two countries over the war in Gaza, marking the latest fallout from a South American nation over Israel's military campaign in the Palestinian territory.

The move was announced in Brazil's official newspaper, AP reports.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has said that no official message has yet been received from the Brazilian government on the matter. However, following media reports, the Brazilian charge d'affaires was summoned to the ministry on Thursday for a meeting.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been a frequent critic of Israel's offensive in Gaza, which he compared to the Holocaust earlier this year. 

This led Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, to summon the Brazilian ambassador, Frederico Meyer, to the national Holocaust museum in Jerusalem for a public rebuke.

Wednesday's action represented an escalation and a diplomatic downgrade, with the Brazilian Embassy in Israel left without an ambassador. 

According to an official at Brazil's foreign ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Wednesday's departure comes in response to Meyer's humiliation by Israel's top diplomat.

Meyer has moved to Geneva and will join Brazil's permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organizations.