Brazil: Opposition prepares impeachment against Lula da Silva for provoking diplomatic crisis with Israel

Some 108 parliamentarians demand accountability from the president, who incited a break in relations after accusing Netanyahu's government of genocide in Gaza.

Brazilian opposition legislators presented this Tuesday a draft impeachment against President Lula da Silva for his latest statements about Israel that caused a diplomatic crisis. The Brazilian socialist accused Israel of carrying out a genocide similar to the Holocaust.

As a result of these words, the Israeli government responded by declaring Lula da Silva persona non grata in Israel, which prevents the Brazilian leader from traveling to Israeli soil. Since then, relations between both countries have gone through a diplomatic cyclone. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz announced that the persona non grata status would remain until Lula da Silva publicly apologized.

Since this Tuesday, this is not the only consequence that da Silva has faced. At least 108 opposition parliamentarians signed a resolution to hold him accountable for his statements and bring him to impeachment before the Brazilian legislature.

This initiative is led by the Liberal Party Deputy Carla Zambelli and brings together, for the moment, 27 opposition parties. It is the second impeachment from Zambelli, who in 2019 already presented a motion against former President Dilma Rousseff. Nor is it the first that Lula da Silva faces in this legislature.

Act of diplomatic hostility

The opposition parliamentarians who signed the motion against the president consider that the statements made against Israel are "an act of hostility against a foreign nation. … This request is not bravado against Lula... it is an action in defense of national security," said Deputy Carla Zambelli. During his mandate, former President Jair Bolsonaro signed a series of agreements with the Israeli government. Among the relevant areas, defense and the aerospace industry stood out, which both countries intend to develop in collaboration.

Lula da Silva has a very weak majority in the legislative chambers, although not absolute, made up of a coalition of parties that support him conditionally. However, there is no evidence to indicate that the opposition's impeachment will succeed against the president, it is another layer added to Brazilian political instability.

Rebuke of American diplomacy

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken showed his dissatisfaction with the position adopted by the Brazilian presidency. At a meeting of G20 foreign officials in Rio de Janeiro, Blinken reportedly discussed this with President Lula da Silva.

"The secretary addressed the issue (of Gaza) and made clear our disagreement with those comments," a State Department official reportedly assured the AFP agency this Wednesday.