Brazilian President Sets the Standard for Leadership

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva spoke for millions around the world when he raised the question of whether or not the Western political elites have the moral fitness to survive, given their toleration and even support for the Netanyahu government’s ongoing genocide in Gaza. That is the question of the hour. One which Lula put on the table when asked in his Feb. 18 press conference in Ethiopia, after the African Union summit, why Brazil did not join the United States and most of the nations of Europe in cutting funding for the UNRWA, the UN’s relief agency for Palestine.

When I see the rich world announcing that it is stopping its humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, I wonder how politically aware these people are? And how big is their solidarity at heart, that they cannot see that it’s not a war going on in the Gaza Strip, but a genocide!” he exclaimed. If UNRWA’s funding is cut, he explained, the humanitarian aid desperately needed cannot be provided.

Establishment media censored Lula’s warning, playing up instead his comparison of what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people in Gaza today to what “occurred when Hitler decided to kill the Jews”. Israel and the rules-based order crowd went ballistic against him. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the President of Brazil to be persona non grata in Israel until he apologizes. U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken explained to Lula how he was wrong. Brazilian opposition parties aligned with disgraced former President Jair Bolsonaro are waving Israeli flags in their demonstrations against Lula.

However, the Brazilian President is not about to bow before the “rules-based-order”. He spent 19 months in jail from 2018-2019 on fraudulent charges cooked up as part of an “anti-corruption” operation run directly by the U.S. Department of Justice. He said in a Feb. 23 speech in Brazil that “just as I said when I was in prison that I would not accept a deal to get out of jail and that I wouldn’t trade my freedom for my dignity, I say: I won’t trade my dignity for falsehood. I am in favor of the creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian state. May this Palestinian state live in harmony with the State of Israel. What the government of the State of Israel is doing is not war, it is genocide.”

At his press conference in Ethiopia, Lula also discussed the need for a new system to fight poverty throughout the world, and how the BRICS can contribute to that. Concerning the role of the World Bank and the IMF, he asked whether these institutions will help finance the development of poor countries, or “continue to suffocate them”. As chairman of the G20 this year, he intends to make that a primary issue, leading into the summit of the Group to be held Nov. 18-19 in Rio de Janeiro.

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