The head of Brazilian diplomacy, Mauro Vieira, yesterday accused his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz of telling “lies”, a new episode in the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two countries, triggered by Brazilian President Lula’s comparison of the war in the Gaza Strip with the Holocaust.

Brazil’s center-left President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sparked a political firestorm on Sunday by accusing Israel of committing “genocide” against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, comparing Israeli military operations in the enclave to the extermination of Jews by the Nazis.

Last Monday, Lula was declared persona non grata by the Israeli government.

Israeli Foreign Minister Katz blasted the “very serious anti-Semitic attack against the Jewish people and the State of Israel”.

The statements of the Israeli minister “yesterday (ie the day before yesterday Monday) and today (ie yesterday Tuesday) are unacceptable in terms of their form and lies in their essence”, Mr. Vieira objected, addressing journalists.

The fact that Israel’s foreign ministry “addresses in this way the friendly head of state, Brazil, is out of line and disgusting. That (…) he systematically resorts to misinterpreting statements and lies is shocking and very serious,” added the head of Brazilian diplomacy in Rio de Janeiro, where the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting is being held today.

Earlier yesterday, Mr. Katz sent a new message to Lula via X (formerly Twitter): “Millions of Jews around the world are waiting for you to apologize. How dare you compare Israel to Hitler? What a shame. Your comparison is immoral, delusional. Shame on Brazil and spit in the face of Brazilian Jews,” he insisted.