By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Less than a month after visiting Israel, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, has angered the Israeli President Reuvlen Rivlin and Jewish entities by suggesting that the Holocaust should be forgiven, however, not forgotten.
“We will never give a hand to those who deny the truth or try to cause it to be forgotten,” said Rivlin, adding, “Not by individuals nor organizations, not by head of parties nor by heads of states. No one will enjoin the forgiveness of the Jewish people, and no interest will buy it.”
According to Rivlin, politicians should not interfere in the history terrain.
“Political leaders are responsible for shaping the future. Historians describe the past and research what happened. Neither should stray into the territory of the other,” he added.
Earlier this month, Bolsonaro took a four-day visit to Israel, at the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the trip, he visited the Yad Vashem museum. Over the weekend, museum officials criticized President Bolsonaro’s statement about the Holocaust.
“We disagree with the Brazilian president’s statement that the Holocaust can be forgiven. It is not in anyone’s position to determine if Holocaust crimes can be forgiven,” says a statement issued by the Yad Yashem museum, also known as the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Early Sunday, Bolsonaro tried to clarify what he said, “When I visited Jerusalem, I wrote in the visitors’ book that those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it. So any other interpretation of my words is a matter of interest by those who want to put distance between me and my Jewish friends.”