From Bolsonaro to Lula: Understanding Brazil’s Passive Neutrality on Palestine and Israel
foreign policy

This essay examines Brazil’s foreign policy approach toward Palestine and Israel by comparing the administrations of Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva. In outlining elements of continuity and discontinuity between them, the essay argues that it is necessary to examine Brazil’s strategic diplomacy regarding Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and its brutal attacks on Palestinians in light of key structural changes that have occurred in Brazil. These include the growth of the agribusiness sector and the Evangelical Church, both of which have significant influence over the foreign policy choices of successive Brazilian presidential administrations, regardless of their political or ideological leanings. As a result, as this essay shows, neither Bolsonaro nor Lula could fully implement their stated agendas toward Palestine and Israel; indeed, despite the latter’s defense of a two-state solution, this will not translate into punitive measures against Israel, especially given the international permissiveness of Israeli crimes.

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Author biography: 

Gabriel Huland is a lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Bath, UK. He holds a PhD from SOAS, UK. Prior to joining academia, he was a journalist.