Jewish Tours

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Relations with Israel

The Brazilian statesman Oswaldo Aranha – who, as a minister in the 1930s and 1940s, was instrumental in restricting the immigration of Jewish refugees from Europe when serving as foreign minister in the war years – presided over the 1947 General UN Assembly, which voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of the Jewish state. Apart from casting his delegation's vote in favor of the Partition Resolution, Aranha played a key role in the adoption of the resolution, preventing delaying tactics and guiding the Assembly to the conclusive vote. In appreciation of his historical role, a street in Tel Aviv and the cultural center in kibbutz Beror Ḥayil (settled by Brazilian Jews) were named after him. Brazil recognized Israel in February 1949 and from 1952 maintained an embassy in Tel Aviv; Israel had an embassy in Rio de Janeiro which later was moved to Brasilia, and a consulate general in São Paulo, which was closed in 2004.

Brazil followed the line of the Western powers on the question of Jerusalem, voting in favor of the internationalization of the city (December 1949) and against its reunification by Israel after the Six-Day War (June 1967). In the wake of the Sinai Campaign (1956), Brazil supported the creation of the UN Emergency Force and contributed a contingent of soldiers. In 1967, as a member of the Security Council, Brazil was active in the negotiations and debates that followed the Six-Day War and sponsored the Latin American resolution which blocked the acceptance of anti-Israel proposals.

In 2003 commerce between the two countries was very limited relative to their total trade. Of Israel's $31.8 billion in exports $571 million went to South America and $364 million to Brazil, representing a little more than 1% of Israeli exports and around 0.7% of Brazilian imports. Israeli imports of Brazilian products amounted to $128 million in 2003 (out of $381 million from South America), representing less than 0.75% of Israel's total imports of $34.2 billion and 0.18% of Brazilian exports.

Technical cooperation existed but could have been much more intensive, especially because of Brazil's large semi-desert areas and the necessity to improve agriculture and provide water resources. The economic and commercial interests of Brazil in Arab countries, and the adoption by different governments of Third World policies, in general hostile to Israel, have been a permanent drawback to closer relations between Brazil and Israel. Despite the inroads of the Palestinian cause in Brazil, Brazilians maintain a positive image of Israel, an example of a country which has overcome difficulties and developed both economically and culturally, particularly in the field of agriculture, which remains a permanent challenge in the semi-arid northeastern region of Brazil, an area subject to extensive droughts. This region concentrates some of the poorest communities in the country.

In 2005 the Brazilian government organized in Brasilia a meeting with Arab and South American countries to improve commercial relations between the two regions. Despite Brazil's diplomatic efforts, the final document included anti-Israel rhetoric. In 2005, after the meeting in Brasilia, the Brazilian foreign minister visited Israel to tighten political and commercial relations between the two countries.

According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, a total of 9,914 Jews born in Brazil immigrated to Israel between 1948 and 2003. In 2003, 207 Jewish immigrants arrived from Brazil.


COLONIAL PERIOD: A. Novinsky, Cristãos-Novos na Bahia (1972); A. Wiznitzer, Os judeus no Brasil colonial (1960); C.E. Calaça and M.C. Maio, Cristãos Novos e Judeus: Um Balanço da Bibliografia sobre o Anti-Semitismo no Brasil (2000); E. and F. Wolff, A odisséia dos judeus no Recife. São Paulo (1979); E. Lipiner, Os judaizantes nas capitanias de cima. São Pauloestudos sobre os Cristãos-Novos do Brasil nos séculos XVI e XVII (1969). MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY PERIOD: Collection of documents and journals at the Arquivo Histórico Judaico Brasileiro; A. Milgram, Os judeus do Vaticano. A tentativa de salvação de católicosnão-arianosda Alemanha ao Brasil através do Vaticano (1939–1942); idem, Precursors of Zionism in Brazil before the Turn of the 20th Century (1995); B. Kushnir, Baile de Máscaras: Mulheres Judias e Prostituição. As Polacas e suas Associações de Ajuda Mútua (1996); H. Rattner, Tradição e Ruptura (A comunidade judaica em São Paulo) (1977); J.H. Lesser, Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question (1995); idem, Pawns of the Powerful: Jewish Immigration to Brazil 1904–1945 (1989); M.C. Maio, Nem Rotschild nem Trotsky: o pensamento anti-semita de Gustavo (1992); M.L. Tucci Carneiro, O anti-semitismo na Era Vargas: fantasmas de uma geração (1988). L. Milman (ed.), Ensaios Sobre o Anti-Semitismo Contemporâneo. Dos mitos e da crítica aos tribunais (2004); N. Falbel, Estudos sobre a comunidade judaica no Brasil (1984); R. Igel, Imigrantes Judeus Escritores Brasileiros (1997); R. Mizrahi, Imigrantes Judeus do Oriente Médio (2003); R. Decol, Imigrações urbanas para o Brasil: o caso dos judeus (1999); R. Cytrynowicz, Unibes 85 anos. Umahistória do trabalho assistencial na comunidade judaica em São Paulo (2000); idem, Integralismo e anti-semitismo nos textos de Gustavo Barroso na década de 30 (1992); S. Malamud, Documentário. Contribuição judaica à memória da comunidade judaica brasileira (1992).

[Roney Cytrynowicz (2nd ed.)]

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