Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said international calls for Israel to “freeze construction in Judea and Samaria are anti-Semitism,” in an interview with Brazilian daily O Estado de Sao Paolo, during a trip this week and last to Latin America.
“Imagine this elsewhere: members of a specific group forbidden to build houses. Everyone would say that is a racist decision,” Elkin said. “We cannot be the only country in the world to say, because of the fact that you are Jewish, you are forbidden to build homes in Jerusalem.”
Elkin will meet Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota this week in Brasilia, and was asked what his message would be for Brazil, a country that recognized the Palestinian Authority’s 2012 unilateral declaration of independence, and became one of its largest donors.
“I want to talk about our friendship: there is deep disagreement between our two countries. Brazil understands that we need to take care of our security, for without it, peace is impossible. Only direct talks can bring peace and, paradoxically, those who support Palestinian unilateral initiatives at the UN are the ones that hurt the chances of reaching an agreement. But my suggestion to the Minister will be to focus on the big interests. Israel is a technological powerhouse and Brazil, a global leader,” he said.