Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arab Christian President of Brazil to Improve Relations with Israel - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

It would be an interesting quirk of history that an Arab Christian president would repair relations with Israel broken by Rousseff.

The only good thing about Latin American politics is that change is constant. While America spent two miserable terms suffering through Obama and it is far from clear that the prog nightmare is over, a fresh wind is blowing south of the border. The "Chavez" coalition has come apart with Argentina's Kirchner indicted, the Venezuelan regime on its last legs and and Brazil's Rousseff impeached.

The departures of Kirchner and Rousseff are good for America. Kirchner kept flirting with restarting a war with the UK. Rousseff was anti-American in predictable ways. But they're also good for the Jewish community.
The elevation of a centrist vice president, Michel Temer, as Brazil’s president amid the impeachment process of Dilma Rousseff is expected to result in a less strained relationship between Brazil and Israel, as well as its Jewish community, Jewish leaders said.
Temer, 75, the son of Lebanese immigrants, took the helm of Latin America’s largest nation on Thursday. He has been vice president since 2011.
Rousseff, who has served for 13 years, was suspended by the Brazilian Congress for 180 days as part of an ongoing impeachment process. She has rankled the Jewish community with what were seen as anti-Israel remarks, including calling Israel’s conflict with Hamas in 2014 “a massacre.”
Also, Brazil refused to accept the appointment of Dani Dayan, as the Israeli ambassador to Brasilia. In March, Dayan was named consul general in New York and no one has been named in his place.
Among his first moves, Temer announced that Jose Serra, a longtime friend of the Jewish community, as the minister of foreign relations and Ilan Goldfajn, an esteemed economist who was born in Israel, as president of the Central Bank. Goldfajn, who is Jewish, will attempt to boost the world’s sixth largest economy in the throes of its biggest financial crisis in a century.
In January, in light of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Temer welcomed Lottenberg, who addressed him on the importance of the approval of Brazil’s first anti-terrorism law, which eventually passed in March.
Born in Sao Paulo and a Roman Catholic, Temer is the son of Maronite Lebanese immigrants from the town of Btaaboura in the Koura district, neighboring the capital Tripoli in northern Lebanon. His father fled to Brazil to escape famine and war in the 1920s.
It would be an interesting quirk of history that an Arab Christian president would repair relations with Israel broken by Rousseff. Meanwhile the left is predictably furious.
Brazil's interim government dismissed criticism by leftist countries in Latin America, including Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, over the impeachment process of Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended as president by the senate.
The leftist president of El Salvador on Saturday added to the regional pressure on Brazil, saying that he would not recognize the interim government and recalled his ambassador, claiming there had been "political manipulation" in Latin America's biggest country.
The bickering, not rare between leftist leaders and more conservative governments at a time when much of the region is moving to the right, comes as centrist Michel Temer, Rousseff's vice president, assumes Brazil's presidency and scrambles to pull the economy out of its worst recession since the 1930s.
"Who are Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua to teach about democracy?" wrote Eliane Cantanhede, a prominent columnist for the Estado do S. Paulo newspaper. "Cuba?! Venezuela?!"
Good question.

Daniel Greenfield


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