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22 Jan, 2019 17:00

Jewish group sues Brazilian cartoonist over Netanyahu & Bolsonaro ‘Nazi hug’ drawing

Jewish group sues Brazilian cartoonist over Netanyahu & Bolsonaro ‘Nazi hug’ drawing

A Jewish community group in Brazil is suing an iconic political cartoonist for anti-Semitism, over a drawing depicting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a “swastika embrace.”

The Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro filed the suit against the cartoonist Aroeira on January 15. The offending image shows both leaders hugging with their eyes closed while their arms form a swastika.

Both leaders have had a cordial relationship since the right-wing Bolsonaro came to power following tense elections in October, with the men declaring themselves a “brotherhood” during Netanyahu’s visit to Brazil for Bolsonaro’s inauguration earlier this month.

Bolsonaro, meanwhile, has pledged to move the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and reaffirmed Israel’s right to have the city as its capital.

First published in the Rio broadsheet, O Dia, the cartoon was circulated widely on social media in December. While the image is not available on Aroeira’s back catalogue of cartoons on newspaper’s website, it can still be found elsewhere online.

Slamming the cartoon on a popular Brazilian TV show last weekend, the Jewish federation’s president Arnon Velmovitsky said: “The issue will be viewed with severity. We can’t tolerate the offense to Jews and other minorities.”

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However, news of the suit came to wider public attention for a different reason thanks to Dia’s rival publication, O Globo. The paper spotlighted the fact that leading the plaintiff’s legal department is Rodrigo Fux, the son of Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Luis Fux.

Last week, the judge suspended a probe by state prosecutors into suspicious payments made by the driver of President Bolsonaro’s son, senator-elect Flavio, as part of an anti-graft investigation that has plagued Bolsonaro Sr’s first weeks in office.

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