July 18, 2024

The following has been translated and republished from Em Defesa do Comunsimo.

More than 70 organizations, including the Brazilian Revolutionary Communist Party (PCBR), have joined forces to demand immediate and concrete measures from the Brazilian government against its complicity in the genocide in Gaza, responding to the call of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement. During the first week of July, the Brazilian campaign for a military embargo on Israel includes a series of scheduled actions, with July 3 designated as the National Day of Mobilization for the Military Embargo on Israel. These actions aim not only to pressure the Brazilian government, but also to raise awareness among the population about the importance of not financing, directly or indirectly, the Palestinian genocide and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the state of Israel.

It is unacceptable that the Brazilian government maintains military agreements with Israel and is more responsible in not collaborating with a regime that perpetuates genocide and apartheid against the Palestinian people. This movement gains urgency amid an absurd contract between the Brazilian Army and Elbit Systems, an Israeli arms company, for the purchase of 36 armored vehicles, worth almost R$1 billion. Elbit Systems, the main supplier of arms to the Israel Defense Forces, profits from the war in Gaza, highlighting the relationship between death and the war technology used by these companies. Furthermore, in March 2024, the Brazilian Air Force published a notice of non-competitive bidding for logistical support for Heron-I drones, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, with a potential value of R$86 million. IAI, one of Israel’s largest military companies, has international contracts that directly finance genocidal actions by the Israeli state.

Maintaining agreements with companies such as Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries is a betrayal of the human rights principles that the Lula government claims to defend. Meanwhile, Lula and his ministers are threatening to cut essential subsidies for health and education, putting the quality of life of the Brazilian population at risk. Despite these issues, Lula signaled support for the purchase, exposing yet another contradiction between his speech and his practical actions as president of the republic, unmasking the hypocrisy of verbally condemning the genocide while materially strengthening the Israeli war machine in practice.

In a statement, BDS Brazil argues that “It is necessary to signal that dissatisfaction with what is happening in Gaza deserves actions beyond symbolic speeches. It also means rejecting any complicity with an industry directly responsible for the greatest genocide of the 21st century to date. Something very important for a leader who seeks to stand alongside the oppressed and the workers.” This is not the first movement that has been made; the “Revogaço Já” campaign, also linked to the BDS movement, previously emerged as a response to the approval by the Chamber of Deputies of cooperation agreements with Israel in the areas of public security, defense, air services and social security, signed by former presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Michel Temer.

The agreements include Legislative Decree 228/2021, which was already enacted during the Bolsonaro administration, establishing military cooperation between Brazil and Israel. This agreement facilitates the exchange of military technologies and defense strategies, raising concerns about the influence of these practices on militarization and human rights violations in Brazil and beyond. In addition, Legislative Decree Project (PDL) 554/2021, currently awaiting deliberation in the Senate, proposes a public security cooperation agreement. This agreement involves direct collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, an entity known for its ethnic cleansing practices in occupied territories, such as the West Bank. Another critical point is PDL 465/2022, which deals with the Air Services Agreement between Brazil and Israel. This agreement regulates overflight rights and stopovers for airlines, raising concerns about the legitimacy of these operations in internationally disputed areas.

These agreements deepen Brazil’s complicity with the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people, particularly in the context of the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The campaign calls on the Brazilian government to immediately withdraw its signature, not ratify and denounce these agreements, thus ending its collaboration with a state involved in serious human rights violations and apartheid practices. The revocation of these agreements aims to send a strong signal about the war crimes that are happening every day in Gaza. It aims to reduce funding and support for Israeli companies and institutions involved in the occupation and militarization of the Palestinian territories, and contribute to the weakening of the material structures that perpetuate oppression and the Israeli war machine.

Oil and Genocide

Internationally, a recent investigation conducted by Oil Change International in collaboration with Data Desk has revealed how the global oil industry is fueling Israel’s war machine in Gaza. Since the escalation of the conflict in October 2023, Israel has relied heavily on fossil fuels from countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Brazil, Gabon and the United States. Oil companies such as BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and TotalEnergies have been identified as facilitators of these supplies. In addition, the United States has provided JP8 fuel tanks as part of military aid, with three shipments since the beginning of the conflict, despite an interim ruling issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in January 2024, which warned Israel of the need to prevent acts of genocide.

This situation exposes a significant contradiction: while some countries and companies continue to supply the Israeli military with fuel used in the devastating attacks on Gaza, others, such as Colombia, have suspended new purchases and contracts with companies linked to the Israeli state. This discrepancy highlights the complexity and gravity of international relations and corporate responsibility. Such actions make fuel suppliers complicit in war crimes and genocide, underscoring the need for a more robust and consistent response from the international community to prevent and suppress these human rights violations.

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