BRAZIL’S President Jair Bolsonaro this week retracted remarks in which he said that the Nazis “can be forgiven” for the atrocities of the Holocaust.
The far-right leader’s comments — made at a meeting with evangelical pastors in Rio de Janeiro — caused outrage in Israel and beyond.
He was applauded when he said: “We can forgive, but we cannot forget.”
But in Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin stormed: “We will never give a hand to those who deny the truth or try to cause it to be forgotten. Not by individuals nor organisations nor heads of states.
“No one will enjoin the forgiveness of the Jewish people.”
Earlier this month, Bolsonaro visited the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
During that visit, the he labelled Nazism a leftist ideology.
Faced with the fierce reaction to his Rio speech, Bolsonaro attempted to clarify his remarks.
He said: “To the people of Israel, I wrote in the guestbook of the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, ‘Those who forget their past are doomed to not have a future’.
“Therefore, any other interpretation is only in the interest of those who want to push me away from my Jewish friends.
“Forgiveness is something personal. My speech was never meant to be used in a historical context, especially one where millions of innocent people were murdered in a cruel genocide.”
If you have a story or an issue you want us to cover, let us know - in complete confidence - by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, 0161-741 2631 or via Facebook / Twitter