Brazilian movements establish Solidarity Committee and score first victory against Free Trade with Apartheid Israel
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Brazilian movements establish Solidarity Committee and score first victory against Free Trade with Apartheid Israel

As Apartheid Israel’s crimes are escalating in Palestine and Lebanon, Brazilian solidarity activists have geared up to raise awareness, rally support and create the organizational structures for sustained solidarity against the Zionist regime. Some 80 civil society organizations and movements have gathered in São Paulo to form the “Committee for Solidarity with the Arab Peoples”.

Brazil has an Arab population of 13 million – almost 10% of the total population, with , the Lebanese community alone comprising as many as 6 million people. Apartheid Israel’s crimes in Lebanon has significantly contributed to raise awareness within the Brazilian population. 8 Brazilian citizens have been already killed in Lebanon, and there are more than 20.000 Brazilians in that country, under continuous Israeli attack.

The new coalition has immediately started its work demanding from the Brazilian government to call back their ambassador and to completely cancel any plans to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Israel in the framework of Mercosur (the economic union among Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela).

On Friday 21st of July, approximately 3,000 protestors gathered to pressure the President of
Brazil to take action in opposing both the Israeli attack and the signing of the FTA. The following Friday, a commercial strike was called in São Paulo and Foz do Iguaçu. Shops in the city centers were closed while demonstrations and protests were held.

The popular mobilization, supported by the lobbying efforts of MPs and leading figures in public life, has already reached a very large, but still fragile, victory. The plans to sign a Free Trade Agreement between Mercosur and Israel had been thwarted for now. The agreement finalization was planned for the summit of the presidents in Cordoba (Argentina) on July 21st, but are delayed. When campaigning kicked off strongly in Brazil in early June, awareness quickly brought widespread support against the Agreement on board. The call spread rapidly and was upheld by most social movements in Brazil, from the Central Trade Union (CUT) to the landless movements (MST and MLST). Opposition reached the National Congress where MPs stood up to denounce the intentions of the government to sign the FTA with Israel. Candidates in this year’s Brazilian elections have made the opposition to the FTA with Israel their call. Despite the widespread protest and the hundreds of signatures endorsing the petitions sent to him opposing the FTA, the president himself has remained silent regarding the whole question. So, the struggle of the people continues.

It continues as well on a second front that asks for the Brazilian ambassador to Apartheid Israel to be called back. A new petition that integrates the opposition to the FTA with the call to bring the Brazilian ambassador home is gathering support. So far, the Brazilian government has not taken action yet, but the mobilization against diplomatic representation with the Occupation is steadily growing and activists are optimistic to be able to make steps forward as well on this side.

The next large protest against the Zionist aggression and occupation is scheduled for the 6th of August. It will further underline the core demands of the activists and strengthen the power of the solidarity movement to force its government to cut the ties with Apartheid Israel.