President of Brazil Causes Uproar After Saying Holocaust Can be ‘Forgiven But Not Forgotten’


The far-right president of Brazil stirred controversy this week after he declared that the Holocaust can be “forgiven but not forgotten.”

Jair Bolsonaro made the comments while speaking to a group of Evangelical Christians on Thursday.

“We can forgive, but we can’t forget. That’s my phrase,” he said. “Those who forget their past are condemned not to have a future.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin referenced a Biblical figure who tormented the Israelites in his response to Bolsonaro’s remark. The Torah instructs that what Amalek did should not be forgotten.

“What Amalek did to us inscribed in our memory, the memory of an ancient people. We will always oppose those who deny the truth or those who wish to expunge our memory – not individuals or groups, not party leaders or prime ministers. We will never forgive and never forget,” Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

He further scolded: “The Jewish people will always fight anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Political leaders are responsible for shaping the future. Historians describe the past and research what happened. Neither one should stray into the territory of the other.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not issued a statement on the Brazilian president’s comments.

In an attempt to clarify the matter and smooth things over, the Brazilian president sent a message to Israeli ambassador Yossi Shelley.

It read, according to The Independent: “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.”

The statement continued on: “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.”

[image via screengrab]

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: