Palestinians Stand in Solidarity with the Oppressed in Brazil’s Favelas


The Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society leading the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, joins Brazil’s favela communities, Black-led and other social justice movements in demanding an immediate end to the horrific crimes committed over the last days against the Black and marginalized people in the favelas of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and accountability for those responsible. 

Since large scale atrocities started last Friday, at least 55 people have been killed in the attacks on the favelas by the police commanded by the far-right governors in the two states. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has demanded an investigation into the bloody attacks.

Brazil’s racial and social justice movements have denounced the siege of the favelas by thousands of civil and military police, where partially hooded men invaded homes and streets. They relate how families with children with disabilities, especially on the autism spectrum, have been terrorized by the bombs and gunshots, and how; men have been executed inside their homes in the presence of relatives, including newborn babies. Residents tell of threats and torture. Students can’t venture out on the streets to attend school. The governor of São Paulo intends to continue the brutal assault for a full month. 

Indigenous Palestinians, suffering from and resisting an ongoing, 75-year-old regime of Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid, stand in solidarity with the Brazilian people. We know all too well the reality of devastating, lethal and racist attacks and siege on our towns, villages and refugee camps. 

Only two weeks ago, we welcomed leaders of the Black and Favela movements in Palestine to strengthen our mutual solidarity. We know that our struggle for life, dignity, justice and equality is inherently linked with worldwide struggles for racial, social, economic, gender, Indigenous and climate justice, including the struggles of the Black and Indigenous communities in Brazil that have been fighting for centuries against genocide and structural racism.

We strongly condemn the well-documented role Israel’s oppressive regime has played for decades in arming, training, and otherwise supporting far-right regimes, death squads, fascist dictatorships and other oppressors across the world, especially in Latin America, including Brazil.

The banners of progressive Brazilian movements calling for a military embargo on Israel because “Israeli weapons kill in Palestine and Brazil” have never been as relevant and urgent as they are today. 

Both the militarized police forces in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are using Israeli assault rifles, “field tested” in the attacks on our people, to kill and terrorise the favelas. São Paulo’s police uses Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI) Negev machine guns as well as Israeli armoured vehicles in the attacks. Rio de Janeiro’s military police uses among others IWI automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles.

Over the last decades Israel and its security companies have been training the police of both states in Brazil, exporting Israeli know-how in repression developed over 75 years of apartheid, military occupation and colonization against the Palestinian people. The opening of an office of the Israeli National Police in São Paulo in 2019 to strengthen the special relationship between the Israeli police and the police of São Paulo, in other Brazilian states and across Latin America can only contribute to worsening the human rights violations committed by these forces. Only a few weeks ago, the head of security of São Paulo’s government was in Israel meeting Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Ben-Gvir and Israeli military and police officials to acquire more training, arms and cooperation from apartheid Israel. 

That Brazil’s Bolsonarism, espoused by the governors of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, is militarily and ideologically seeking an ever closer alliance with Israeli apartheid is as unsurprising as devastating. We therefore add our voices to those of progressive movements across Brazil calling on the federal government and parliament of Brazil to impose an immediate military embargo, a comprehensive ban on any military and security cooperation and trade with Israel. 

We remain committed to strengthening our ties with the Black, favela and Indigenous movements and all those forces that defend human rights and social justice in Brazil to build joint struggles for freedom, justice and equality. 

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