Brazil’s president likens impeachment calls to Nazi treatment of Jews

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff waving to the crowd as she enters a meeting with supporters from the legal community at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 22, 2016. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff waving to the crowd as she enters a meeting with supporters from the legal community at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 22, 2016. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff compared attempts to impeach her over corruption scandals to Nazi persecution of Jews.

Rousseff, who often gives rambling speeches, made the analogy Thursday during an address of left-wing supporters in Brasilia, angering some Jewish critics.

“Recently, a person told me it is very similar to Nazism,” she said of the campaigns to impeach her. “First, you put a star on someone’s chest and says ‘he is a Jew.’ Then you put him in a concentration camp. Such intolerance cannot happen in our government.”

Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, protested the comparison, which he called “miserable,” saying “no segment of Brazilian society deserves this type of Nazi comparison.”

Mauro Wainstock, editor of Rio’s Alef News Jewish newspaper, wrote Friday, “Comparing peaceful democratic rallies to the Nazi genocidal machine is an unfortunate and ridiculously absurd insult to all the victims and their families.”

In another reference to fascism, Rousseff said that Brazilians have never before “had such a fascist side” as today. She was commenting on the actions of a physicians who reportedly denied medical assistance to a child patient whose mother supported Rousseff’s Workers Party.

The attempts to impeach Rousseff over corruption scandals are fueled by social unrest, deep recession and the country’s greatest political crisis since the 1980s.

Last month, millions rallied in the streets of São Paulo, Rio and other major cities to demand Rousseff’s impeachment.

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