RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (JTA) — The Jewish community accused a popular Brazilian singer of surrendering to anti-Semitism.
Caetano Veloso declared he will not return to Israel due to the “oppression” of the Palestinians only a few months after performing in Tel Aviv in defiance of a strong boycott appeal from leftist groups.
“Caetano surrendered to the anti-Semitic wave and preferred to act blindly before the incitement to terrorism against Jews,” said Fernando Lottenberg, president of Brazilian Israelite Confederation, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization. “Instead of not returning to Israel, he should go to the country whose music he declared to love so much and understand better what happens there.”
Veloso’s declaration was published over the weekend by Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil’s most influential daily paper, with the headline “To visit Israel to never go back to Israel.” The singer said he reached his decision after visiting a Palestinian village in the West Bank.
He and his longtime partner, Gilberto Gil, refused to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv in July despite Brazilian and international leftist protests. Brazilian Jews and the Brazilian community in Israel praised the singer at the time.