H-Diplo Article Review 1174: Uziel on Grossman, “Diaspora, Delegitimisation, and Foreign Policy"

christopher ball Discussion

H-Diplo Article Review 1174

6 April 2023

Jonathan Grossman. “Diaspora, Delegitimisation, and Foreign Policy: Unpacking Brazil’s Vote for the “Zionism is Racism” United Nations Resolution,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 33:3 (September 2022): 518-542, https://doi.org/10.1080/09592296.2022.2113258

Editor: Diane Labrosse | Commissioning Editor: Thomas Maddux | Production Editor: Christopher Ball

Review by Eduardo Uziel,  Université Libre de Bruxelles

Brazil’s vote on the 1975 UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 (XXX) that equated Zionism and racism has developed an improbable similarity with Joseph Fouché’s 1792 vote to condemn Louis XVI to death: “In later days the Duke of Otranto will say or write a hundred thousand words in the attempt to explain away as unuttered these two words [la mort].”[1] Although the count is still far from that many words, there is a growing body of literature trying to explain (not explain away) the Brazilian vote. Jonathan Grossman’s stimulating article joins this cohort.

Grossman is uniquely qualified to write on the subject. His master’s thesis explored relations between Brazil and Israel in the early 1960s, and his doctoral thesis analyzed the interaction of the two countries from 1964 to 1975 and the role played therein by the Jewish community in Brazil.[2] In addition, he has produced several articles on the two countries[3]—including a remarkable exploration of “lack of interest” as a defining aspect of the Brazilian policy towards Jerusalem[4]—and others more broadly on diasporas[5] (not to mention his Hebrew-language studies). In a manner of speaking, the text under review can be considered both a derivation from his dissertations and a combination of his further studies.

Resolution 3379 (XXX) was hugely polemical, and countries at the UN had to decide how to vote on it on two occasions. Initially, in the Third Committee (human rights), the draft was voted on 18 October, and the decision was confirmed in plenary on 10 November. Controversy still rages about why some countries, like Brazil, voted in favor of the resolution. The article makes the case that, in general, the Brazilian government was prone to invest in political positions closer to those of the Arab countries. This preference, however, might not have been enough to tip the scale in such acrimonious decision. As its main point, Grossman argues that the decision of Brazil to vote in favor of the draft resolution in the Third Committee was ultimately taken to uphold a normative structure which rejected the legitimacy of the Jewish diaspora’s attachment to Zionism (522). This main argument is built from the criticism of other explanations and an argument from silence that “none of the available sources can rule out the possibility that, from the outset, Brasília had intended to vote in favor of Resolution 3379” (528).

Most references to Brazil’s vote on resolution 3379 (XXX) can be found in general texts regarding foreign policy and in a few on Brazilian history of the period.[6] Often, those are perfunctory allusions to the vote, as part of the wider foreign-policy change wrought by the government of General Ernesto Geisel, who was inaugurated in March 1974. At that juncture, the domestic and international changes had brought up the need to alter the Brazilian choices regarding some of the most controversial issues in international politics, bring the country’s position closer to that of the Third World and make it less influenced by Cold War polarization. This new strategy was dubbed by the general-president and his minister of foreign affairs, Antonio Azeredo da Silveira, as “responsible pragmatism” and the changes were focused on China, Portuguese colonialism, apartheid and the Arab-Israeli conflict—most of them having an effect on Brazilian votes in the United Nations. As a result, after 1974, there was a gradual change in the discourse and voting pattern of Brazil in the UN and other organizations on Middle East and other questions.[7] This is the context within which the vote on resolution 3379 (XXX) is debated by scholars. The historiography on the matter can be divided on three main currents.

The first and by far more common attributes the decision to a need, given the development model of the time, for Brazil to curry favor from the Arab states in order to obtain assurances of not being included in future oil boycotts or to receive investments from petrodollars or to gain access to new markets for industrialized goods. As Grossman discusses well, those explanations are divided in two strands (522-524). One, emphasizing the immediacy of the Brazilian decision, argues concrete advantages could be reaped from a vote—an idea that was discredited already by decisionmakers at the time, but continues to be advanced by scholars dealing laterally with the matter.[8] A second strand, to which the article partially belongs, perceives a longer-term strategic attitude in the Brazilian votes, building relationships with the Arab countries, including by being adversarial to Israel, in order to ensure no future uncertainties about oil supply.[9]

Without denying the relevance of gaining Arab trust or favour, a second current argues that Brazil’s foreign policy ‘adjustments’ should be seen in a broader setting, as an attempt to alter its position in the international scenario, coming closer to the Third World nations and cajoling their support to its own agenda, while shedding the image of a US satellite. This current also has two strands. The first suggests that most of Brazil’s diplomatic moves can be inscribed within a plan, as a display of the country’s willingness to join the ranks of the Third World and even lead it.[10] The second strand postulates a more tactical approach, wherein Brazilian decisions were taken to respond to challenges, based on the overall strategy of reneging the outdated US alliance and affirming independence, but with much room for improvisation and last-minute changes. This is the road suggested by Norma Breda dos Santos and Eduardo Uziel,[11] which Grossman discusses at some length, but misinterprets as a suggestion that emotions governed the decisions (527), a possibility which is specifically denied by the authors.[12] In either strand, research which supports the repositioning in the international scenario emphasizes how relatively little relevance the Arab-Israeli conflict had for Brazil and that non-committal options were often sought and decisionmakers had to scramble for post facto justification of votes. The idea of a lack of interest taken up by Grossman in a previous article could dovetail here.[13]

The third current was for many years mostly confined to political statements of the Jewish communities and to some officials.[14] In general, it attributes the Brazilian decision to Brazil’s perception or attitude towards the Jewish people or Israel. In this category fall the arguments that the gist behind the vote was essentially antisemitic or anti-Zionist, but also those that claim that Brazilian decisionmakers projected personal sentiments towards individual Jews or the Jewish people in taking their decision.[15] Grossman’s article should be seen as the first fully academic argument within this current. In spite of the statement that it considers oil as the reason behind the vote, the article makes a hypothesized normative anti-Zionism the meaningful factor in the decision (534). This line of reasoning, which portrays Brazilian decisionmakers as having devoted a large amount of attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict, to Israel itself, and to Brazil’s Jewish community, is disproportional to what is evidenced in most comprehensive studies of Brazilian foreign policy.[16]

The article does not fully discuss its methodology, but seems to be following a traditional historical ideographic reasoning, emphasizing the use of primary sources. However, given its stern criticism of researchers for not dealing with primary sources in a sophisticated manner, it is surprisingly based upon much non-source-based knowledge[17] and on historical or theoretical concepts, some of which are worth exploring. First and foremost is the fact that Grossman does not offer a meaningful discussion on the role of antisemitism in Brazil. He argues that antisemitism might be a factor in individual behavior, but proceeds to establish without much explanation a sharp division between an antisemitic mentality and the will to delegitimize the diaspora, the latter intention considered to be a decisive factor for Brazil’s favorable vote. In mentioning Michael Rom’s thesis that Zionism had taken over from leftist ideals as a practice of the Jewish community contested by Brazilian authorities (530),[18] the author dismisses the possibility that anti-Zionism was still associated with a cultural basis imbibed in antisemitism. In such context, assuming that the vote was cast in order to delegitimize the diaspora without antisemitic sentiments being involved requires a number of additional assumptions about the Brazilian decisionmakers clearly dissociating in their minds the stereotypical Jewish foreignness from the specific attachment to Israel. Admitting that antisemitism played a role as a more relevant factor to tip the decision would have been parsimonious. This observation does not imply that either possibility is correct, only that the one advocated in the article is more far-fetched.

The obverse of this antisemitism/diaspora delegitimization issue is that, even if there were a strong focus of Brazilian foreign policy decisionmakers on delegitimizing the Jewish community in its Zionist avatar, the assumption that the same persons would be willing to harm the State of Israel for that purpose is not proven. The sources provide examples where being hostile to the Brazilian Jewish diaspora did not mean one was not very sympathetic to Israel. A case in point is that of the diplomat José Oswaldo de Meira Penna. A former Nazi sympathizer, converted by the magic of allied military victory to a sort of authoritarian liberalism, Meira Penna was ambassador to Tel Aviv from 1967 to 1970. There, he manifested an unequivocal support for Israeli policies and admiration for its military prowess to the point of facing reprimand for going beyond the official discourse on bilateral ties. At the same time, he castigated the community of Zionist Brazilian Jews in Israel for their untrustworthiness and tried to deprive them of Brazilian citizenship—an act deemed illegal even by the authoritarian regime in Brasília.[19] It is possible that a similar duality of sentiments was held by many Brazilian military, who were to some degree suspicious towards Zionism (522 and 532), but also very positive about Israel.[20]

Another important concept used by Grossman is that of diaspora itself. Although he discusses the securitization of diasporas and their delegitimization, the definition itself of diaspora and the belonging of the Brazilian Jewish community to a diaspora in relation to Israel is simply stated as having been built on “common definitions of the term” (520). Comprehending the relationship between Jewish communities around the world and Israel is never an easy one. In the Brazil of 1975, even some Zionist Brazilian Jews might have been befuddled by the reference to Israel as their “homeland.”[21] The hypothesis would have benefitted from a more specific discussion on how the Brazilian Jewish community fit the concept of a diaspora and how one can judge which fraction of it was to be considered Zionist and hence prone to be securitized by the military regime.

How the Brazilian military regime related to what is defined as diasporas beyond the Jewish community is an important point of the text. Grossman consistently argues that there was mistrust and prejudice regarding other groups, but is unclear how much of this was due to the authoritarian character of the regime (521 and 532). A more explicit position would have provided an appropriate baseline to assess the relationship with the Jewish community and the relevance of the Zionist factor in the securitization of diasporas. Brazil had large groups that could retrace their origins—real or imagined—to other “homelands” far more directly than the Jewish community could to Israel—including a “Portuguese” community that numbered in the millions, and generals who had descended from immigrants, such as Geisel (German) and Médici (Italian and Spanish) and became presidents. At the same time, the regime was aimed at demobilization of political militancy of any nature.[22] In such context, one should inquire if Zionism was an exceptional issue or a minor nuisance created by the possibility of sudden political mobilization of a small group within society that otherwise tended to quietism; even the Portuguese community, which was normally an ally of the regime, was reprimanded when it rehearsed an unusual political demonstration in early 1975.[23]

The article wants to perform an analysis of foreign policy decisionmaking, in the sense of uncovering the reasons behind one or more decisions of a state in its relation with the foreign world, motivated by domestic or external factors. Robert Putnam’s classic concept of two-level games[24] is evoked (528) to ascertain that previous researches did not delve properly in the internal richness of Brazilian intentions in voting in favor of the resolution. What is missing is the expected analysis of how different units within the state apparatus held diverging preferences, ranging from the negative vote that was preferred by Brazilian permanent representative in New York, to the abstention that was championed by most of the bureaucracy, to the favorable vote that was finally decided at the “highest level.”[25] In suggesting that “the default option was to vote against Zionism rather than abstaining” (528), the article reinforces its own argument of an ex ante decision propped on the normative rejection of Zionism within the diaspora. The evidence of a disputed decision points, however, to changing positions within the bureaucratic apparatus and to an unexplored rivalry between the permanent representative in New York and Minister Silveira, with important consequences for the formulation of Brazil’s explanation of vote. This is an essential element of the article’s main argument.[26]

As mentioned, the article lays heavy emphasis on the use of primary sources and on avoiding “unrepresentative collections” of those sources, an issue in which previous authors are said to have been remiss (520). But the meaningfulness of the sources uncovered by the article are questionable when it comes to providing evidence on the Brazilian decisionmaking process. The new ones are mostly Israeli or US diplomatic cables, which give interesting opinions about the meaning of the Brazilian vote or report on issues not directly connected to the decision on the first vote. The new Brazilian sources discussed concern periods that did lead to the first vote in October, which is the crucial object of the analysis.[27] The archival material brought in contributes little unless it is interpreted in a very particular manner. The impression left is that the primary sources are used, as so often happens in historical research, as a kind of pixie dust, capable of making the hypothesis fly—one of the dangers noted by Uziel and Santos regarding research on Brazilian foreign policy.[28] Additionally, Grossman admits that the vote “had modest consequences” and that the signs of a policy of delegitimization of the diaspora had shown itself very little afterwards, if at all (533). Other sources confirm the relative unimportance of antisemitic and anti-Zionist manifestations before and after the vote and even Geisel’s explicit promise to fight either of the two tendencies.[29]

The main point of the article hinges on a sentence of the Brazilian explanation, after the second vote, which states that “it would, therefore, be displeasing to Brazilian citizens to recognize that in their midst some might feel closer links to their race or to the country of their ancestors than to Brazil itself” (529).[30] This is the basis on which the text searches for evidence on the existence of a normative option by the Brazilian authorities to delegitimize the Zionist fraction of the Jewish community, an option hypothesized as worth a vote that could expose the country to friction with the US and other Western nations.

But the other sources do not provide evidence that this sentence reflects a discrete policy of delegitimizing the Zionist fraction of Jewish community. In fact, some sources point in the opposite direction, i.e., they suggest that the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formulated a cautious justification for the vote, with care to avoid accusations of antisemitism and even trying to dissociate the bilateral relation with Israel from the resolution. Silveira personally introduced the sentence, without prior consultation with Geisel and only after the first vote, at which point he seemed to have favored an abstention.[31] His reasons are up for speculation: did he harbor anti-Zionist sentiments (which would be difficult to dissociate from antisemitic cultural traits[32]); was he trying to put the ambassador at the UN, who was known to be friendly to Israel,[33] in a difficult position due to personal rivalry; or was he even aggravating a prominent Zionist member of the Jewish community with whom he had a personal relationship?[34] At this level of research, one cannot discard even the pettiest reasons, which are not even mentioned in the article, although they seem more likely than the main hypothesis.

Overall, Grossman’s hypothesis is valid, but it does not find particular support in the primary sources and relies heavily on non-source-based knowledge. In particular, it depends on believing that Brazilian foreign policy attributed high relevance to Israel in the Middle East and that the Brazilian state was significantly concerned with the Zionist fraction of the Jewish community. To this reviewer’s knowledge, scholars do not deny that Brazilian state elites distrusted Zionism and that some amongst them harbored varied levels of antisemitic or anti-Zionist sentiments. But the issue boils down to whether the decisionmakers, who were conscious of the risks and implications of voting in favor of the resolution, valued the issue of Jewish Zionist diaspora so much as to have taken this step. If one opts to assert that they did value it enough, it would be very difficult to believe that this strong undercurrent favoring a policy of signaling distrust to the Zionist elements in the Jewish community, willing to take a political risk, would die out immediately and not make any more moves in this regard.


Eduardo Uziel is currently a PhD candidate in political science in the Université Libre de Bruxelles, studying the absence of Brazil from the Security Council from 1969 to 1987. He has published the books “O Conselho de Segurança, as Missões de Paz e o Brasil no Mecanismo de Segurança Coletiva das Nações Unidas” (Brasília: FUNAG, 2015) and “O Brasil e o Mundo” (Brasília: FUNAG, 2023), as well as several articles on United Nations peacekeeping, Security Council affairs and history of Brazilian foreign policy. He is a Brazilian diplomat since 2000 and was posted in the Brazilian Mission to the UN, in the Embassy in Tel Aviv, in the Mission of Brazil to the EU, and in the Embassy in New Delhi. He was Professor of International Organizations in the Instituto Rio Branco, the Brazilian diplomatic academy (2013-2016).


[1] The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil. On the Resolution, see https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/IP%20A%20RES%203379.pdf. On Fouché’s vote, see Stefan Zweig, Joseph Fouché. The Portrait of a Politician (London: Guild Books, 1948), 27-28. Fouché played relevant roles in almost all phases of the French revolution. As a leftist parliamentarian during the Jacobin period, he voted for the condemnation of the king. More than twenty years later, ennobled by the returned Bourbon dynasty, he had difficulty explaining his previous actions.

[2] Jonathan Grossman, Cordial Relations, Pragmatic Policies. Israel and Brazil, 1961-1964: Policy Making and Diplomacy in the Cold War Era (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, master’s dissertation, 2012); Grossman, Israel, Brazil, and the Jewish Diaspora: 1964–1975 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, PhD thesis, 2018).

[3] Grossman, “Diasporic Assistance in Authoritarian Settings: Evidence from Military Brazil,” Political Geography 98 (2022): 102682, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2022.102682; Grossman, “Dupla lealdade como ‘dupla recompensa’: a visita do presidente Zalman Shazar ao Brasil como estudo de caso da tríplice relação—Israel, Brasil e a diáspora judaica,” in Anat Falbel, Avraham Milgram, Fabio Koifman, Judeus no Brasil: história e histografia. Ensaios em homenagem a Nachman Falbel (Rio de Janeiro: Garamond, 2021): 297-312.

[4] Grossman, “Impartiality as a Lack of Interest: Israel, Brazil, the Jewish Diaspora, and the Question of Jerusalem,” Israel Studies 23:1 (2018): 152-176, DOI:

[5] Grossman and Omer Shafer Raviv, “Israel, the Jewish Diaspora, and the Palestinian Refugee Issue: A Mixed Relationship,” Ethnic and Migration Studies 48 (2022): 1-19, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2022.2111548; Grossman, “Toward a Definition of Diaspora,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 42: 8 (2018), DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2018.1550261.

[6] Paulo Fagundes Vizentini, A política externa do regime militar brasileiro; Amado Cervo and Clodoaldo Bueno, História da Política Exterior do Brasil (São Paulo: Ática, 1992); José Paulo Netto, Pequena história da ditadura brasileira (1964-1985) (São Paulo: Cortez, 2014).

[7] Matias Spektor, “Origens e direção do Pragmatismo Ecumênico e Responsável (1974-1979),” Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 47: 2 (2004): 191-222; Paulo Fagundes Vizentini, A política externa do regime militar brasileiro (Porto Alegre: Editora da Universidade/UFRGS, 1998).

[8] José Paulo Netto, Pequena história da ditadura brasileira (1964-1985); Williams Gonçalves and Shiguenoli Miyamoto, “Os Militares na Política Externa Brasileira: 1964-1984,” Estudos Históricos, 6:12 (1993): 211-246.

[9] Monique Sochaczewski, O fim da equidistância: o veto brasileiro ao sionismo e a política externa do governo Geisel para o Oriente Médio (1974-1979) (Rio de Janeiro: UERJ, master’s dissertation, 2004); Carlos Alberto Michaelsen Den Hartog, “O Brasil e o Oriente Médio,” in Sérgio França Danese, ed., Ensaios de história diplomática do Brasil: (1930–1986) (Brasília, 1989), 143–152; Nathan Morais Pinto da Silva, Diplomacia à prova de choque: as relações com países exportadores de petróleo e a busca pela segurança energética na política externa brasileira durante os governos Geisel e Figueiredo (1974-1985) (Rio de Janeiro: UERJ, 2021, master’s thesis).

[10] Jerry Dávila and Jeffrey Lesser, “Brasil, Israel y el Voto Sionismo-Racismo en las Naciones Unidas (1975)”, in Raanan Rein, María José Cano Perez and Beatriz Molina Rueda Más allá del Medio Oriente (Granada: Eirena, 2012): 227-242; Leonel Caraciki, A Aposta Antissionista: a equação do sionismo como racismo na Resolução 3379 da Assembléia Geral das Nações Unidas (1975) (Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ, master dissertation, 2013).

[11] Norma Breda dos Santos and Eduardo Uziel, “Forty Years of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 (XXX) on Zionism and Racism: the Brazilian Vote as an instance of United States—Brazil Relations,” Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional 58: 2 (2015): 80-97, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0034-7329201500205.

[12] Santos and Uziel, “Forty Years of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379 (XXX) on Zionism and Racism: the Brazilian Vote as an instance of United States—Brazil Relations,” 92 “The process of deciding how Brazil would vote has to be understood not as a simple indignant reaction to a purported offense to national pride, but rather in the broader framework of the relations between the two countries.”

[13] Grossman, “Impartiality as a Lack of Interest”.

[14] An example is Henry Chmelnitsky, Speech addressed at the conference ‘Diálogos sobre Política Externa,’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, 21 March 2014. At http://www.conib.org.br/noticias/2412/discursode-henry-chmelnitsky-vice-presidente-da-conib-na-srie-de-debates-dilogos-sobre-poltica-externa-promovida-pelo-itamaraty, accessed on 28 December 2018. Considerations on the matter can be found at Walter Rehfeld, “Brazil,” American Jewish Yearbook 76 (1976): 277-286; Uziel and Santos, “Source Criticism and the History of Brazilian Foreign Policy,” Contexto Internacional 41:1 (2019): 187-207; Guilherme Casarões and Tullo Vigevani, “O lugar de Israel e da Palestina na política externa brasileira: antissemitismo, voto majoritário ou promotor da paz?,” História 33: 2 (2014): 150-188.

[15] Arquivo Histórico do Itamaraty (AHI), Brasília, Ofício 557 da Embaixada em Tel Aviv para a Secretaria de Estado das Relações Exteriores, em 19 de julho de 1978. References to Brazilian official documents in this review will be made based on their original functional numbering and classification. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil has no indexation of documents other than the functional one, which creates significant difficulties for scholars referring to them. Files and boxes are often changed without notice, rendering useless references to them.

[16] Paulo Fagundes Vizentini, A política externa do regime militar brasileiro; Amado Cervo and Clodoaldo Bueno, História da Política Exterior do Brasil (São Paulo: Ática, 1992); Fernando de Mello Barreto, Os sucessores do Barão: 1964 a 1985 (São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2001).

[17] Jerzy Topolski, Methodology of History (Warsaw: Polish Scientific Publishers, 1976): 401-404. Topolski develops the idea that a significant part of historical research depends on knowledge not derived from the sources under investigation in a given research, but on guidelines and information which the historian holds necessary to accept or reject statements found in the sources. Grossman insists that it is the statements made in the sources that make a difference for his hypothesis, but in practice relies heavily on non-source-based assumptions to base his conclusions.

[18] The author does not mention other works that point to the presence of antisemitic tropes informing Brazilian culture that formed earlier but certainly informed the worldview of decision makers, including in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and were still alive in the 1970s. See Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro, O Anti-Semitismo na Era Vargas (São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2001); Taciana Wiazovski, O Mito do Complô Judaico-Comunista no Brasil. Gênese, difusão e desdobramentos (1907-1954) (São paulo: Humanitas/Fapesp, 2008); or Celia Szniter, Representações do judeu na cultura brasileira: imaginário e história (São Paulo: USP, 2002, Ph.D. thesis). The author refers to pages 197 and 198 in Uziel and Santos’s “Source Criticism and the History of Brazilian Foreign Policy,” to underscore the claim that antisemitism was not the decisive factor. Yet, the authors do not argue against the fact that antisemitism still existed and was interwoven with the feelings towards the State of Israel. Rather, they suggest that antisemitism and anti-Zionism were not the decisive factors in the vote.

[19] Gelson Fonseca Jr, “Correspondência diplomática: Londres, 1941,” Cadernos do CHDD 17:32 (2018): 533-4; José Oswaldo de Meira Penna, O Problema do Oriente Médio (Rio de Janeiro: Escola Superior de Guerra, 1970); AHI, Brasília, Memorandum [unumbered] de J. O. de Meira Penna para o Secretário-Geral das Relações Exteriores, em 1 de abril de 1969; AHI, Brasília, Ofício 361 da Embaixada do Brasil em Tel Aviv para a Secretaria de Estado, em 23 de julho de 1970; AHI, Brasília, Despacho 42 da Secretaria de Estado para a Embaixada em Tel Aviv, em 12 de maio de 1970; AHI, Brasília, Despacho 5 da Secretaria de Estado para a Embaixada em Tel Aviv, em 8 de janeiro de 1969; AHI, Brasília, Ofício 58 da Embaixada em Tel Aviv para a Secretaria de Estado, em 17 de fevereiro de 1969; AHI, Brasília, Ofício 232 da Embaixada em Tel Aviv para a Secretaria de Estado, em 25 de julho de 1969; AHI, Brasília, Despacho 25 da Secretaria de Estado para a Embaixada em Tel Aviv, em 23 de fevereiro de 1969; AHI, Brasília, Despacho 77 da Secretaria de Estado para a Embaixada em Tel Aviv, em 6 de outubro de 1970.

[20] Patricia F. Fingermann, “Brazil,” in American Jewish Yearbook 77 (1977): 350; Grossman, Israel, Brazil, and the Jewish Diaspora: 1964–1975.

[21] Fingermann, “Brazil”; Walter Rehfeld, “Brazil,”; Marcos Margulies, “Brazil,” American Jewish Yearbook 75 (1974-1975): 371-384; Marcos Margulies, “Brazil,” American Jewish Yearbook 74 (1973): 329-338.

[22] Celso Lafer, O Sistema Político Brasileiro (São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1978).

[23] “Manifestações Políticas de Portugueses Radicados no Brasil”, Resenha de Política Exterior do Brasil 4 (Brasília: Ministério das Relações Exteriores, January-March 1975): 83.

[24] Robert Putnam, “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games,” International Organization 42:3 (1988): 427-460.

[25] Ramiro Saraiva Guerreiro, Ramiro Saraiva Guerreiro (Depoimento, 1985) (Rio de Janeiro: CPDOC, 2010): 222-223; Matias Spektor, Azeredo da Silveira: um depoimento (Rio de Janeiro: FGV, 2010); Walder de Góes, Brasil do General Geisel: Estudo do Processo de Tomada de Decisão no Regime Militar-Burocrático (Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1978); Vasco Mariz, “O Oriente Médio hoje e amanhã,” Defesa Nacional 762 (1993).

[26] In his interview after the end of his period as minister, Silveira made disparaging references to Sergio Correa da Costa, who was roughly from the same generation and seen as a potential rival. Matias Spektor, Azeredo da Silveira: um depoimento; Rogério de Souza Farias, “Os inconformistas disciplinados: Gerações, alianças e reforma na política externa brasileira (1930-1964),” Paper presented at Institute of Social and Political Studies of the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro on 12 September 2016, available at https://www.academia.edu/28463266/Os_inconformistas_disciplinados_Gera%C3%A7%C3%B5es_alian%C3%A7as_e_reforma_na_pol%C3%ADtica_externa_brasileira_1930_1964_ access on 12 January 2023.

[27] In at least two cases there are equivocal or imprecise references to the nature or content of sources (524, notes 50 and 49). In the reference to a cable (Crimmins to Secretary of State, Confidential, September 18, 1974: [National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC]: https://aad.archives.gov/aad/createpdf?rid=195039&dt=2474&dl=1345) written by the US Embassy in late 1974, Grossman states that the US ambassador had indicated that Brazil might come to support a position more “extreme” than the Soviets (page 1, paragraph 3 of the cable). The cable itself is unclear whether the US ambassador heard the opinion from his Israeli colleague or believed that himself. In any case, the US Embassy emphasizes it was not certain if Geisel supported a change in Brazilian position or if Silveira might have been “free-wheeling” (page 2, paragraph 4 of the cable). In the same page (note 49), the article states that Silveira had suggested to Geisel in May 1975 that Brazil should consider changing position and support the 1947 partition borders. The document cited (Silveira to Geisel, May 1975, CPDOC [Getúlio Vargas Foundation Research and Documentation Centre], Azeredo da Silveira files [AAS], MRE, ONU, 1975.01.23: https://www.docvirt.com/docreader.net/AAS_MRE/10795), from Silveira’s digitalized archive, is, however, a draft, which was apparently made definitive later that year as Informação ao Presidente da República 310, de 13 de novembro de 1975 (AHI, Brasília). Even the date of the draft is unspecified, although it falls before September 1975. The final text of November, the only one endorsed clearly by Silveira, was far less assertive about the issue of the 1947 borders and specifically concluded that Brazil should not advocate any territorial solution in particular, but rather support the right of the Palestinian people to have a state in part of Mandate Palestine. Both documents are adduced to underline the existence of a policy by Brazil, but, read in the proper context, suggest the opposite.

[28] Uziel and Santos, “Source Criticism and the History of Brazilian Foreign Policy.”

[29] Fingermann, “Brazil,” 352.

[30] United Nations General Assembly. Thirtieth Session. Official Records. 2400th Plenary Meeting (New York: United Nations, 1975): 798, paragraph 340.

[31] AHI, Brasília, Despacho 90 da Secretaria de Estado para a Embaixada em Paris (Série Chanceler), em 24 de outubro de 1975; AHI, Brasília, Telegrama 21 da Embaixada em Paris para a Secretaria de Estado (Série Chanceler), em 25 de outubro de 1975; AHI, Brasília, Despacho telegráfico 858 da Secretaria de Estado para a Missão junto à Nações Unidas, em 26 de outubro de 1975. After the first vote and in view of the mounting pressure, in late October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to articulate an explanation for internal use, which was drafted under the coordination of Acting Minister Ramiro Guerreiro and shown to Geisel’s trusted chief of staff. The text was also sent to Silveira, who was then in Paris, who replied approvingly and instructed a new paragraph to be inserted, mentioning for the first time “alguns que se sentem mais ligados à raça a que pertencem ou aos países de seus antepassados do que ao próprio Brasil.” Only on 9 November was an explanation of vote that incorporated the pivotal sentence sent to New York. The cable to New York in November was regularly drafted by the bureaucracy but carried with it the additional sentence that was drafted personally by Silveira in October, in divergence to the original opinion by the bureaucracy and apparently without initial consultation with the military.

[32] Marcos Chor Maio, “Qual anti-semitismo? Relativizando a questão judaica nos anos 30,” in Dulce Pandolfi Repensando o Estado Novo (Rio de Janeiro: FGV, 1999): 229-256. This text, also quoted by Grossman, analyzes Geisel, but could be relevant to understand Silveira too.

[33] Sergio Correa da Costa, as mentioned, was from Silveira’s generation and a measure of rivalry was certainly present. Correa da Costa was married to the daughter of Oswaldo Aranha, former Brazilian foreign minister and president of the General Assembly when it adopted resolution 181 (II) on the partition of Palestine. Aranha had been held in high regard by both Israeli officials and the Brazilian Jewish community, and his whole family (including in-laws) advocated friendly relations with the State of Israel. Correa da Costa relished in telling pleasant stories about the creation of Israel and his own 1967 visit to the country. Between the two votes on resolution 3379 (XXX), Silveira had developed an obsession with the role of Aranha in the 1947 partition plan and with his supposed previous antisemitic policies of the 1930s. Including one sentence glaringly shocking for Jews and Israelis and making Correa da Costa read it in the GA plenary could be interpreted as an attempt to humiliate his colleague. Sergio Correa da Costa, Brasil Segredo de Estado (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Record, 2001): 361-366; CPDOC, “Sérgio Afonso Corrêa da Costa,” https://www18.fgv.br/CPDOC/acervo/dicionarios/verbete-biografico/sergio-correia-afonso-da-costa, accessed on 12 January 2023; Grossman, Israel, Brazil, and the Jewish Diaspora: 1964–1975; Fabio Koifman, “Oswaldo Aranha e os Refugiados Judeus,” in Sergio Moreira Lima, Paulo Roberto de Almeida and Rogério de Souza Farias Oswaldo Aranha. Um estadista brasileiro (Brasília: FUNAG, 2017): 235-257; AHI, Brasília, Telegrama 7 da Embaixada do Brasil em Roma para a Secretaria de Estado (Série Chanceler), em 27 de outubro de 1975 (particular de Velloso para Lampreia).

[34] Silveira’s wife was the sister of the first wife of the prominent Jewish community leader and known Zionist Israel Klabin. As was known to Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN Chaim Herzog and common knowledge in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil at the time, their family ties had resulted in a difficult relationship. Grossman, Israel, Brazil, and the Jewish Diaspora: 1964–1975; Sergio Moreira Lima, “Azeredo da Silveira e o Pragmatismo Responsável,” in Sergio Moreira Lima O pragmatismo responsável na visão da diplomacia e da academia (Brasília: FUNAG, 2018): 9-37; AHI, Brasília. Ofício 557 da Embaixada em Tel Aviv para a Secretaria de Estado das Relações Exteriores; CPDOC, “Israel Klabin,” https://www18.fgv.br/cpdoc/acervo/dicionarios/verbete-biografico/klabin-israel, accessed on 11 January 2023.