Brazilian Embassy Makes Changes to Passports
Recently, there have been changes in how several countries list the birth country on passports of Jerusalem born citizens. The United States, Canada and France have all made changes, and now we can add Brazil to the list.
Previously, those born in Jerusalem had Israel listed as their country of birth. However, that will soon change. Now, in light of a decision taken by the Brazilian Embassy, citizens will have the city of Jerusalem listed as their place of birth only with no mention of any country.
Although the decision was made last year, the change only recently became known in the media. It is estimated that about 60 of approximately 15,000 Brazilian Israelis will be affected by the policy change each year.
While Israel physically controls Jerusalem, both Israel and Palestine lay claim to the city as their capital. For this reason, many countries (and now Brazil) seek to avoid potential conflicts by simply removing any country reference associated with the city.
The change in policy in Brazil also comes after years of deteriorating relations between Brazil and Israel. Earlier this year, Brazil recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in condemnation of Israel’s military strikes in Gaza. In return, Israeli Foreign Ministry representative Yigal Palmor referred to Brazil as a “diplomatic dwarf.”
According to Floriano Passero, a Brazilian-Jewish lawmaker, the decision by the Brazilian government to remove Israel from the passports of citizens born in Jerusalem “will only reinforce the Brazilian government’s biased views of Israel.”
The Brazilian government, however, contends that it is not taking sides. Rather, it seeks to avoid an international territorial dispute that has gone on and will likely continue for decades.
There are clearly strong feelings on both sides of the issue. With neither side likely to back down, only time will tell if removing Israel as the place of birth on the passports of citizens born in Jerusalem will make any difference at all.