February 17, 2010
His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
President of Brazil
Palácio do Planalto - Presidência da República
Praça dos Três Poderes, Brasilia
Dear Mr. President:
We very much appreciated your presence and the strong message about the lessons of the Holocaust you delivered at the ceremony for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, held in the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue in Recife.
Sadly, as acts of genocide continue to plague this world and as the voices of those who wish to deny or trivialize the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis grow louder, it is increasingly urgent for those leaders who are committed to respect and acceptance to speak out against hatred and to stand up against injustice. As you stated, during the President of Iran's recent visit to Brazil, you made clear that it is unacceptable to deny the Holocaust and that nobody can ignore the extermination of the Jewish people. We hope you encourage other regional leaders to understand the importance of publicly condemning Holocaust denial.
Mr. President, you rightfully declared that the most important way to fight discrimination and intolerance is through democracy. Unfortunately, we believe your planned visit to Tehran conveys a contrary message. The Iranian regime led by Ahmadinejad continues to blatantly reject and violently suppress the voice and freedom of its people. We believe your visit will be seen to confer legitimacy on this repressive regime and respectfully request you to reconsider this trip.
Since 1913 the Anti-Defamation League has worked to fight against hatred and bigotry and to promote understanding and respect. We know you value and promote diversity and have worked hard to build a society of respect in Brazil. We join you in your commitment to these ideals and we look forward to our work together to ensure that the world continues to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and fight against those who choose prejudice over acceptance and hatred over respect.
Abraham H. Foxman
cc: His Excellency Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Ambassador of Brazil to the United States