, JERUSALEM, July 21 – A senior member of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s party described Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a "racist" just as the controversial ultra-nationalist was beginning a Latin America tour.
"Lieberman is a racist and a fascist," Valter Pomar, secretary of international relations for Lula’s Workers Party (PT), told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in an interview published on Tuesday.
"The Brazilian left is organising protests against him and against the policy he represents," Pomar was quoted as saying.
A spokesman for the Brazilian foreign ministry told the Haaretz that the statement "certainly does not represent the government’s position."
Lieberman on Monday began a 10-day tour of Latin America, the first by an Israeli foreign minister in more than 10 years, aimed at countering archfoe Iran’s growing influence.
He is to meet Lula, as well as the leaders of Argentina, Peru and Columbia during the trip.
Lieberman’s hardline views on Israeli Arabs have earned him epithets of "racist" from critics and admiration as a much-needed strong hand from supporters.