After drawing criticism for remarks suggesting the Jewish genocide during World War II could be forgiven, Brazil's president now says that isn't quite what he meant. Jair Bolsonaro had said Thursday of the Holocaust: "We can forgive, but we can't forget. That's my phrase. Those who forget their past are condemned not to have a future." Per Reuters, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin responded: "Whether they be individuals or organizations, party heads or heads of state, no one will ordain the Jewish people’s forgiveness." There was no immediate comment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has sought closer ties with Bolsonaro. After visiting a Holocaust memorial, Bolsonaro also had referred to Nazis of the era as "leftists."
On Saturday night, Israel's ambassador to Brazil put a new statement on Facebook from Bolsonaro to the people of Israel, per the Jerusalem Post: "Forgiveness is something personal, my speech was never meant to be used in a historical context, especially one where millions of innocent people were murdered in a cruel genocide." Also Saturday night, Rivlin suggested a way to avoid such disputes. "Political leaders are responsible for shaping the future. Historians describe the past and research what happened," he said, per Israel National News. "Neither should stray into the territory of the other." (Read more Jair Bolsonaro stories.)