It has by now become somewhat of a Hollywood legend that prior to his successful election as President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro auditioned for the role of Lord Voldemort in the pubescent Harry Potter film series. As the story goes, relayed to me by a reliable source I invented, the former army captain and fascism fanboy was turned down for the part after producers found him to be "disturbingly suitable."
Alas, instead of going for the miraculous snake man, they opted for Ralph Fiennes in a bald cap, doing an impression of a belligerent jazz orchestra conductor. But as my Safta once told me: "The shattered dreams of yesterday bear the jagged fruits that tear your mouth to shreds tomorrow." Then she asked me if I wanted a bite from her apple. I declined.
Until very recently, Jair Bolsonaro was a big player in domestic Brazilian politics. For years he’d been projectile-vomiting baleful rhetoric at minorities like a soused uncle at the dinner table, sparking little outrage. Wiser Brazilians considered him a buffoon, not unlike the manner in which Israelis perceive Likud MK and fuzzy man-hog Oren Hazan.
It took for Bolsonaro to become a potential head-of-state for the citizens of Brazil to raise their heads and say, "I like him, he should run a country." It’s a tale as old as Jesus.
There were those who did not rejoice. They saw Bolsonaro for what he truly was: A sentient pimple, angry and white, prepared to erupt at a moment’s notice. All he needed was the right brand of pressure, the kind a nation-spanning corruption scandal and years of abject poverty provide.
Bolsonaro may lack the charisma and poetic precision of Rodrigo Duterte, the supple fascism of Viktor Orban, or the inescapable feeling you get that Matteo Salvini is, in fact, Count Dracula, but he makes up for it with the sheer, unabashed passion for making people shit their pants. A true fearmongerer extraordinaire. It allowed him to gracefully join the chorus of populist strongmen fitfully sprouting around the potato of the world.
As vultures of a feather flock together, Bolsonaro’s been joined this week by none other than Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Minister of Everything But The Kitchen Sink, who’s making an unprecedented five-day visit in honor of Jair’s inauguration.
Bolsonaro will surely be looking forward to a close hug with Bibi’s son, Yair, with whom he shares a name and a gaping hole where a soul should be. One can only hope that the universe does not implode as a result of the embrace.
The visit obviously erects evangelical nipples worldwide - and gives the Left something to rattle the newspaper about - but does it actually mean anything? Does it hold diplomatic merit?
Promises were made that by simply being in Brazil, Netanyahu would be driving a scimitar through the old alliances the South American giant holds with the Arab world - perhaps even its former chumminess with Iran.
A local Jewish Brazilian and fan of the Bruiser from Balfour even told me he believes Netanyahu can intercept Iranian missiles using the wisps of his silvery combover. "Iran is like Goliath, and Bibi is like David being investigated for bribery and fraud. I love him." Among the Zionists of the tropic, he is a hero, greater even than their newly elected Voldemort.
Deeply entrenched in opposition to the Bibolsonaro union are Brazil’s embattled progressive Jews - Conservatives, Reform, revisionists, seculars and even Orthodox - comprising an unknown percentage of the country’s 120,000-strong community. They believe the dynamic duo pose a risk not only to democracy, but also life on earth as we know it.
"Bolsonaro is definitely not a human being. He’s either from a lizard planet or a circle of hell. Bibi is human, but very sneaky and shaped like an onion," I was told by Paula, a woman whose family reads the Passover Haggadah up until the food part.
"The way they paint their political rivals is similar, but Bolsonaro is more scary, because he’s a moron. He’s less afraid to say things like 'The Left is communist and gay, it will sodomize everyone with women’s rights,' and people listen because they are afraid of crime and sick of corruption."
Paula thinks Bibi is more savvy, "because he says the Left is terrorist and people believe him because Israel has terrorists. It’s less of a leap. It’s not that Brazilians are dumb, they were just sodomized by politicians one too many times, so they’ll take anything that’s different. It’s very sad."
But how powerful truly is the marriage of Brasilia and Jerusalem? It surely won’t expedite the Brazilian Embassy’s move to Jerusalem, a move Netanyahu believes will make the world suddenly wonder, "What is a Palestinian, really?"
Brazil’s economic woes are plenty, and the country sells far too much halal meat to Arab countries to risk kicking that Kraken in the gonads.
Perhaps a strong defense contract, then? Some advice on handling domestic dissidents? A little light clean-up of leftists? Some Israeli assistance in taming Brazil’s ungovernable streets? Jerusalem can offer plenty of experience, from small border riots to full-blown intifada.
One must remember that Gaza and the Brazilian favelas are similar: Both are under the ruthless dominion of power-hungry sociopaths. They differ in that Hamas are Islamists, and the lords of the favela are drug barons. The other thing they have, which Hamas does not, is tanks, also known as cars-with-cannons and a major game-changer.
Since Bolsonaro can’t carpet-bomb Rio, perhaps Netanyahu could teach him to how to funnel Qatari funds through Venezuela as a way to make nice? It is my understanding that drug dealers, not unlike terror organizations, enjoy money. Plus, you don’t want to solve the problems that get you elected, unless, of course, you plan on creating new ones.
Daniel Gouri de Lima is a news editor at Haaretz and a comedian. Twitter: @GouriLima
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