Israel has long been sensitive to criticism of its actions with respect to the occupied Palestinian territories, but it may have gone overboard with its response to an official statement from the Brazilian government condemning Israel's "disproportionate use of force" in Gaza.
Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, responded to the criticism by saying,
"This is an unfortunate demonstration of why Brazil, an economic and cultural giant, remains a diplomatic dwarf." [...] "The moral relativism behind this move makes Brazil an irrelevant diplomatic partner, one who creates problems rather than contributes to solutions."
As if that weren't bad enough, Palmor wasn't done.
On Thursday he took to Brazil's own media to nut-punch the entire country:
"Israel's response is perfectly proportioned in accordance with international law," Palmor said in an interview with the Jornal Nacional TV show late Thursday. "This is not football. In football, when a game ends in a draw, you think it is proportional, but when it finishes 7-1 it's disproportionate. Sorry to say, but not so in real life and under international law."
Palmor, of course, was referring to host country Brazil's shocking 7-1 defeat in the World Cup semifinal to Germany.
While most Brazilians would probably let slide the "diplomatic dwarf" jab, which, it can be argued, is a poke specifically at the government, the dig the country's soccer team is a swift uppercut straight to the national groin.
Brazil has since recalled its ambassador to Israel. In a statement, Brazil's Foreign Ministry said, "The Brazilian government considers unacceptable [the] escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine," and that it "strongly condemn[s] the disproportionate use of force by Israel in the Gaza Strip, from which large numbers of civilian casualties, including women and children resulted."
Putting aside for the moment that Israel is no titan of diplomacy itself without the unwavering support of the United States, it's typically not advisable to respond to sincere criticism from an admitted "friend" by impugning said friend as irrelevant on the world stage, and also rubbing a devastating World Cup loss into the nose of a country that (kind of) has a soccer ball on its flag.
h/t: Washington Post