Beyond Jordan River’s Waters: Evangelicals, Jews, and the Political Context in Contemporary Brazil

Monica Grin, Michel Gherman, Leonel Caraciki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Brazil’s President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has been drawing attention due to his right-wing, pro-gun, ultra-liberal, and pro-Israel agenda. This is the product of a curious alliance between right-wing Jews and evangelical Christians, which made Israel and Jews a powerful asset in Brazil’s current political scenario. This article attempts to understand the dynamics of this partnership from the perspectives of the Jewish community and its relationship with contemporary Brazilian politics. Two assumptions are defined as guidelines for inquiry: the erosion of the multiculturalist agenda in Brazil—which changed the institutional basis of the Brazilian Jewry—and a second one that Evangelical churches brought theological perspectives to the political discourse, as a general trend of intertwined relations between religion and politics. By identifying key moments such as the Jewish protest against Bolsonaro’s visit to a Jewish Cultural Center, the criticism of the Jewish community to the previous governments towards Israel, and the rise of fringe right-wing militant Zionist groups, we are able to verify the erosion of intra-Jewish solidarity and the symbolic processes of “conversion and de-conversion,” meaning a redrawing of forces that purge progressive, left-wing Jews from the community and the adoption of evangelical Christians who offer uncritical support for Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-273
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Latin American Religions
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Bolsonaro
  • Brazil
  • Evangelical Christians
  • Israel
  • Multiculturalism
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Social Psychology

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