The Courageous Brazilian Diplomat with a Heart for Israel

The Courageous Brazilian Diplomat with a Heart for Israel

Osvaldo Euclides de Sousa Aranha (February 15, 1894–January 27, 1960) was a Brazilian politician, diplomat and statesman. He is known in international politics for lobbying for the creation of the State of Israel as head of the Brazilian Delegation to the United Nations and as President of the UN General Assembly in 1947.

When Israel  the UN voted in 1947 to adopt the Partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Aranha postponed the vote for three days to ensure its passage. His efforts in the Palestinian situation led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948.

For his support and lobbying for the partition of Palestine, leading toward the creation of the  State of Israel, Aranha has been honored in Israel, with streets in Beersheba and Ramat Gan, and a square in Jerusalem being named for him. In 2007, a street in Tel Aviv was named in his honor at a ceremony attended by his relatives and Brazil’s ambassador to Israel.

Aranha’s political career began when he was elected mayor of Alegrete in Brazil, but soon he became a member of the state legislature and later the National Congress. Under President Getulio Vargas, Aranha was appointed to several cabinet positions, including the head of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of External Relations. During Aranha’s time as minister for External Relations, from 1938-1944, many Jews seeking to escape the Holocaust were granted visas to Brazil. He also served as Ambassador to the United States, where he gained recognition as a strong supporter of pan-Americanism.