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Chilean woman probed for hate crime after accosting Jewish store owner in Brazil

A video capturing a disturbing incident in Brazil has become the center of a criminal investigation for racist intimidation, according to local police. The video shows a woman verbally attacking the Jewish owner of a shop, hurling offensive remarks like “Zionist baby killer.” The aggressor, identified as a Chilean citizen, has been ordered not to leave Brazil while authorities look into the incident that took place in Arraial d’Ajuda last Friday.

In the viral video, the assailant can be heard shouting derogatory terms, including calling the Jewish shop owner, Herta Breslauer, 54, a “whore.” The confrontation unfolded in Breslauer’s souvenir shop near the beachfront of the resort city, creating a scene of chaos with broken merchandise.

The assailant, speaking in Portuguese, continued with threatening statements, prompting bystanders, including a shirtless man, to intervene and try to stop the verbal assault. Eventually, the man removed the aggressor from the store.

Authorities reported that the assailant attributes her behavior to an unspecified prescription drug. Interestingly, it turns out that the two women knew each other from before the altercation, according to police sources.

In a recorded statement outside a police station, Breslauer emphasized that she was attacked “simply because I’m Jewish.” However, the police clarified that there is no evidence of a physical beating.

This incident has understandably caused alarm and anger within the Brazilian Jewish community. It reflects a broader global trend of increased antisemitic rhetoric, especially during times of conflict involving Israel. Rony Meisler, a well-known Jewish business figure and founder of the Reserva sustainable clothing line, expressed support on Instagram by offering to reimburse the woman for damages to her store. Meisler attributes the rise in antisemitism to “party political ideology” in Brazil, echoing sentiments expressed by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who accused Israel of “genocide” in Gaza in December.

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