Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has stirred up major controversy when he recently said at a meeting with evangelical pastors in Rio de Janeiro that the crimes of the Holocaust can be forgiven but should not be forgotten.

“We can forgive, but we cannot forget. That quote is mine. Those that forget their past are sentenced not to have a future,” the Brazilian President said.

President Reuven Rivlin slammed Bolsonaro for his comments, “We will never give a hand to those who deny the truth or try to cause it to be forgotten”.

“Not by individuals nor organizations, not by head of parties nor by heads of states. No one will enjoin the forgiveness of the Jewish people, and no interest will buy it,” he said.

Bolsonaro has been trying to walk back on his comments by saying that they were taken out of context.

The Brazilian president recently came to Israel on a visit in which he developed strong ties with PM Benjamin Netanyahu.  During his visit, he spent time at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum where he was quoted saying that ”Nazism is a leftist ideology”.

President Bolsonaro spent 28 years in Congress before assuming the presidency. In that tenure, he was often harshly criticized for his offensive remarks toward homosexuals, women, indigenous groups and blacks.