Delegation of Latin American leaders makes post-October 7th solidarity trip to Israel

Latin American governors and mayors make solidarity trip to Israel to show support after the October 7th massacres.

By World Israel News Staff

A delegation of mayors and governors from Latin America arrived in Israel this week for a special solidarity trip, five months after the October 7th invasion of Israel and beginning of the present war between Israel and Hamas.

In the face of recent surge in antisemitism and hostility towards Israel in Latin America, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) brought the first-ever delegation of governors and mayors from across the region to Israel for a four-day solidarity visit.

Participants included Governor of Panama City, Panama, Carla Brittannia Garcia Borace; Governor of Maldonado, Uruguay, Enrique Andres Antia Behrens; Mayor Jose Anibal Flores Ayala of La Paz, Honduras, Mayor Isabel Margarita Valenzuela Ahumada of Colina, Chile, and Mayor Juan Fernando Lopez Fuentes of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

The Latin American leaders were joined by CAM Advisory Board for Latin America Chair Pilar Rahola and CAM Director of Hispanic Affairs Shay Salamon.

The delegation traveled to Sderot and Ofakim, visited the site of Nova music festival massacre, met with family members of Israeli hostages, and held an official meeting with the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel to discuss the possibility of twinning their cities with Israeli cities.

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The backdrop to this delegation was the rise of antisemitism and hostility to Israel in Latin America in the aftermath of the October 7th attack.

In February, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva compared the IDF’s war against Hamas to the Holocaust, and was supported by the presidents of Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia.

Mexico is supporting South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric has condemned Israel and recalled his country’s ambassador from Israel, while last week, without warning, Chile decided to exclude Israeli firms from Latin America’s biggest aerospace fair to be held in Santiago in April.

Alongside, there has been a spike in antisemitism across the region, with officials from both the United States and the Organization of American States publicly raising the alarm on rising antisemitism in Latin America, calling it, “a tsunami,” with increases of hundreds of percent.

“At a time of rising antisemitism globally, to have so many prominent local and regional leaders from Latin America serves as an antidote to hate,” said CEO of CAM Sacha Roytman.

“We believe in the importance of harnessing local leadership to fight hatred of Israel. Governors and mayors have a unique ability to proactively confront antisemitism at the local level, knowing their communities most closely.”

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“In addition, they have the authority to initiate various initiatives in the field of education, to initiate changes in policy, and to make a tangible change on the street level,” Roytman added.

“The impact of a visit to Israel produces a deeper understanding of what the Jewish state is facing.”

CAM’s outreach in Latin America began nearly three years ago, and since then it has worked diligently to build meaningful partnerships and friendships with influential leaders, lawmakers, community organizations, and civil society activists from a diverse assortment of religious, political and cultural backgrounds in the region to combat antisemitism together.

CAM en Español has organized regional summits hosted by Uruguay in 2023, Panama in 2022, and Guatemala in 2021.

“The movement began its activity in Latin America in 2021, and the political transformations we see across Europe have not bypassed the region,” said CAM Director of Hispanic Affairs Shay Salamon.

“Even in countries that have traditionally stood by Israel, we note with great concern a change in rhetoric on the part of their elected leaders. The visit of governors and mayors from countries like Chile and Honduras on such challenging days shows the desire for continued cooperation at the municipal level and the burning need to fight the rising antisemitism in Latin America.”

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