Latam Leaders’ Antisemitism “Crossed the line” According to Salazar Guest

Latam Leaders’ Antisemitism “Crossed the line” According to Salazar Guest

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
March 11, 2024

The Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Chairwoman Maria Salazar (R-FL) led a hearing into ‘The Agents of Antisemitism in Latin America’ late last week.

During the hearing, Representative Salazar questioned Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt on the matter.

Ambassador Lipstadt is an expert on antisemitism and has led efforts to advance U.S. foreign policy to counter antisemitism throughout the world.

Salazar opened the hearing by remarking how “leaders like Gustavo Petro, Lula da Silva, and Xiomara Castro crossed the line with their antisemitic rhetoric following the October 7th attacks.”

Lipstadt stated she was “very concerned” with the rhetoric emerging from the top leaders of several Latin American states.

Lipstadt mentioned she was also worried about increasing antisemitism in other areas of the world, such as in Europe.

However, Lipstadt agreed with Salazar’s opinion that antisemitism in South America has “crossed the line.”

Lipstadt was referring to statements such as those recently made by Colombian President Colombian President Gustavo Petro. President Petro compared Israel’s anti-Hamas operations to those carried out by the Nazi’s against the Jews during World War Two.

Salazar, who’s been a staunch critic of the reaction of several Latin American countries to Israel’s war against Hamas, swiftly rebuked Petro’s comments at the time they were made.

Salazar called Petro's statements "unhinged and antisemitic," adding that "In no universe should any leader, especially one that governs a democratic nation, compare Israel to Nazi Germany and accuse it of genocide."

During the hearing, Salazar pressed Lipstadt to explain if the leaders of Latin American countries propagating antisemitism would face any consequences.

Lipstadt responded the US would not work closely with states officially supporting antisemitism.

“If they want to work with the US closely, this (antisemitism) is not something that amounts to their benefit,” said Lipstadt.

Lipstadt continued, explaining that, while criticism of Israel is not directly antisemitism, “too often we’ve seen criticism of Israel morph into antisemitism.”

Lipstadt has previously publicly exposed and criticized other foreign government’s actions to undermine Jews.

Last January, Lipstadt defined South Africa’s decision to demote a Jewish rugby player for his public support of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) as antisemitic.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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