House Members Denounce Colombia Severing Ties With Israel

House Members Denounce Colombia Severing Ties With Israel

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
May 3, 2024

Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced that Colombia would be severing diplomatic relations with Israel, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers has responded. President Petro has heavily criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing Israel of committing genocide. In a statement, the Congressional Latino-Jewish Caucus denounced the decision to sever ties with Israel, calling it "inflammatory and unwarranted."

On Wednesday, President Petro spoke to the people of Bogota during a march to honor International Worker's Day. President Petro told the cheering crowd, "here in front of you, the government of change, of the president of the republic announces that tomorrow we will break diplomatic relations with the state of Israel... for having a president who is genocidal."

Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), Tony Gonzales (R), Adriano Espaillat (D), who serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Latino-Jewish Caucus; Henry Cuellar (D), who serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Colombia Caucus; and Maria Elvira Salazar (R), who is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee of the Western Hemisphere in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have now released a statement to "unequivocally condemn President Petro's decision to unilaterally sever diplomatic relations with Israel."

Calling the decision "unacceptable from a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States," the delegation said it was "counterproductive to Petro's ostensible goal of securing the release of hostages, and deeply damaging Colombia's national interests and objectives."

President Pedro has been criticized over his rhetoric towards the Israel Prime Minister and Israel, and, as the delegation explained, President Petro's vitriolic rants comparing Israel to the Nazis, embrace of Hamas' terrorist ideology, and justification of violence targeting Israel civilians, create tangible risks for Colombia's Jewish community which is facing a surge in antisemitism."

The lawmakers brought attention to the family of Eliana Bohbot, an Israeli-Colombian dual national who has been held hostage by Hamas for 208 days.

By severing diplomatic relations with Israel, "Petro's decision emboldens Hamas, undercuts global pressure to seek the return of hostages, and undermines the tireless efforts of serious world leaders to seek justice on behalf of Israeli and Palestinian victims of Hamas."

Stressing that President Petro's decision does not reflect the views of the Colombian people, the lawmakers affirmed that the Congressional Latino-Jewish Caucus' mission is to denounce the move and  highlight "the importance of fostering strong multilateral ties between the United States, Latin American and Caribbean nations, and the State of Israel."

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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