(July 30, 2020 / JNS) In an online briefing about anti-Semitism earlier this month, Ellie Cohanim, deputy special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department, discussed the situation in South America and Yemen, where Iran and its terror proxies have been increasingly active.
Noting that it has been 26 years since Iran and Hezbollah bombed the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires—killing 85 people and wounding hundreds—Cohanim said “Hezbollah remains active throughout the region in terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking.”
America “commends” Argentina for its continued designation of Hezbollah as a terror group, she said.
Also noted is the South American country’s “freezing assets of individuals and entities tied to Hezbollah,” she continued, adding that following their lead, Guatemala, Honduras and Columbia have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization and that Uruguay is considering a “similar move.”
Yet in a virtual address to members of Israel Bonds Cleveland’s Women’s Division, Cohanim said not all news is good. For instance, the Chilean Senate approved a measure in early July that would allow the government to criticize Israel and boycott Israeli companies that operate outside of the “1949 armistice lines.”
“Chile serves as a model for democracy, yet finds herself being praised by Hamas for passing this resolution,” said the envoy, adding that the United States is “deeply disappointed” by the resolution.
Of equal concern are reports from the Egyptian media and elsewhere that Houthi rebels have been rounding up Jewish Yemenis outside Sa’ana, said the deputy special envoy. “In the last four months, the Houthis have targeted certain Jewish individuals, detained these individuals and forced them to sell their assets.”
Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen’s Jewish population was flown to Israel as part of “Operation Magic Carpet.” Fewer than 100 Jews are estimated to still live in Yemen.
“The United States denounces these deplorable actions, and we denounce the Houthi regime and its reign of terror over the local population,” she said, adding their actions are a “gross violation” of people’s basic rights. She emphasized that the United States takes issue with the rebels “chants of death to America, death to Israel and curse on the Jews.”
Cohanim concluded her talk with the fact that the United States is urging nations around the world to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism because “so much of the fight against anti-Semitism that we are facing in the world today is under the guise of anti-Zionism, and the IHRA definition very clearly spells out when people have crossed that red line from fair criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism and hate speech.”
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