(July 16, 2018 / JNS) Guatemala City—The Israel education and advocacy group Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) recently hosted a conference in Guatemala on anti-Semitism.
Taking place in the Guatemalan Congress, the conference featured keynote speaker State Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-S.C.). The eight-term representative authored the nation’s first legislation condemning the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and recently spearheaded the effort that led to South Carolina becoming the first state to adopt a uniform definition of anti-Semitism.
The Republican legislator played a prominent role in formulating the Israel plank of the 2016 Republican Party platform, setting the stage for U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
“From the moment the modern State of Israel was restored on May 14, 1948, the United States and Guatemala have stood firmly by her side,” said Clemmons. “We are also here in the Congress of Guatemala to honor the parliamentarians that initiated a letter to President [Jimmy] Morales last year encouraging him to move the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem, following the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump.”
Two days after the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Guatemala announced its intention to follow suit.
“It is an honor for the IAF to organize this briefing on Anti-Semitism for Parliamentarians in Guatemala,” remarked Leopoldo Martinez, Latin America director for the Israel Allies Foundation. “The conference marks our effort to educate and support the Congress of Guatemala to craft its own legislation on anti-Semitism and defend commercial relations with Israel. It is our hope that what transpires in Guatemala can be replicated in other congresses and parliaments in Latin America where we also have Israel Allies Caucuses.”
High-priority talks on natural resources
While anti-Semitism was the focus of the gathering, the delegations discussed implementing policies that would take their relationship to the next level.
On the one hand, Guatemala is a nation rich in natural resources. On the other hand, no country in the world utilizes its natural resources more efficiently and effectively than Israel. Thus, conversation on the ways in which the Jewish state can help Guatemala with eco-strategies, water supply, security and growing commercial exchange took on a high priority.
With the Israel-Guatemala relationship growing, IAF stressed the need for the Congress to pass anti-BDS laws to protect both taxpayers and businesses. Leftist groups in the Central America nation oppose the blossoming relationship and are advocating boycotting the Jewish state.
In February, IAF honored Morales for his decision to move Guatemala’s embassy to Jerusalem. During this week’s conference, IAF also recognized Guatemalan parliamentarians for their key role in supporting the move.
“The solidarity and friendship between the people of Guatemala and Israel has been very clear since 1947, when the Republic of Guatemala played a determining role in world events by casting the second vote at the U.N. to recognize the State of Israel,” said Congressman Diaz Duran, chairman of the Israel Allies Caucus in Guatemala.