The first Hanukkah party held by a Latin American embassy in America took place this week at the residence of the Guatemalan Ambassador to the United States H.E. Alfonso Quiñónez.

The celebration was organized by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and the Central America Forum for Israel. Ambassadors and high-level diplomats attended the event, including those from Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela and Israel.

The gathering coincided with the 74th anniversary of the historic vote on Nov. 29, 1947, on the U.N. Partition Plan that called for the establishment of two separate states in British Mandate Palestine: one Jewish and one Arab.

At the Hanukkah event, deputy head of the Mission of Israel to the United States Benjamin Krasna talked about the several Latin American countries that supported the partition plan two years after the end of World War II.

“There are times when diplomats must make the right decision to support Israel, even if it is not diplomatic,” he said. “Israel’s story is the story of the Maccabees, a miracle which brought light to the world and continues shining bright with the support of friends like Guatemala who don’t look for reasons why not to do the right things. They shine bright as an example to others in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s one and only capital.”

Quiñónez talked about Guatemala’s longstanding relations with Israel, which includes being one of the first nations to recognize the State of Israel and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

The event featured a menorah-lighting ceremony led by Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, a CAM advisory board member. Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of the Latino Coalition for Israel, was presented with CAM’s 2021 “Latino Defender of Israel” award.

All ambassadors who attended were presented with menorahs by CAM, as well as thanked for supporting Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism.


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