update deskU.S. News

House Latino-Jewish caucus slams Colombian president for cutting ties with Israel

“President Petro’s vitriolic rants comparing Israel to the Nazis, embrace of Hamas’s terrorist ideology and justification of violence targeting Israeli civilians create tangible risks for Colombia’s Jewish community,” the members of Congress stated.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken participates in a press availability with Colombian President Gustavo Petro in Bogota, Colombia on Oct. 3, 2022. Credit: Ron Przysucha/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken participates in a press availability with Colombian President Gustavo Petro in Bogota, Colombia on Oct. 3, 2022. Credit: Ron Przysucha/U.S. State Department.

The bipartisan Latino Jewish Congressional Caucus condemned Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Friday for his recent decision to sever ties with Israel.

“This inflammatory and unwarranted decision is unacceptable from a major non-NATO ally of the United States, counterproductive to Petro’s ostensible goal of securing the release of hostages and deeply damaging Colombia’s national interests and objectives,” six of the group’s 20 members wrote

Four of the signatories, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), are co-chairs of the group. Caucus members Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) also signed the letter.

“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,” the congressmen wrote. 

“These actions do not reflect the views or interests of the Colombian people, who have benefitted for decades from security and economic cooperation with Israel and the United States,” they added.

Petro announced that he was breaking off diplomatic relations with the Jewish state on Wednesday over Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, which he has repeatedly described as “genocide.” 

A leftist and former armed guerrilla in Colombia’s M-19 movement, Petro did not condemn Hamas on Oct. 7, instead calling, in Spanish, for immediate peace talks and the recognition of a Palestinian state.

In their statement, the members of Congress condemned Petro’s subsequent social media posts, which have demonized Israel on a near-daily basis since the Hamas terrorist attacks.

“President Petro’s vitriolic rants comparing Israel to the Nazis, embrace of Hamas’s terrorist ideology and justification of violence targeting Israeli civilians create tangible risks for Colombia’s Jewish community which is facing a surge in antisemitism,” they stated. 

“Yesterday’s action adds insult to injury, especially for the family of Elkana Bohbot, an Israeli-Colombian dual national and hostage of Hamas for 209 days,” they added.

Petro wrote his only post about Bohbot in February and has not mentioned him since. He wrote about Israeli “genocide” as recently as Friday.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates