update deskIsrael at War

Latin American local leaders pay solidarity visit to Israel

A delegation of mayors and governors from Latin America visited southern Israeli communities targeted during Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre and met with hostages' families.

A delegation of local leaders from Latin America visit the site of the Nova music festival massacre near Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel. Credit: Combat Antisemitism Movement.
A delegation of local leaders from Latin America visit the site of the Nova music festival massacre near Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel. Credit: Combat Antisemitism Movement.

A delegation of Latin American governors and mayors visited Israel this week on a solidarity mission amid the Jewish state’s five-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza and a global increase in antisemitism.

The participants, including local leaders from Panama, Uruguay, Honduras, Chile and Guatemala, traveled to southern Israeli cities targeted in Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and met with family members of Israeli hostages during their four-day trip.

“At a time of rising antisemitism globally, to have so many prominent local and regional leaders from Latin America serves as an antidote to hate,” said Sacha Roytman, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement, which organized the delegation. “The impact of a visit to Israel produces a deeper understanding of what the Jewish state is facing.”

The trip comes amid a burst of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity in multiple far-left Latin American governments, including Brazil, Colombia and Chile. 

Last month, Israel declared Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva persona non grata over his comparison of Israel’s war against Hamas to the Holocaust. The remarks were supported by the presidents of Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric, who has condemned Israel and recalled his country’s ambassador from Tel Aviv over the war, has also banned Israeli companies from Latin America’s biggest aerospace fair, to be held in Santiago in April. The South American nation is home to some 300,000 Palestinians, the largest Palestinian population outside the Middle East.

At the same time, the leaders of Argentina and Paraguay have taken a staunch pro-Israel stance since the outbreak of the war, reiterating their pledges to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.

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