Anti-Israel campaigns in Latin America, specifically in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, have grown in recent years.

For decades, Latin American governments generally had strong ties with Israel, but this shifted during the 2000s when many governments demonstrated solidarity with Palestinians by recognizing a Palestinian state and condemning Israeli actions in Gaza.

Still, countries such as Mexico and Argentina have substantial trade with Israel, and have called for greater economic cooperation with the state. Furthermore, several of the Latin American countries that unilaterally recognized a Palestinian state chose to abstain in the U.N. vote on the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, demonstrating ties to Israel.1

In contrast to the strong economic and diplomatic ties with Israel, many local NGOs are active in promoting BDS, lawfare and various other delegitimization campaigns against Israel. These campaigns are often accompanied by demonizing and antisemitic rhetoric, as extreme as their radically anti-Israel counterparts.

These organizations appear to receive no government support and therefore rely on international BDS groups, as well as American, European, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs for assistance in their campaigns. There is, however, an overall lack of transparency on both the part of the NGOs and the government donors, reflecting a lack of accountability.

Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, a program of the World Council of Churches that brings volunteers to the West Bank for three-month periods, also has a strong presence throughout Latin America. EAPPI volunteers consistently demonize Israel; make accusations of “apartheid,” “war crimes” and “Bantustans”; and are leaders of BDS campaigns in their home churches.

Recommendations:

To the government of Israel:

  • Allocate resources to map and understand the anti-Israel network in Latin America.
  • Conduct additional research focused on understanding each country’s civil society, funding and government involvement.
  • Present the findings to the governmental and private donors of local and international NGOs, encouraging the importance of greater oversight, transparency and accountability.

The full report can be read at NGO Monitor.