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International Affairs


Anti-Israel Demonstrations in Latin America

Posted: January 15, 2009

Since Israel's operation in Gaza began, a series of demonstrations and anti-Israel rallies have been organized by left-wing groups and local Arab leaders across capitals of most Latin American countries.

Demonstrators used offensive Holocaust imagery and anti-Semitic rhetoric. The rallies were initially staged in front of Israeli Embassies but they have also occurred at local Jewish institutions.

The following is a selected list of anti-Israel protests occuring in Latin America in the wake of Israel's Gaza operation:

Argentina
Anti-Israel rallies have been held in Buenos Aires and in other cities such as Resistencia, Chaco. In Buenos Aires, these demonstrations have been well attended by a number of left-wing groups who used Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic slogans.

Brazil
There have been numerous anti-Israel rallies in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and in smaller cities in Brazil.

Sao Paulo, January 6, 2009
Approximately five hundred demonstrators gathered in Avenida Paulista to protest against Israel's military action in Gaza. Religious leaders and representatives of Arab-Brazilian civil entities had signs that read, "Holocaust in Palestine" and protesters shouted "the Israeli actions against the Palestinians are a crime against Humanity" and "We cannot accept that there is a Holocaust in the 20th Century".

Cinelândia, Rio de Janeiro, January 8, 2009
About a thousand people demonstrated their support for the Palestinians, and some banners read "Hamas Brazil," At this rally, protester burned the US and Israeli flags.

Colombia
Bogotá - There were three rallies in Bogota: One on December 31, 2008, one on January 2, 2009 and one on January 6, 2009. The rallies were held in front of the Embassy of Israel, to express support for the Palestinian cause and against Israel's operation in Gaza. One banner said "No more Genocide against the Palestinians" and protesters were chanting "Zionists Assassins." The majority of the demonstrators were young people and groups of them burned the Israeli flag.

Chile
Santiago There has been large and frequent rallies. The Palestinian community in Chile, one of the largest outside of the Arab world, has been joined by other Chileans demonstrating against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.  Demonstrators rallied around the Embassy of Israel and the presidential palace, La Moneda.

Ecuador
Quito, January 6, 2009
Dozens of Ecuadorians protested against Israel's operation in Gaza walking for several blocks towards the Israeli Embassy in Quito. Although the rally was peaceful, when they reached the Embassy of Israel the tone of their chants turned more virulent and the protesters threw black paint, eggs and shoes at the building.

Mexico
Mexico City, January 6, 2009
More than a hundred people protested at the Israeli Embassy in Mexico. Banners had messages like "No to the genocide in Palestine" and flags were burned the demonstrators, who were watched by more than 200 riot police officers.

Panama

Panama City, December 30, 2008
A small pro-Palestinian rally was held in front of the Embassy of Israel in Panama City. The organization FRENADESO, an umbrella organization for labor, leftist and civic groups in Panama, coordinated the rally. The organization demanded to "Stop the Holocaust in Palestine!, Stop Israel's state Terrorism!" and chanted "Hurray for Free Palestine."

Peru
Lima, December 30, 2008
Members of the Palestinian community and Peruvian organizations for the Defense of Human Rights protested in Lima against the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

Venezuela
There have been several anti-Israel rallies in Venezuela. While the largest demonstrations have taken place in Caracas, protests were also staged in other large cities like Maracaibo, Maracay, San Felipe, Puerto La Cruz, Barquisimeto and Merida. All the rallies contained anti-Semitic references comparing Israel's military actions to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust and using Nazi imagery to portray Israel's policies.

Most of the demonstrations have been organized by social and political organizations with ties to President Chavez and religious Muslim leaders and Venezuelan-Arab leaders. Indeed, one protest in Caracas was co-sponsored by the political party of President Hugo Chavez (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela –PSUV). At such protests, other government officials including the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs have made comparisons between the situation in Gaza and the horrors of the Holocaust. The President of the National Assembly made false claims that Israel was using chemical weapons against Palestinian civilians. None of the official statements made any reference to the daily barrage of rockets launched by Hamas to Israeli civilians.

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