The Israel-Hamas War Among Latinos

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryIt seems that demonstrations and counter-demonstrations among people who are for Israel or for the Palestinian Arabs seems to be growing more intense in the United States. Already an elderly American Jewish man, named Paul Kessler, was murdered in Thousand Oaks, California, after he was attacked by pro-Palestinian Arab counter-demonstrators for holding an Israeli flag. Already it seems that passions over the war is spilling over into violence in major cities and suburban towns here in the United States. What is not as well known is that this conflict is having an equal impact in many countries in Latin America. There are many demonstrations and protests happening in a number of Latin American countries both for Israel and for the Palestinian Arabs.

Argentina, which has the largest Jewish population in Latin America at about 200,000, has come out in support of Israel. Likewise, El Salvador has come out in favor of Israel. Chile, which has the largest number of Palestinian Arabs in Latin America, has come out in favor of the Palestinian Arabs. Venezuela’s leftist government has also voiced support for the Palestinian Arabs. Even though Colombia had traditionally strong relations with Israel, the current Colombian government under President Gustavo Petro has compared the attacks against the Palestinian Arabs to what the Nazis did to the Jews. This has driven relations between Colombia and Israel to the breaking point. Belize, Brazil and Mexico have taken a largely neutral stance of the conflict; calling for an end to hostilities.

In the United States and among Jews in Latin America, Jews have been going to Israel to either fight in Israel’s military or otherwise show their support for the country. In their view, the fight for Israel’s existence is a fight for all Jews. I am wondering if the same thing is playing out for Palestinian Arabs from Latin America or the United States going there to fight? What must be kept in mind is that those Latin American countries which have good relations with the United States and Israel are definitely siding with Israel. Those with either large Palestinian Arab populations or leftist governments are siding with the Palestinian Arabs. In many ways, it is a fight in a larger context of authoritarian and totalitarian countries versus the world’s democracies. It has become a fight of western versus anti-western values. This decade is beginning to see the world fast becoming part of two armed blocs and maybe a diminishing group of neutral nations. Like what is happening with the world becoming two armed camps, many Latinos are now having to choose sides, or remain neutral.

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