Top decision-makers, diplomats, and communal leaders from across Latin America convened in Montevideo, Uruguay, this week for the third annual Latin America-Israel Forum, coming together in a powerful show of solidarity with the Jewish state and people at a time when Israel is under attack and an unprecedented surge of antisemitism is sweeping over the world.
More than 500 participants and representatives of 17 nations participated in the three-day forum, organized by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).
Notable speakers included: Javier Garcia Duchini, Minister of Defense of Uruguay; Carolina Cosse, Mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay; Enrique Antia, Governor of Maldonado, Uruguay; Cardinal Daniel Sturla, Archbishop of Uruguay; Dr. Julio María Sanguinetti, former President of Uruguay; Gustavo Bordet, Governor of the Argentine Province of Entre Rios; Pilar Rahola, Spanish journalist and former politician; Michal Hershkovitz, Israeli Ambassador to Uruguay; and Chen Mizrachi, survivor of the Nova music festival massacre on Oct. 7.
“Israel is the first line of defense of Western civilization,” Sanguinetti said.
The summit featured speeches and panel discussions exploring ways to further bolster the broad array of ties already connecting Latin America with Israel and address the challenges and opportunities now being faced in the collective effort against rising Jew-hatred globally.
Forum participants also visited the city of Punta del Este and the Holocaust Memorial of Montevideo, and attended a Kristallnach memorial service at the New Israeli Congregation of Montevideo.
CAM gave special recognitions at the forum’s opening dinner to the Evangelical Alliance of Uruguay (CREU) and the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for their recent adoptions of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.
To conclude the summit, participants signed a joint declaration (see the bottom of the article for the full text) calling for “strengthening of ties between Latin American nations and the State of Israel in every realm.”
CAM’s outreach in Latin America began two years ago, and since then it has worked diligently to build meaningful partnerships and friendships with influential leaders, lawmakers, community organizations, and civil society activists from a diverse assortment of religious, political and cultural backgrounds to combat the world’s oldest hatred together.
During this time, CAM has emerged as an important voice in the battle against antisemitism in Latin America, with a growing coalition engaged in impactful activities in countries including Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, and Guatemala, among others.
“Latin America has long been a bastion of passionate support for the State of Israel, going back to before its establishment in 1948,” CAM Director of Hispanic Outreach Shay Salamon said. “With Israel now facing one of the gravest crises in its history, following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, it is vital for good people of conscience everywhere to stand proudly with the Jewish people, and we were deeply pleased and grateful that so many of our allies came to Montevideo this week to do just that.”
On our third day of the Latin America-Israel Forum, we took 10 policymakers from 16 countries to the city of Punta del Este to meet with the Uruguayan envoy for combating hatred, Mayor of Maldonado @dinafernandezch, Mayor of Rocha @alejoumpierrez, Nobel Prize nominee Patricia… pic.twitter.com/sPxgf6RYbO
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) November 10, 2023
We had a great second day at at the Latin America-Israel Forum with panels on the power of interfaith dialogue, and discussions on the importance of Holocaust education programs and government-led efforts to combat antisemitism and misinformation about Israel. pic.twitter.com/VlzQFWga37
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) November 9, 2023
Representatives from 17 countries gathered Tuesday night in Montevideo, Uruguay for the third annual Latin America-Israel Forum to demonstrate their solidarity with the Jewish state and people of Israel. pic.twitter.com/kkidrIbiEW
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) November 8, 2023
We, participants in the Latin America-Israel Forum, agree to the following declaration:
We SUPPORT the strengthening of ties between Latin American nations and the State of Israel in every realm, including commerce, diplomacy, security, economic development, agriculture, and tourism, among others.
We STAND in solidarity with Israel and resolutely back its right to self-defense following the shocking Oct. 7 massacre carried out by the Hamas terrorist organization, the worst attack against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
We IMPLORE the international community to support actions taken by Israel to ensure Hamas can never again perpetrate similar horrors in the future.
We DEMAND world leaders exert pressure on Hamas to immediately release all of the approximately 240 men, women, and children it brutally kidnapped and is holding captive in the Gaza Strip.
We RECOGNIZE Israel as the national, ancestral, and indigenous homeland of the Jewish people and call to combat all who seek to delegitimize it, especially those pursuing its destruction through the antisemitic boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.
We ENCOURAGE more Arab and Muslim nations to join the Abraham Accords, fostering a more peaceful and stable Middle East region where cooperation and collaboration between Israel and its neighbors increases.
We AFFIRM that antisemitism is an increasing ill in societies across the globe and support the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted or endorsed by many leading international entities, including the European Commission and United States government, among others. This definition enables anti-Jewish prejudice to be clearly delineated in all its modern-day forms, helping law enforcement agencies handle it appropriately and justly.