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Press Releases

Guatemala President, Regional Parliamentarians to Headline Central America Forum for Israel

July 6, 2021

6 July, TEL AVIV – NEW YORK  It was announced today that the Central America Forum for Israel will take place on Thursday, 29th July. The event, which will present a united Central American front against antisemitism and in support of Israel, will feature President of Guatemala Dr. Alejandro Giammattei and parliamentarians from across the region.

The forum will take place against the backdrop of a recent explosion of antisemitic incidents across the world, targeting Jewish communities, their members, buildings and institutions. Synagogues in Europe have been vandalized, while Jews have been physically attacked in the United States, with many more targeted online. In the UK, a 250 percent rise in antisemitic incidents was recently recorded.

As a result, leaders across Central America will gather to reject antisemitism and discuss ways to work together in order to eradicate bigotry from discourse and daily life in their countries. The high-profile event will provide a show of support for Jewish communities across the globe and the State of Israel. Historically, Central American countries have demonstrated steadfast support for Israel, with Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua all amongst the first countries to support the UN Partition Plan and recognize the establishment of the Jewish state.

The event is being organized by representatives of participating countries in partnership with the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), the Center for Jewish Impact, the Israel-Guatemala Friendship League, the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, and the Jewish community of Guatemala.

The Central America Forum for Israel is sponsored by B’nai B’rith, the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), World ORT, and Israel Export Institute.

The Forum will also mark the third anniversary of the proclamation of Guatemala’s Israel Friendship Law. Earlier this year, Guatemala’s Congress adopted the landmark International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, while the country’s government demonstrated strong support for Israel during the most recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

The Central America Forum for Israel will take place on Thursday July 29th, 2021 at 13:00 EDT. Media and the general public are invited to participate in the event. Registration in advance is required by visiting: https://centralamerica.combatantisemitism.org

Speakers at the Forum will include Dr. Alejandro Giammattei, President of Guatemala, Carolina Salinas Fernández, President of Central American Parliament, Allan Rodriguez, President of the Congress of Guatemala, Fidel Reyes Lee, President of the Guatemala-Israel League in the Guatemalan Congress, Reynaldo Geovanny Ekonomo Funes, Vice-President of the Congress of Honduras, Amb. Chris J. Lazaris, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Jose Tomas Zambrano Molina, Secretary of the Congress of Honduras, Donald Ricardo Calderon Lam, Representative of El Salvador at PARLACEN, Shirley Diaz Mejias, Member of Congress of Costa Rica, Dorina Yajaira Rodriguez Salazar, Member of Congress of the Dominican Republic, and Manuel Conde Orellana, Member of Congress of Guatemala.

Speeches and sessions at the event will discuss future actions to strengthen economic, political and cultural relations, as well as cooperation and humanitarian aid between Central American countries and Israel. The event will also focus on a common commitment to fight against antisemitism and will include a presentation of a formal statement on antisemitism by Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact, Robert Singer.

Ahead of the event, Robert Singer, Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact, said: “Throughout most of my career I have worked to advance relations between the Jewish people and our friends worldwide. I am proud to say that the people of Guatemala and Central America are among the foremost allies of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I’m honored to promote this special event of Combat Antisemitism Movement, the Center for Jewish Impact, and the Congress of Guatemala – ‘Central America Forum for Israel’ to be held later this month. The purpose of this event is to convene the nations of Central America in a united front in support of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and to condemn the global phenomenon of antisemitism.”

Fidel Reyes Lee, President of the Israel-Guatemala Friendship League and Chairman of the Israel Allies Caucus: “We are pleased to share with the world the historical ties that have united Guatemala with Israel for more than 70 years, which translates into determined actions that today are part of history, as represented by the return of the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal Capital of Israel. In addition, the Guatemala Israel Parliamentary Friendship League had the initiative that gave birth to the promulgation of Decree of the ‘Guatemala-Israel Friendship Law,’ as well as the Decree of the Law of the Holocaust memorial day, condemning the atrocities and human rights violations, making a vehement call to the nations to reject and condemn antisemitism and recognize the resolution made by the IHRA. So with satisfaction we can ratify our commitment, support and solidarity with the people of Israel.”

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Antisemitism Movement Executive Director: “At this moment in history, with Israel under constant attack and with antisemitic hatred flourishing worldwide, it is time for friends of the Jewish people and Israel to stand up and be counted in a display of resolute solidarity. The Central America Forum for Israel is the first event of many that will build a united front to combat the oldest form of hatred, while simultaneously strengthening the ties of the State of Israel to our partners in the region.”

Leopoldo Martinez, Israel Allies Foundation Latin America Director: “It is not a coincidence that most of the leaders participating in the Central American Forum for Israel are Bible-believing Christians. We are seeing a growing number of Christian in Central America getting involved politically. The move of the Guatemalan embassy and more recently the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem is a testament to the success of faith-based diplomacy. This Forum is an important opportunity to unite and broadcast the voices of leaders in Central America who stand firmly with Israel and strongly against antisemitism.”

The Combat Antisemitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending antisemitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 330 organizations and 340,000 individuals have joined the Combat Antisemitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of antisemitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.

The Center for Jewish Impact was established by its Chairman, Robert Singer, along with senior leaders and professionals of the Jewish world under the vision of becoming a focal point and center for excellence for innovative and impactful initiatives that deliver benefit to Israel and the Jewish world. The Center’s approach is to effectively implement innovative projects that deliver tangible results to all stakeholders, and strategically focusing on the issues of education, supporting Israel, Israel-Diaspora Jewry relations, interfaith dialogue, and combatting antisemitism.