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July 23, 2014

Anti-Israel Protests in South America

Over the past ten days, there have been several anti-Israel demonstrations throughout Latin America protesting Israel’s military action in Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge, some with messaging that crossed the line into anti-Semitism. At protests, signs comparing Israel to the Nazis were seen, participants spoke about Israel committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians in Gaza, and calls were issued on governments to break relations with Israel.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Argentinian Committee of Solidarity with Palestine organized a protest outside the Israeli Embassy where dozens of social, political, human rights and student groups participated. Tilda Rabi, President of the Federation of Argentine-Palestinian Entities, requested that the Argentinian government break relations with the Israeli government, remove Israel from the Free Trade Agreement with MERCOSUR, and stated that Argentina cannot be an accomplice to Israel’s “war crimes”.

In La Paz, Bolivia, a demonstration took place on July 11, where Israeli flags were burned and protestors were overheard saying “Enough with the genocide, Zionist State of Israel, for your political interests. They killed thousands of innocent people…”

In Santiago, Chile, a “We Are Palestine” protest took place on Saturday, July 19th where a number of groups protested in front of the Israeli and United States embassies. Omar Salame, President of the Union of Palestinian Students in Chile, said “Palestinian people are a victim of genocide,” and Chafik Lasen, President of the group “Palestine For All” said “Palestinians, we are suffering from genocide by the terrorist state of Israel, the largest terrorist state in the world.” Signs reading “Sionismo (Zionism) = Nazism” were displayed at the demonstration. Members of the Chilean Jewish community report experiencing harassment.

In Araucania, Chile, Romina Tuma, the daughter of Senator Eugenio Tuma, led an anti-Israel protest where around 200 people participated. The protest used the slogan “End the Massacre Against the Palestinian People,” and Tuma said that Israelis “are genocidal.” Israeli flags with a swastika and signs saying “Zionism = Nazism” were visible at the protest. In addition, protestors put red paint on an Israeli flag and later burned it.

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