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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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January 15, 2014

Chilean Soccer Used As A Platform For Anti-Semitism, Discrimination And Politics

Chilean soccer authorities and FIFA officials have remained silent after reports of the highly politicized and unsportsmanlike conduct of the entire Chilean El Palestino soccer club. el-palestino-jersey-map-of palestine

The team, which is affiliated with the National Association of Professional Soccer in Chile, replaced their standard uniform with jerseys imprinted with the outline of what they see as the map of “Palestine” in place of numerals. The imprinted map of “Palestine” includes the territory that is the state of Israel.

El Palestino team, by using these jerseys in games on January 4, January 11 and again on January 13, 2014, has been voicing the long-held vicious Palestinian propaganda against the very legitimacy and existence of the state of Israel.

In the January 11 game, El Palestino fans cheered their team for their bold political message and some spectators in the stadium even displayed anti-Semitic flags equating a swastika with the Star of David. swastika-el-palestino-chile-match

FIFA regulations clearly require that, “the team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment contains political, religious or personal slogans or statements will be sanctioned by the competition organizer or by FIFA.”  Additionally, Articles 14 and 23 of the FIFA code of Ethics clearly require teams and players to “remain politically neutral” and to refrain from offending “the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason.”

Soccer, or “futbol”, is Latin America’s most popular sport.  The El Palestino team’s actions remain unchallenged while they play in Chile’s first division; soccer authorities in Chile and internationally need to enforce regulations to prevent further incidents.



Fútbol en Chile: Una plataforma para la discriminación y la política

Las autoridades de fútbol de Chile y funcionarios de la FIFA se han mantenido en silencio después de informes sobre la conducta altamente politizada y antideportiva de todo el club de fútbol chileno El Palestino. El equipo, que está afiliado a la Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional de Chile, reemplazó su uniforme estándar con camisetas impresas con el esbozo de lo que ellos ven como el mapa de “Palestina” en lugar de números. El mapa de “Palestina” impreso incluye el territorio del Estado de Israel. El equipo El Palestino, al utilizar estas camisetas en los partidos del 4 de enero, del 11 de enero y otra vez del 13 de enero de 2014, está articulando la viciosa y antigua propaganda palestina contra la legitimidad y existencia del estado de Israel.

En el juego del 11 de enero, seguidores de El Palestino glorificaron a su equipo por su audaz mensaje político y algunos espectadores en desde las galerías del estadio incluso sacaron banderas antisemitas equiparando la esvástica con la Estrella de David.

Reglamentos de la FIFA establecen claramente que, “el organizador de la competición o la FIFA sancionará al equipo de un jugador cuyo equipamiento básico obligatorio tenga mensajes políticos, religiosos o personales”. Además, los artículos 14 y 23 del Código Ético de la FIFA claramente requieren que los equipos y los jugadores “mantengan una posición política neutral” y que se abstengan de ofender “la dignidad o integridad de un país, de una persona o de un grupo de personas mediante palabras o acciones despectivas, discriminatorias o denigrantes, por razón de su raza, color de piel, etnia, origen nacional o social, genero, idioma, religión, posicionamiento político o de otra índole, poder adquisitivo, lugar de nacimiento o procedencia, orientación sexual o cualquier otro motivo”.

El Fútbol es el deporte más popular de América Latina. El equipo El Palestino continuará con sus acciones mientras juegue otros partidos de la primera división chilena a menos que las autoridades de fútbol de Chile como a nivel internacional hagan cumplir las normas y regulaciones para evitar nuevos incidentes.



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May 22, 2013

State Department’s Religious Freedom Report Recognizes Severity Of Global Anti-Semitism


Desecration of Jewish cemetery

On May 20, 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, describing the U.S. assessment of the status of religious freedom in every country. The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world.

This annual report demonstrates the American commitment to the fundamental democratic right to practice one’s religion without interference from government and signifies and underscores the role governments must play in protecting that right.  It shines a light on a number of important issues specifically related to the persecution of religious minorities, including government sponsored discrimination, religious bigotry and hatred propagated by the media, and violence directed at specific religious denominations.

While addressing all forms of religious discrimination, the U.S. government’s role in monitoring and combatting anti-Jewish expressions around the world is an important feature of the report. It highlights incidents of anti-Semitism on the governmental level, in politics and within the media, and documents acts of vandalism and violence directed at Jews. These include:

Iran – The government’s continued Holocaust denial and propagation of anti-Semitic stereotypes, including pronouncements by President Ahmadinejad regarding “Zionists…ruling the major world affairs” for some 400 years.

Egypt – Senior Muslim Brotherhood officials, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei, frequently issue anti-Semitic statements, while the media airs anti-Semitic programming, including the TV series “Horseman without a Horse” based on the notorious anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The widespread hatred and violence directed at Egypt’s Coptic Christian community is also mentioned.

Venezuela – Anti-Semitism is quite prevalent in the government controlled media, particularly in opinion pieces and editorial cartoons. The recent presidential candidacy of Henrique Capriles, a Catholic of Jewish descent, was a main focus of the media’s anti-Semitism. 

Chile – There has been an increase in the number anti-Semitic public statements, particularly across social media platforms. Incidents of anti-Jewish vandalism are on the rise, and a number of physical attacks against Jews were documented, including an assault on a 14 year-old by a group of Neo-Nazis.

The State Department’s report also makes a number of references to ADL’s work in highlighting and combating global anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. These include:

Austria – ADL’s training projects with the Ministry of Education on Holocaust education.

Greece – ADL’s statements calling on government authorities to do more to counter the anti-Semitic rhetoric and violent actions of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn political party.

Hungary – ADL’s statements calling on the government to enforce a new law that would hold members of parliament legally accountable for espousing hateful remarks. This law was in reaction to an anti-Semitic statement by a member of country’s neo-Nazi Jobbik party, who called on parliament to “assess how many MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and who present a national security risk to Hungary.” The report also cited ADL’s survey on anti-Semitic attitudes in Hungary which showed a significant rise in the percent of the population harboring anti-Semitic attitudes.

Turkey – ADL’s statement criticizing a cosmetics company for featuring Adolph Hitler in a shampoo commercial that ran on state television.

The State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2012 can be found here.

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