Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s controversial comment on President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall on the Mexican border has reportedly sparked an outburst of anti-Semitism in that country.
“President Trump is right,” wrote Netanyahu. “I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
The Mexican government has taken offense and demanded an apology from Israel. However, on Tuesday, Netanyahu insisted that his statement was directed only at Israel’s security wall, and did not refer at all to the current controversy between the U.S. and Mexico.
Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, Chief Rabbi of the Orthodox Magen David Jewish community of Mexico, told Army Radio that it “awakened a lot of anti-Semitism here on the social-media networks.”
The reaction to Netanyahu’s words was immediate. Comments against Jews and Israel began to appear, including statements such as “out Jews” and worse.
The umbrella Central Committee of the Jewish Community of Mexico released a statement saying: “We do not agree with his point of view and we strongly reject his position.”
“As Mexicans and Jews, we support the actions taken by our government, led by President Enrique Peña Nieto, in the negotiations with the U.S. We stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens who live, work and contribute to the neighboring country, whose human rights should be respected at all times and who should receive dignified treatment,” the group added.
Reaction against Netanyahu was widespread in the Jewish community, according to The Times of Israel on Tuesday. “Kosher stores, synagogues and intellectual circles in Mexico’s small Jewish community condemned the Israeli prime minister’s support for President Trump’s border wall as disappointing and shameful,” it said.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will speak with Nieto on Tuesday, a source close to him said, in an attempt to calm the row.
There are approximately 50,000 Jews living in Mexico.