Central America Forum for Israel Holds Inaugural Session

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei (center) meets with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (right) at the National Palace of Culture in Guatemala City, July 6. (Reuters/Luis Echeverria)

At an inaugural Central America Forum for Israel on Thursday, regional leaders issued joint declaration calling for a united stance against surging global antisemitism, including support for the IHRA international definition of antisemitism, and expressed solidarity with the state of Israel following the Gaza conflict, and urged tougher action against Hezbollah.

Speaking from Guatemala City, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei declared that “the enemies of Israel are our enemies, and the friends of Israel are our friends. We declare Hezbollah to be an enemy of the State of Guatemala, and hope we never receive any investment which might come from groups or countries aligned with Hezbollah.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid: “We stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against global terrorism. One key step is banning Hezbollah, all of Hezbollah, and I am thankful for those who have taken the step and call on every country to follow suit.”

Representatives included speakers from Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Nicaragua, and the United States. Global organizations represented included the Central American Parliament and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

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

Secretary of the National Congress of Honduras Congressman Jose Tomas Zambrano spoke about the significance of the opening of the country’s embassy in Yerushalayim in June. He added that despite the political difficulties, This year, we promoted an initiative in Congress to condemn all the terrorist attacks against Jerusalem and Israel, which was also passed, supported by the majority of Congress.”

Also addressing the forum, Congresswoman Dorina Rodríguez Salazar from the Dominican Republic, spoke about her nation’s role in saving Jews during the Holocaust, noting “we welcomed hundred Jews with warmth and love.”

Congressman Uarren Beitia, Member of the Central American Parliament, said that Panama had worked hard to criminalize racism and discrimination. He stressed that with the right legislation, “although antisemitism exists to a certain degree, as it does all over the world, it rarely results in concerning events.”

U.S. Senators James Lankford and Jacky Rosen, co-founders, and co-chairs of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, reiterated the importance of the IHRA definition as a tool in legislative efforts to quell Jew-hatred.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) noted, “We have seen certain members of the U.S. Congress and prominent activists demonize Israel for defending itself against acts of terror. My Republican colleagues and I, as well as many Democrats, unapologetically stand behind Israel.”

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