Written by Dina Siegel Vann.
Director, AJC Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs.
I am writing to ask you to stand with the Jews of Chile, who are feeling increasingly unsafe. While Jews are being directly targeted, Chile’s entire democratic tradition is also coming under threat.
Chile is home to the largest Palestinian diaspora population outside the Middle East, and some of its activists are advancing an aggressive anti-Israel agenda bordering on antisemitism. Members of the Jewish community have endured repeated harassment related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are often forced to choose between their personal safety and their right to express support for Israel.
Likely making the situation even worse for Chilean Jews, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, widely condemned recently for his antisemitic views about the Holocaust, is visiting Chile this week.
If Chile leaves the situation unchecked, the demonization of support for Israel—a category largely synonymous with Jews, and hence largely a smokescreen for antisemitism—threatens to unravel the country’s hard-fought gains as a model of democracy and inclusiveness in Latin America.
Jews around the world, not just in Chile, depend on the values of democracy as a shield against injustice and antisemitism. As we have seen in Venezuela, when the rights of minorities are devalued, when hatred and bigotry are unchallenged, and when the concerns of citizens fall on deaf ears, democracies crumble, and no one is safe.
Take action now to show your solidarity with Chile’s Jewish community. Sign AJC’s petition urging the country’s president to speak out against hate speech and violence directed against our Jewish brothers and sisters.
Dina Siegel Vann
Director, AJC Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs