Chile’s New President Has Already Made Clear That His Hostility toward Zionism Extends to Jews

Dec. 21 2021

On Sunday, the young, far-left candidate Gabriel Boric was elected president of Chile. A committed anti-Zionist, Boric has previously described Israel as a “genocidal and murderous state,” an opinion he stood by in a more recent interview. Ben Cohen writes that many of the country’s 18,000 Jews are worried about what Boric’s election might bring, and with good reason:

Several Jewish groups posted screenshots of Boric’s response to a gift from the Chilean Jewish community in October 2019 in honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, in which he suggested that his Jewish fellow citizens were accountable for Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

“The Jewish community of Chile sent me a jar of honey for the Jewish new year, reaffirming its commitment to ‘a more inclusive, supportive, and respectful society,’” Boric tweeted at the time. “I appreciate the gesture, but they could start by asking Israel to return illegally occupied Palestinian territory,” he continued.

Boric has also drafted legislation in Chile’s parliament imposing a boycott of goods and services produced by Jewish communities located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. During his election campaign, Boric enthusiastically reaffirmed this position at a meeting with leaders of the 350,000-strong Palestinian community in Chile—the largest Palestinian diaspora outside of the Middle East and one with heavy political clout.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Latin America

Saudi Arabia Should Open Its Doors to Israeli—and Palestinian—Pilgrims

On the evening of June 26 the annual period of the Hajj begins, during which Muslims from all over the world visit Mecca and perform prescribed religious rituals. Because of the de-jure state of war between Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state, Israeli Muslim pilgrims—who usually number about 6,000—must take a circuitous (and often costly) route via a third country. The same is true for Palestinians. Mark Dubowitz and Tzvi Kahn, writing in the Saudi paper Arab News, urge Riyadh to reconsider its policy:

[I]f the kingdom now withholds consent for direct flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia, it would be a setback for those normalization efforts, not merely a continuation of the status quo. It is hard to see what the Saudis would gain from that.

One way to support the arrangement would be to include Palestinians in the deal. Israel might also consider earmarking its southern Ramon Airport for the flights. After all, Ramon is significantly closer to the kingdom than Ben-Gurion Airport, making for cheaper routes. Its seclusion from Israeli population centers would also help Israeli efforts to monitor outgoing passengers and incoming flights for security purposes.

A pilot program that ran between August and October proved promising, with dozens of Palestinians from the West Bank traveling back and forth from Ramon to Cyprus and Turkey. This program proceeded over the objections of the Palestinian Authority, which fears being sidelined by such accommodations. Jordan, too, has reason to be concerned about the loss of Palestinian passenger dinars at Amman’s airports.

But Palestinians deserve easier travel. Since Israel is willing to be magnanimous in this regard, Saudi Arabia can certainly follow suit by allowing Ramon to be the springboard for direct Hajj flights for Palestinian and Israeli Muslims alike. And that would be a net positive for efforts to normalize ties between [Jerusalem] and Riyadh.

Read more at Arab News

More about: Israel-Arab relations, Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia