The Latin American Jewish community has been on high alert since the Gaza conflict this summer set off waves of anti-Semitism across the continent.
Brazil and Uruguay experienced some high-profile anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incidents, and recently held their presidential elections.
B'nai B'rith Director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn was quoted in an article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, interpreting the results of the election in Uruguay as it relates to the Jewish community.
Highlights from the article can be read, below:
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who called Israel’s conflict this summer with Hamas “a massacre,” was reelected in a tight vote.
Brazil, a country of some 110,000 Jews, pulled its ambassador from Israel during the conflict.
Also Sunday, in Uruguay, no candidate received the necessary majority in presidential voting, forcing a runoff next month.
In Uruguay, with 99 percent of the vote counted, the ruling leftist coalition candidate, Tabare Vazquez, was leading with 47.1 percent of the vote, but was short of the 50 percent majority needed to win the presidency in the first round. He will face Luis Lacalle Pou of the center-right National Party, who had 30.6 percent of the vote, in the runoff on Nov. 30.
The Jewish community has a fluid dialogue with Vazquez and Pou.
Eduardo Kohn, the director of Latin American Affairs for B’nai B’rith, told JTA that both candidates have spoken before the Jewish community in the last two months.
Kohn said they agreed that “Hamas is a terrorist group, and as any terrorist group must be faced and combated. Both agreed that there should be a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians and the solution should be a two-state solution.”
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