Argentina joins chorus of leftist Latin American leaders criticizing Israeli military response
Argentina’s Foreign Ministry criticized both Hamas and Israel on Wednesday, but outright accused Israel of violating international law for its response in Gaza
November 2, 2023 9:39am
Updated: November 3, 2023 8:49am
Argentina’s government on Wednesday joined the chorus of leftist Latin American countries criticizing Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks.
While the United States has shown diplomatic and military support for Tel Aviv in the wake of the attacks, its South American neighbors have unleashed a series of critical comments on social media, lashing out against the Jewish homeland for its military response in the Gaza Strip.
Those countries included Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Bolivia officially severed diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
Argentina’s Foreign Ministry criticized both Hamas and Israel on Wednesday, but outright accused Israel of violating international law for its response in Gaza.
“Argentina has unequivocally condemned the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7 and recognizes Israel’s right to its legitimate defense. However, nothing justifies the violation of international humanitarian law and the obligation to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts,” Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry said that Tel Aviv’s Military response effecting the Jabaliya refugee camp makes the “humanitarian situation in Gaza is ever more alarming.”
While the response of other Latin American countries made headlines, Argentina’s response got the attention of several news outlets since there are currently 21 missing Argentine citizens who are presumed to be held hostage by Hamas.
According to the country’s Foreign Ministry, nine Argentines have also been killed since Hamas launched its terror attacks three weeks ago.
Argentina is currently under the rule of President Alberto Fernández, a member of the leftist, Peronist Justicialist Party who assumed power in 2019.
Fernández, who is up against a 75% disapproval rating, and whose vice president, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner previously battled corruption charges in 2016, has decided not to run for reelection.
He did not seek reelection in this year’s general presidential election, which is currently leading to a runoff between Renewal Frontcandidate Sergio Massa, the country’s current Minister of Economy, and Libertarian Party candidate Javier Miliei, who has described the Argentina as a “tax hell.”
The South American country’s foreign ministry released its statement only a few hours after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva demanded Israel end its bombing of Gaza on social media.
“We are seeing, for the first time, a war in which the majority of those killed are children,” Lula tweeted. “Stop! For the love of God, stop!”
Colombian President Gustavo Petro also shared several messages on social media attacking the Jewish homeland.
“It’s called genocide, they’re doing it to remove the Palestinian people from Gaza and take it over,” Petro wrote on X. “The head of the state committing this genocide is a criminal against humanity.”
Also on X, Chilean President Gabriel Boric said “innocent civilians” were the “main victims of Israel’s offensive.”
Chile “doesn’t doubt in condemning the attacks and kidnappings perpetrated by Hamas,” Boric added.
“Humanity cannot sustain itself through ties that dehumanize.”
Bolivia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said its government made the decision “in repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip.”
He justified the country’s cutting of diplomatic ties, saying his government was seeking an end to Israel's blockade, arguing that it was obstructing "the entry of food, water and other essential elements for life.”
Israeli official Lior Haiat called the move “a surrender to terrorism” and accused the Bolivian government of “aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization.”
Severing diplomatic ties with Israel means “the Bolivian government is aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said. Bolivia originally cut diplomatic ties with Israel in 2009, but reestablished them in 2020.
Jewish rights organization combatting antisemitism also released statements, criticizing the collective of leftist Latin American countries for its moral ambivalence in attributing any blame to the Jewish homeland for acting in its own self-defense.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, criticized Bolivia, Chile and Colombia for their public statements against Israel.
The Israeli government on Wednesday called on Colombia and Chile to “explicitly condemn the Hamas terrorist organization, which slaughtered and abducted babies, children, women and the elderly,” in a statement released by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Israel expects Colombia and Chile to support the right of a democratic country to protect its citizens, and to call for the immediate release of all the abductees, and not align themselves with Venezuela and Iran in support of Hamas terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The anti-Israel statements and diplomatic moves by Brazil, Chile and Colombia, all of which are led by leftist leaders, come as others in South America continue to lash out against Israel’s military activity.
Israel attributed the moves to Bolivia’s alliance with Iran and said that the decision of Colombia and Chile to recall their ambassadors on Tuesday evening “a clearly coordinated action.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said those diplomatic decisions came as no surprise.
“Both leaders have always been hostile toward Israel and both have a history of diplomatic disagreements with representatives of the Jewish State,” the organization said.
Antisemitic attacks can be tracked on the organization’s ADL Tracker.