From September 6 to 8 of this year, the II Central America and Israel Forum was held in Panama City, Panama, bringing together for the first time in person an important group of ministers, parliamentarians, and other members of government, as well as directors of important NGOs from 15 countries in the region.
During the plenary sessions of the II Central America and Israel Forum at the Hemicycle of the Latin American Parliament in Panama City, the current relations between Central America, Israel, and the United States were discussed, as well as the challenges and opportunities in the global fight against anti-Semitism.
The II Central America and Israel Forum was spearheaded by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), with the support of the Center for Jewish Impact, the Panama-Israel Friendship League, and the Mariano Rivera Foundation.
They had an extensive list of distinguished participants such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama, Erika Mouynes; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guatemala, Mario Búcaro; the Minister of Education of the Republic of Panama, Maruja Gorday de Villalobos; the Minister of Social Development of Panama, María Inés Castillo de Sanmartín
In addition, others in attendance included the Vice Minister of Culture of Panama, Gabriel González, and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Gerardo Amarilla; the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Israel, Oded Forer; and Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Nachman Shai.
CAM’s Director of Hispanic Outreach, Shay Salamon noted that “this event brought together representatives from 15 countries to discuss issues related to integration, peace, and tolerance, it is of utmost importance, the challenges, both for Panama and for the entire continent, are broader than just fighting anti-Semitism. We must pay attention and begin to fight the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, promoting tolerance, peace dialogue, and integration.”
Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, CEO of Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) said that relations between the Central American States and the State of Israel have been strong and integrated for many years and will continue to strengthen in the future.
“The Jewish people face many challenges in the coming years, and the hundreds of participants in this forum have made it clear that the leaders of this region feel genuine affection and support for the Jewish State.” Salamon added.
For their part, the attending members of the Panamanian government expressed their commitment to the fight against intolerance, ignorance, and hatred through spaces that foster understanding of other religious groups and dialogue.
Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro, who participated in this II Central America and Israel Forum, was honored for his solid and lasting relations with the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
In this regard, the Director of Hispanic Outreach of CAM stressed that Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro is a person who has consistently demonstrated his support for the Jewish people and the State of Israel:
“He was the first ambassador in Jerusalem after Guatemala decided to return its embassy to the capital of Israel, and in that role, he did a very important job of strengthening ties between Guatemala and the State of Israel.”
At the culmination of the II Central America and Israel Forum, a joint declaration was signed by the participants of this distinguished event. It read the following:
“The State of Israel is recognized as the national and ancestral homeland of the Jewish People and we call to fight those who seek to delegitimize it; The Central American nations support a mutually agreed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Encourage the Arab and Muslim nations to join together to seek and achieve peace by creating a region where peace will increase cooperation and collaboration between Israel and its neighbors.”
Last but not least, the II Central America and Israel Forum categorically affirmed that anti-Semitism is a growing evil in societies and therefore they welcome and support the use of the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
This definition provides a clear definition of anti-Semitic prejudice in its current forms, which in turn helps law enforcement agencies across the world to deal with it appropriately and fairly.