International Summit on Israel Brings Together Members of Congress, Latin American MPs in Miami

International Summit on Israel Brings Together Members of Congress, Latin American MPs in Miami


International Summit on Israel Brings Together Members of Congress, Latin American MPs in Miami
Israel Allies Foundation Launches New Latin America Program


Miami – Four high-ranking Members of Congress will convene in Miami with Ministers of Parliament from 14 Latin American countries and regional community leaders at the Israel Allies Foundation Latin America Summit on Israel on April 27th to explore ways of capturing emerging opportunities in the Western Hemisphere to improve relations with Israel. The Israel Allies Foundation works with parliamentarians around the world to increase support for Israel and foster better relations with the Jewish State.

“We’ve been looking forward to expanding our mission of building support for Israel in parliaments and legislatures to Latin America for quite some time now. This Summit is our big launch,” said Israel Allies Foundation Executive Director Willem Griffioen. “We’re very pleased by the enthusiastic response from across Latin America. 20 MPs from 14 countries, that’s a big success. And this is just the first step” he added.

In addition to considering ways to expand Israel-Latin American relations, attendees will discuss the importance of maintaining Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere, and the prospects for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), a co-chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, will speak at the event. “As the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, I never waste an opportunity to promote strong relations between Israel and our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said, adding “I strongly believe that a robust Israel-Latin America partnership is in the best interests of all our countries.”
Congressman Pedro Gálvez, Secretary of the Board of the Guatemalan Congress, expressed his country’s interest in a closer relationship with Israel: “Guatemala recognized Israeli statehood in 1948. Over the last decade, unfortunately, Guatemalan support for Israel has slipped. It’s critical we reverse the trend and strengthen our relationship,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting with my counterparts from other Latin American countries and with Members of the U.S. Congress at the Israel Allies Foundation Summit on Israel to discuss the importance of Israel and explore options for improving our countries’ relations with Israel.”

Latin America is a region of growing importance to Israel. With many shared values and interests, deeper relations provide opportunities to expand trade and investment and build broader diplomatic support for Israel in international forums. Latin America is becoming a critical focus of Israeli foreign policy, and with attitudes towards Israel improving in Latin America, its leaders are eager to seize the moment and refocus relations with Israel.

A long-time advocate for strong Israel-Latin America relations, Minister Ruperto Long of Uruguay noted, “Uruguay was one of the eleven members of the United Nations Special Committee that prepared the 1947 Resolution, and welcomed the first Israeli embassy in Latin America.” He added, “Jewish people have played a very important role in Uruguay for more than a century, and we need to honor that tradition. It is unbelievable that after more than three thousand years the Jewish people have not been allowed to have their own country where they can live in peace. For me, this is an essential human rights issue to fix.”

The recent suspicious death of the lawyer Alberto Nisman just days before he was set to charge Argentina’s president with assisting Iran in covering up its role in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires caused outrage in Argentina and has led many of the rising generation of political leaders to question Argentina’s friendship with Iran and call for better relations with Israel. Accordingly, Dr. Julio Schlosser, the president of the umbrella organization of Argentina’s Jewish community, will address summit attendees to discuss how the mood in Argentina could lead to improved relations with Israel not only in Argentina, but across Latin America.

U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon (R-AZ), member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the most recent past chairman of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee, is bringing his expertise to Miami. “The nation of Israel serves as a bastion of freedom in a region of the world fraught with sectarian violence and rebellion, and the strong bilateral relationships Israel maintains with the United States and Latin America significantly aid their ability to resist the ravages of these conflicts,” he said. “I look forward to speaking at the Latin American Summit on Israel to discuss the importance of these relationships and the actions we can take in the Western Hemisphere to assist Israel.”

“We have much to discuss at the summit,” said Israel Allies Foundation Latin America Coordinator Leopoldo Martínez, adding “There is a lot of important issues to discuss in the Latin America-Israel relationship, and we’re thankful that Congressman Eliot Engel, Congressmen Ron DeSantis, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Matt Salmon will bring their expertise in Israeli and Latin American affairs to the discussions. This will be an auspicious launch of our Latin America project.”

Press Contact: Aaron Menenberg. 206-484-3596.

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