LATIN AMERICA'S TURN TOWARDS ISRAEL
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|October 2020
FROM IDEOLOGICAL FIXATION TOWARDS PRAGMATISM
DR. ARNAB CHAKRABARTY*

Latin America has always been sharply divided over Israel and Palestine owing to its political axes. Conservative regimes focussed on shared Judeo-Christian values, trade relations and military cooperation with Israel, while the Latin American Left espoused nationalism, anti-colonialism, struggle for freedom and a shared history with the Palestinian diaspora. Although support for Palestine coloured the region, a change in regimes exhibited stronger support for Israel fuelled by a sense of pragmatism. The end of the Cold War, the rise of Israel as a force to reckon with, a declining Left explains how these Latin American states adopted a pragmatic approach towards the Israel-Palestine imbroglio by either balancing between the two or completely shifting towards Israel.

Left’s inclination towards Palestine

Imagery of equality, solidarity and a common struggle for human rights and sovereignty characterised the Left and its struggles against imperialism and foreign intervention. It sees the Palestinian struggle in the same context, without forgetting the years of suffering under right-wing dictatorships, which were financed, supported and aided by the with the covert support of Israel.

The Palestinian and the larger Arab diaspora influence the foreign policies of countries such as Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Honduras and Venezuela to a large extent which finds support from the local population and policymakers. Not only are they opposed to American hegemony coupled with its close relations with Israel, but they have also pushed the leaders of these countries to show sympathy with the Palestinian cause. While Chile and Brazil adopted policies opposing American domination, Venezuela went a step forward along with Bolivia leaving no stone unturned to denounce Israel in the international forums. An analogy between the occupation of Palestine and that of occupation of indigenous territories by many Latin American states has been used by many indigenous groups to express solidarity with Palestine. It was claimed that the indigenous people and the Palestinians share a common history of oppression and occupation. Both groups are concerned about the occupation of their territories and the erosion of their cultural values. As American indigenous leader Russell Means stated, “The Palestinians in Gaza are the American Indians of the Middle East.” This statement in one stroke shows the commonality between both the groups. One may observe the ideological and emotive appeals in fomenting ties between the Palestinian cause and the rebellious outlook of the Left in Latin America.

Turn towards Israel

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