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AJC Urges Latin American Nations to Return Envoys to Israel

NEW YORK, July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is urging several Latin American countries to reconsider their decision to recall their ambassadors from Israel.

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"There simply is no rational reason for such a punitive action against the only truly democratic nation in the Middle East," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

El Salvador today joined with Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, which in recent days withdrew their ambassadors to protest Israel's response to Hamas.

The recalls came as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela convened in Caracas for the Mercosur summit, which brought together the trade bloc's official and associate members.

Four of the Mercosur official members issued today a joint statement singling out Israel for criticism, while astonishingly not even mentioning Hamas. Paraguay did not join in the statement.

"What would any of these Latin American countries do if their citizens were subjected to the kind of sustained rocket and missile attacks, and terrorist infiltrations via tunnels, that more than half of Israel's population has been forced to endure from Hamas-controlled Gaza?" Harris asked. "Recalling ambassadors will not end Hamas' terrorist actions, and for certain will not advance the cause of peace. To the contrary, it will only complicate still further the quest for a durable peace agreement."

"Moreover," Harris noted, "the notion that Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay would issue a joint statement with Venezuela voicing concern about human rights anywhere would be laughable, if it weren't so terribly tragic. Caracas has been one of the main defenders of Syrian President Assad, who is responsible for some 170,000 deaths and millions of refugees, and is a staunch ally of Iran, the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world, including at least two deadly attacks in Argentina in 1992 and 1994. Shame!"

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SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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