Zionism in Latin America

Image: Frank Barning


Zionism is used in Latin America as an instrument to try to exercise US domination and fragment a possible Latin American unity

One of the objectives of the binomial Israel and the United States is the political, economic, media and cultural influence of Zionism in Latin America. Zionism is used in Latin America as an instrument to try to exercise US domination and fragment a possible Latin American unity, a region it considers its “backyard”. Militarism, business and the ideology of Zionism have strengthened relations with right-wing governments in Latin America.

Currently, with support for far-right governments, they intend to prevent the increase in the influence of China, Russia and the BRICS+ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, this year Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates joined United Arab States).

There are also cases of countries with greater sovereignty or that more explicitly reject these influences.

Zionism, Judeophobia and imperialism

Israel's “policy of persecution” in the face of alleged Judeophobia, which exists, has been used as a weapon to obstruct all criticism of Israeli foreign policy and the Palestinians. For example, the statement by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) attempts to equate criticism of Zionism and its warmongering foreign policy with negative views of Judaism.

For this reason, it is necessary to distinguish what would be anti-Jewish positions from anti-Zionist and anti-Israel positions. The first position is racist, the second is anti-colonial and the third would be something similar to an anti-American perspective, in the sense that it expresses a generic rejection of imperialism led by that power.

As Michel Prior explains in his book The Bible and colonialism. A moral critique, since its conception in the late 1890s, Zionism coincided in several aspects with the European nationalisms and colonialisms of the XNUMXth century. It accompanied the colonialist and imperialist actions of the United Kingdom in relation to the Middle East (to avoid its unification) and to the detriment of the development of Latin America until the middle of the XNUMXth century.

Since the 1970s, Israel has been a country that we can call co-imperial, which acts in line with the geopolitical priorities of North American imperialism. To this end, it collaborates with financial pressure and with the US embassies in Latin America.

Zionism supported coups d'état, supported neoliberal imposition and supports the current American attempt to recover from the rise of other powers.

Zionism's interference in Latin American dictatorships

One of the spaces through which the militarism of Zionism permeates its ideas is through the media. Several Latin American media outlets represent an extreme right-wing endorsement of Israel's policies supported by the United States, by showing news and images about the Middle East out of context with the consequent dehumanization of Palestinians, who would act without discernment or reasons.

Another is that, historically, Israel trained and sold weapons to military or state forces, as in the dictatorships of Paraguay (1954-1989), Guatemala (1963-1966 and 1982-1985), Chile (1973-1990) and Argentina (1976- 1983), Ecuador (1976-1979), Nicaragua (1937-1979), El Salvador (1931-1979 and the civil war until 1992).

Furthermore, it accompanied this imperialist policy with neoliberal impositions in joint action with the United States.

This was investigated by Israel Shahak in the book The State of Israel armed the dictatorships of Latin America, in which he details Tel Aviv's role in Latin American dictatorships. He highlights how he supplied them with weapons in the 1970s and 1980s, and quotes European commentators: “These people (women, girls, nuns, priests) fell under the bullets of the Uzi, the Galil; “This village was bombed by Israeli-built Arava planes.”

Also in the newspaper El País of Spain, Julio Huasi in 1983 referred to a Summit in New Delhi on Israeli military interference in Latin America, where he stated: “Israel's military interference in Latin America, by express agreement with the United States, was condemned by the hundred members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) […] Arms sales and training provided by Tel Aviv advisors to military regimes in Latin America are currently estimated at around three billion dollars.”

Ideology and Zionism in the recent far right in Latin America

Zionism is in close relationship with far-right governments and those established through so-called soft coups (or legal warfare) and political persecution.

An example of this are the Lava Jato cases in Brazil, linked to the coup d'état against Dilma Rousseff and the arrest of Lula da Silva, or the cases opened against Rafael Correa in Ecuador and against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, or Pedro Castillo in Peru.

The far-right governments established through these political maneuvers sought support in Israel and the United States. The dictatorial government of Jeanine Áñez in Bolivia (2019-2020) asked for Israeli contributions to “combat left-wing terrorism”.

In this way, the influence of Zionism in Latin America is maintained through militarism. Israel continued to train repressive forces in the region, especially during more conservative governments. Israel is the world's tenth largest exporter of weapons – and spy technology such as the Pegasus application – and the ninth largest importer.

Ideologically, this can be seen in the way it collaborated in the establishment of neoliberalism, in its close relations with dictatorships and the right-wing governments that continued them. The main representatives, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Javier Milei in Argentina, seek to distance themselves from Chinese and Russian influence and ally themselves with the United States and Israel.

Zionism in Latin America is an inseparable element of the Monroe Doctrine of the United States. In other words, trying to dominate “America (the continent) for the Americans (Americans)”, and considering the center and south of this continent, in a derogatory way, their “backyard”.

Martin Martinelli Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Universidad Nacional de Luján (Argentina).

Originally published on the portal Spanish TRT.

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