Latin America’s Left Struggles to Respond to the Israel-Hamas War

Latin America’s Left Struggles to Respond to the Israel-Hamas War
A demonstrator holds up a sign reading, “Palestine,” at a rally outside the Israeli Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, on Oct. 10, 2023 (photo by Sebastian Barros for NurPhoto via AP Images).

On Sunday night, when thousands of Israelis were still hiding in their homes from armed infiltrators of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Argentina’s voters turned on their televisions to watch presidential candidates debate ahead of the country’s Oct. 22 election. Not surprisingly, the events unfolding in Israel became a heated topic. After all, Argentina has a large Jewish population that was the target of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country’s history. And at least seven Argentine citizens are confirmed to have been killed in the Hamas onslaught, with another 15 still missing.

All the major candidates across the political spectrum expressed strong support for Israel. In fact, they clashed over which one of them was taking the strongest position. The iconoclastic libertarian Javier Milei blasted Sergio Massa of the center-left Renewal Front, asking him how he would carry out his foreign policies given that the left includes “people that support terrorists.” Massa, who is the minister of the economy in the current leftist Peronist government, shot back, arguing that he has been pushing to have Hamas designated a terrorist organization.

Massa’s clear political alignment with Israel during this crisis, as it happens, is an exception among most of the other leftist governments in power in the region.

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