Israel furious after Ecuador compares Zionism to Nazism

Ecuadorian official claims there is 'nothing more similar' to Nazis than Israel policy towards Palestinians

Benjamin Kentish
Thursday 08 December 2016 17:27 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly ordered his country's Foreign Ministry to summon the Ecuadorian diplomat
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly ordered his country's Foreign Ministry to summon the Ecuadorian diplomat (Associated Press)

Israel has responded furiously after the Ecuadorian envoy to the United Nations compared Zionism to Nazism.

Diplomat Horacio Sevilla Borja said he did not think there was “anything more similar” to Nazi persecution than Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.

He told a UN session marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: “We repudiate with all our strength the persecution and genocide that in its time unleashed Nazism against the Hebrew people.

“But I cannot remember anything more similar in our contemporary history than the eviction, persecution and genocide that today imperialism and Zionism do against the Palestinian people.”

The comment is believed to echo remarks made by former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who was a fierce critic of Israel.

The Israeli government responded by summoning an Ecuadorian diplomat, Enrique Ponce, in Tel Aviv to express its anger and concern at the remarks.

Acting under orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Latin America, Modi Efraim, reportedly told the diplomat that Mr Borja’s speech was full of inaccuracies, “especially the comparison made between the treatment of the Palestinians and the horrors of the Nazi regime.”

Mr Efraim said Israel “utterly rejects comparisons or comments such as these that are completely detached from reality.”

Mr Ponce reportedly promised to relay the concerns to the Ecuadorian government.

Relations between Israel and Ecuador have been tense for several years. The South American country recalled its ambassador to Israel in 2014 in protest at the Operation Protective Edge military operation in Gaza.

Following the latest comments, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, wrote to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling on him to condemn the remarks and demand Mr Borja apologise.

Mr Danon wrote: “The U.N. cannot treat such despicable words of hate and pure anti-Semitism as business as usual. It should be made crystal clear to all member-states that such anti-Semitic behaviour will not be tolerated at the U.N.”

Zionism is a controversial ideology that is interpreted in many different ways. Some people consider it to be a legitimate belief in the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East while others claim it is a racist or apartheid ideology has been used to aggressively expand Israel’s borders.

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