After Hamas attacked Israel, pro-Palestinian demonstrators burned an Israeli flag outside the Israeli embassy in Bogota, and Colombian President Gustavo Petro sparred with Jewish leaders on X, a social media platform that replaced Twitter.
Gustavo Petro, a former member of the M19 armed guerilla movement and Colombia’s first left-wing president in decades, has tweeted and retweeted a consistent stream of pro-Palestinian messages on his account on X since the news of the attacks broke on Saturday.
His profile’s header still features a collage of images of Palestinian kids who, according to him, were “murdered by the illegal occupation of their territory.”
His tweet from Saturday states, “The only way for Israeli children to sleep in peace is for Palestinian children to sleep in peace.
“Only if Palestinian children can sleep peacefully will Israeli children be able to do the same. War will never do this; only a peace deal that upholds international law and the rights of the two peoples to an unhindered existence would do so.
In a subsequent tweet, Petro reacted to Gali Dagan, the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, who had informed local media that he hoped Petro would denounce Hamas attacks.
Whether in Colombia or Palestine, “terrorism is killing innocent children,” Petro said. An inquiry for comment was not answered by the Israeli embassy in Bogotá.
The Confederación de Comunidades Judas de Colombia’s director, Marcos Peckel, tweeted in reaction to Petro’s statements: “President @petrogustavo, the innocent children who died today were Jews and Israelis massacred by Palestinian terrorists.”
“Governments that get used to bombing children do not seem fair to me,” Petro said in a tweet. Children are not bombed by God.
Additionally, Petro stated that Gaza is “becoming a concentration camp.” In reaction to a video showing Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant discussing the situation in Gaza, he said, “Concentration camps are prohibited by international law, and those who develop them become criminals against humanity.”
Petro tweeted in reaction to a Gallant video in which he claims that Gazans currently lack access to water and electricity: “This is what the Nazis said about the Jews.
The Holocaust will only result from this hate speech if democratic people allow Nazism to reappear in international politics. In response to Petro’s remarks, the Confederation of Colombia’s Jewish Communities issued a statement.
As the representative organization of the Jewish community of Colombia, we reject the obstinance of President Gustavo Petro in refusing to openly and without subterfuge condemn the savage aggression of which the State of Israel, a great friend of Colombia, was subjected to yesterday by the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, as have done the vast majority of democracies of the world, including those governments, including those governed by the progressive and democratic forces that the president so admires,” the group wrote.
“The recurring statements of President Petro on X seemed to justify the actions of Hamas and its war crimes.”
Vicky Chehebar Kassin, a commissioner for gender equality at the Latin American Jewish Congress, told JTA that “despite the overwhelming concern we feel from reading our president’s justification of Hamas’ terrorism, we are comforted by the immense number of voices in Colombia who condemn these violations of human rights and war crimes, like the use of rape as a weapon of war, commonly used by terrorist groups such as ISIS or Boko Haram.”