October 25, 2013 – New York – AJC is calling on the Chilean government to reprimand Senator Eugenio Tuma for his ongoing public threats against Jews and Israelis.
Tuma, who chairs the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, repeated in a recent Controversia TV interview his charge that thousands of Israeli soldiers “dressed as civilians are in southern Chile mapping out the region.” Tuma added that the Chilean government “decided to do nothing given the power exerted by Israel and the U.S."
AJC, which three years ago called on Chilean government and civil society leaders to publicly condemn Tuma, reiterated its warning about the legislator’s provocative remarks.
“Senator Tuma’s baseless accusations are extremely dangerous, all the more so in a country that has experienced an uptick in anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in recent years,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute.
“The real danger to Chilean society is ignoring Tuma’s campaign of hate against Israel and Chilean Jews,” said Siegel Vann, adding that the anti-discrimination law adopted last year by the Chilean Congress should be used to take action against Senator Tuma.
Tuma, who is of Palestinian descent, has accused prominent Chilean Jews, including the country’s Interior Minister, of being Israeli government agents. Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community, some 300,000, outside the Middle East.
Comunidad Judia de Chile, the representative body of the Chilean Jewish community, is an AJC international partner.