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September 6, 2018 3:16 pm

US Jewish Groups Condemn Paraguayan Reversal of Jerusalem Embassy Move

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Former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, July 19, 2016. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO.

Several prominent US Jewish groups have condemned Paraguay’s decision — announced on Wednesday — to return its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

In May, Paraguay had followed the US and Guatemala in establishing embassies in Israel’s contested capital city.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder called Paraguay’s reversal of that move “deeply regrettable and disappointing.”

“Paraguay’s decision to relocate its embassy back to Tel Aviv less than four months after underscoring its recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel is deeply regrettable and disappointing,” Lauder said. “Paraguay has always been a steadfast supporter of the State of Israel, and it is extremely concerning to witness the unnecessary strain in ties between two historically strong friends.”

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“We profoundly hope that the two countries will be able to mend the rift that this decision has created and resume their crucial diplomatic relationship within the international arena,” he continued.

Dina Siegel Vann — the American Jewish Committee’s director of Latino and Latin American affairs — stated, “This diplomatic reversal is shocking. Paraguay has long been a leader among Latin American nations in advancing cooperative relations with Israel. Opening the Paraguayan Embassy in Jerusalem was indicative of that support.”

“To suddenly reverse the historic decision less than four months later raises a number of questions, including who exerted pressure on Paraguay to do so,” she added. “It cannot be a coincidence that as Paraguay announces this decision, the Palestinian Authority celebrates and declares it will open an ‘embassy’ in Asunción.”

B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said, “The decision by Paraguay to reverse itself and now move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv is deeply disconcerting.”

“This action will only embolden the Palestinians to feel that they need not negotiate, but instead circumvent talks with Israel, going country to country, seeking to isolate the Jewish state,” they continued. “That tactic will push peace further away, not closer. Paraguay should honor the commitment of its previous government immediately, and reverse its decision to move its embassy away from Jerusalem.”

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