August 13, 2018
H.E. Iván Duque Márquez
President of the Republic of Colombia
Dear President Duque Marquez,
It is with great pleasure that I write to congratulate you on your inauguration as the new President of Colombia. I wish you success in the years to come. We hope that under your leadership the Colombian government continues to ensure the wellbeing of the Jewish Community in your country.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL acts when anti-Semitism occurs. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.
As you may know, ADL has recently been in conversations with the Colombian Embassy to deliver trainings to Colombian Consular staff across the United States on hate crimes, bullying, cyber-bullying, and anti-immigrant extremism, for the benefit of Colombian nationals in the United States, regardless of their immigration status.
We believe that these trainings would enable Colombian nationals to adopt best practices in dealing with and responding to manifestations of hate they and their families are encountering. We look forward to signing a Memorandum of Understanding to start implementing these trainings in the near future.
Our steadfast anti-hate agenda also compels us to voice our commitment to the State of Israel and to stand with the Confederación de Comunidades Judías de Colombia in lamenting the decision taken by outgoing president Juan Manuel Santos to recognize a Palestinian state. Such unilateral recognition runs counter to the historic position that Colombia has taken on the need for a two-state-solution that is mutually negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian people.
While Israel and Colombia share a history of mutual cooperation and trade, the surprising position taken by the departing government puts undue pressure on the friendly relationship between both countries that share such strong democratic values and have each been victimized by terror.
Moreover, unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state sends a message to Palestinian leaders that it is unnecessary to return to the negotiating table, dis-incentivizes peace negotiations, and emboldens terrorist groups such as Hamas who seek to destroy Israel.
We hope you use the power of your office to reverse this regrettable decision that stands counter to the strong ties shared by Colombia and Israel. We trust that with your leadership in the region you can lend a powerful voice to those who bypass the steps to create peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.
We look forward to working with you and your government on issues of mutual concern in the months and years to come.
CEO and National Director