Colombia Expels Israeli Ambassador, Threatens to Suspend Relations with Israel

Colombian president Gustavo Petro speaks during an event with peace negotiators of Colombia's government and the National Liberation Army rebels, in Bogota, Colombia, August 3, 2023. (Vannessa Jimenez/Reuters)

Colombian president Gustavo Petro expelled the country’s Israeli envoy, Gali Dagan, for criticizing the president’s outspoken support of Palestinians and accusations against Israel following Hamas’s invasion of Israel. Petro said on Monday that Dagan should “at a minimum, apologize and leave” the country.

Dagan’s criticism of Petro came after the Colombian president likened Israeli military operations to the Nazi persecution of Jews. “Democratic peoples cannot allow Nazism to reestablish itself in international politics,” Petro said of Israelis, adding, “No democrat in the world can accept Gaza being turned into a concentration camp.”

Additionally, Petro said that Colombia would suspend foreign relations with Israel, as Colombia does “not support genocides.” Meanwhile, President Joe Biden connected Hamas’s “campaign of pure cruelty” against Jews to past genocides on Wednesday.

Having been one of Colombia’s largest arms suppliers, Israel cut off security exports to Colombia after Petro’s remarks were made public. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat slammed the Colombian president for “expressing support for the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists, fueling antisemitism, affecting the representatives of the State of Israel and threatening the peace of the Jewish community in Colombia.”

It’s not the first time Petro has made bold claims against Israelis — the president regularly posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, in support of Palestinians. He has also promised to send humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Hamas has killed 1,400 Israeli citizens since invading the country on October 7. Petro joins a growing list of people — including students at American universities and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in London and France — who glorify Hamas terrorism.

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“This attack has brought to the surface the painful memories and scars left by a millennium of antisemitism and genocide against the Jewish people,” Biden said. “We have to be crystal clear: There is no justification for terrorism, no excuse, and the type of terrorism that was exhibited here is just beyond the pale, beyond the pale.”

Colombia’s foreign ministry initially issued a statement that condemned the “terrorism and attacks against civilians that have occurred in Israel.” The link to that statement was later disabled, the Times of Israel reported.

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