A Region Under Change
Latin American societies are going through deep transformations. The region currently experiences an increasingly expansive force of democracy amidst global cycles of economic crisis and social conflict. The emergence of a new political and cultural climate of pluralism follows a different path in Latin America in the framework of globalization processes and their multifaceted and contradictory character. Collective identities are exposed to redefinitions and recreations. Elective bonds coexist with ethnic and/or religious affiliations, linking individuals and communities in diverse and sometimes opposing ways. The recognition of differences, the politics of identity and the emphasis on heterogeneity act as a substratum that widens the scope of civil society and the public sphere. Simultaneously, new expressions of essentialism and primordial affirmations may act as sources of exclusion.
Changes follow non-linear trends. When noting commonalities that cut across the different Latin America societies, one should be certainly aware of the inner-differentiation within the continent. Neo-liberal citizenship regimes coexist with corporatist political forms, popular mobilization and plebiscitary democracy. In Euro-American societies such as Argentine and Uruguay, where massive immigration changed the socio-ethnic landscape, democratic transitions have been characterized by increasing civic participation and pluralization of social and political actors in the public sphere. In Indo-American societies, where immigration was limited and did not alter the original socio-ethnic demographic composition, the bigger the polity, as in Brazil and Mexico, the greater the tendency of hegemonic sectors to substitute grassroots democratic participation with sectorial representation (Avni, 1988; Bokser Liwerant, 2008).
Economic liberalization offers a disparate picture in which structures have been stabilized even though the region has not reached a generalized macroeconomic health. Latin America is undergoing a process of incomplete integration into international economic systems. Growing inequality, therefore, points to the fact that the search for inclusive political forms parallels strong and persistent trends of exclusion, thus hindering democracy itself (Kacowitz, 2009; CEPAL, 2009).
New opportunities for collective recognition and new interactions between majorities and minorities are on the move and different social movements attract vast middle-class sectors, including Jews, as civic participants in the national arena (Sznajder, 2011).
Though affected by economic and political crises, Argentina still hosts the largest Jewish population in Latin America (slightly over 180,000)
However, the demands for participation lead not only to the interplay of recognition and inclusion, but also to resistance, protest and diluting actions. The fact that, in spite of the consolidation of democratic regimes, since 1993 fifteen presidents have not been able to complete their term of office illustrates this phenomenon1 (Bokser Liwerant, 2011).
To Dwell in Transitions
Although Latin American Jewry has historically grown out of large-scale immigration, during the last decades migration patterns have tended to be outwards: from Latin America to other destinations, mainly the United States, Israel, and to a lesser extent countries in Western Europe – primarily Spain – and Canada (Bokser Liwerant, DellaPergola and Senkman, 2010).
The number of Jews in Latin America dropped from 514,000 in the 1970s to 390,000 in 2010 (DellaPergola, 2010). During the 1970s, violence and authoritarianism determined regional and international emigration as well as political exile, especially in the Southern Cone. A decade later, re-democratization was a pull factor for Jewish exiles and some others to return to their homelands. But in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the intertwined complex of economic crises and security problems pushed Jews again into a global international migration pattern. Since then, this tendency has grown, though intermittently. The most recent phases of accelerated globalization processes have witnessed significant increases in the number of Latin American migrants.
Though affected by acute economic and political crises, Argentina still hosts the largest Jewish population in Latin America (slightly over 180,000). The demographic profiles of Jewish populations in Mexico and Brazil have been more stable due to more traditional socio-demographic patterns and the influx of Jews from other parts of Latin America. Panama remains the only country in Latin America that has significantly increased its Jewish population since 1970. More recently, Venezuelan Jews have emigrated as a consequence of Hugo Chavez’s populist regime.
Globalization and economic liberalization have led to increasing disparities within Jewish communities, reflecting a strong polarization. Globalization, however, is twofold. On the one hand, it generated a middle class crisis, the impoverishment and unemployment of professionals, a decline of manufacturers who had enjoyed the protection of autarchic industrial policies, a deterioration of the economic standing of various sectors of the Latin American communities, and an increase of the actual poverty levels among the lower classes. On the other hand, segments of higher-to-middle classes succeeded in incorporating themselves into the most dynamic venues and advantageous positions for tapping into transnational commerce, high technology, services, the sciences, academia and its institutions, and the financial sectors. Among the professional and financial trends, the presence of younger generations is more frequent, thus conditioning in sensitive ways the future composition of Latin American communities (Bokser Liwerant, DellaPergola and Senkman, 2010).
As in other regions, Jewish migration patterns involving Latin American countries have not been unidirectional. There have been known instances of return migration, of repeated and circular migration, and the presence of bi-local or multi-local migrants. All of these features have contributed to the diffusion of transnational networks and identities thus expanding the Latin American Jewish world. Migration has lead to new centers of relocation for Jewish life. New places of residence reveal variations of collective behavior in Latin America societies. They also reveal new dynamics of material and symbolic interconnections, reinforcing the global conditions of Jewish life.
Thus, Latin American Jews show a sustained pluralization of options in a context of increased interactions with societies in the region and with the Jewish world. Multiple identification and institutional options have emerged. It is likely that the historical configuration with one central focal referent – Israel – coexists with new relational networks. The classic Zionist paradigm that marked Jewish life in the region acquires new meanings in various ways, depending on the specific communities, their visions and even the age group. At present, Israel is not necessarily a preferred destination for migrants. Today, when asked about their preferences, 27% of Argentine Jews preferred Spain as their destination, only 24% chose Israel and 14% the United States. Israel’s centrality, indeed, remains in other realms of collective identity and of a cultural nature.
At present, Israel is not necessarily a preferred destination for migrants
With regard to the United States, host of one of the most important groups of Jewish migrants from Latin America, the question of the role that these communities might conceivably play within the context of the interrelations between Latinos and the US general society takes on growing interest. The quantitative and political importance of the Latino presence in the US renders these questions highly relevant for both the Jewish collective and for America at large (JPPPI, Annual Assessment, 2008).
Jewish Organized Life-
Signs of New Patterns
Societies, regimes and national narratives that highlighted homogeneity are now open to global processes that recognize diversity and its expression in the public sphere. Traditional Jewish communal patterns have also experienced significant changes as new spaces emerge in response to increasingly integrated communities. The continent that has been able to establish powerful and original patterns of Jewish life and community organization is now experiencing new patterns of collective life that influence the rich array of communal spaces, associations and institutions developed in almost all the central fields of Jewish life.
In Argentina and Brazil, the rate of out-marriage exceeds 45%, while in Mexico and Venezuela it remains below 10%
While widening the domains in which collective energies are channeled, Argentina and Brazil represent centrifugal organizational models, while Mexico epitomizes a more centralized model with a recognizable structural profile. A high institutional density characterizes this “community of communities,” in which average affiliation remains at 80%. Contrastingly, the average affiliation rate has diminished to 50% in Argentina, a reflection of a community weakened by economic crises and a failure of Jewish leadership (DellaPergola and Lerner, 1995; Goldstein, 2008; Bokser Liwerant, 2009).
Although crises and the scarcity of resources have affected Jewish institutions, they have also led to their diverse restructuration. A common thread has been the incorporation of new modalities for social support. In Venezuela, where the Jewish community once numbered 35,000, Jewish institutions continue to face a heavy financial burden due to the exodus of important community sectors. As an extended tendency in the region, organized communities are overwhelmingly acting as providers of Jewish social services under new pressure to help those in need (Roniger, 2009, 2011).
Concurrently, a global trend in most Latin America Jewish communities has been the transition amidst voluntary leadership towards younger and more pragmatic generations. The number of professionals in charge of organized Jewish life has also increased. In this context of interacting and varied factors, there are also changes in gender roles. In the past, women participated in the organized Jewish world in female-exclusive spheres; today this kind of activism has extended to other social and community frameworks–communal, social and human rights NGOs – or in more individual ways, within public sectors, academia and scientific communities.
A new sign of change in the region is the growing rate of out-marriage in the last decades, which certainly impacts the role of women, family and Jewish communities. Nevertheless, cross-national variations remain present. In Argentina and Brazil, this rate surpasses 45%, while in Mexico and Venezuela it remains below 10%.
The cultural domain of collective life reflects both current differentiating and unifying trends among Latin American Jewish communities. The educational system has been changing dramatically, expressing both religious and cultural developments. The historical, political and ideological currents that gave birth to the original differentiation of schools have been replaced by new defining criteria, mainly communitarian and religious. While acknowledging the fact that the rise in religious education is a product of the incidence of social policies on communal cultural profiles – as expressed in the support offered through scholarship – it must also be noted that this process reflects an increase in religiosity and observance which constitutes part of the meaningful changes currently sweeping through Jewish life (Avni, Bokser Liwerant and Fainstein, 2011).
One may underscore the spreading of the Orthodox Jewish movement such as Shas and Chabad as part of a transnational religious consciousness, which interacts in complex ways with the historical Zionist ethno-national attachment centered on Israel. They expand as frameworks of belonging and social behavior, and espouse a moral code that expresses the search for unresolved expectations through the organized community.
As part of the Jewish world on the move, the younger generations are encountering new milieus by increasingly utilizing technologies provided by an expanding information society: electronic networks; social, on-line media; cyberspace links, and forum chats among Jews; communication between and within Jewish communities for information, education, cultural enrichment and anti-defamation purposes. Thus, as in other regions of the Jewish world, there are new modalities of engagement of young Jews outside the traditional affiliation frameworks, which are expressed in such virtual communities, the creation of new minyanim, various cultural activities, and Jewish learning.
The Globalization of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The globalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reveals a complex interplay of international, regional, national and local processes. New meanings are constructed in Latin America as a result of the convergence of processes such as criticism of the Israeli government’s dealing with the conflict, of Israel as a whole – beyond particular governments, the framing of an anti-Zionist rhetoric with anti-Semitic content, and the interactions of the above with a historically pronounced anti-Americanism.
Young Jews engage outside the traditional affiliation frameworks, e.g. in virtual communities, the creation of new minyanim and cultural activities
Both the prevalence of historically complex relations with the United States and the widespread dissatisfaction with the effects of globalization have opened new opportunities for radical movements in the region, including the neo-populist ones of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Some of these governments have led discursive campaigns and practices de-legitimizing the State of Israel. Symbolic violence against Israel runs across different national scenarios.
It allowed for the extension of political groups and publics that adhered to narratives and political positions. It has certainly pushed further the deterioration of relations between Israel and Venezuela and its closeness with Iran. Despite the fact that Israel has increased its economic exchanges with the region, as evidenced by the signing of free-trade agreements between Israel and Mexico and with Mercosur (the Southern Common Market), one more factor that needs to be considered is the presence of large Palestinian communities in several Latin American countries, including Chile, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru. The largest of these communities in the region – and the largest outside the Middle East – resides in Chile, surpassing 400,000 members. In contrast, the Jewish population is much smaller (20,600 in 2009).
The largest Palestinian community (over 400,000) outside the Middle East resides in Chile
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has tried to establish himself as a global player and a regional leader in a multi-polar international system. As part of this strategy, he has developed regional oil initiatives – such as Petrocaribe and Petrosur – geared to providing oil through “soft” financing and bankrolling. While Chávez’s government has declared his unwillingness to foster xenophobic hatred, its political dynamic and its polarizing rhetoric (coupled with a strategic alignment against the United States) have reinforced chauvinistic attitudes identifying Jews as allies of the “anti-people” and of enemy countries. Parallel discursive processes and practices de-legitimizing the State of Israel (i.e., the government calling Israel a racist and genocidal state) have been followed by local anti-Semitic acts (e.g. vandalizing the Tiferet Israel Sephardic synagogue in Caracas on January 31, 2009) (Roniger, 2009 ).
The process involving the problematic social representation of Israel has acquired a new shared pattern in Latin America, although with regional variations. In early December 2010, several Latin American countries announced their formal recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders prior to the Six-Day War. Brazil took the initiative and was followed shortly after by Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid the cornerstone for a Palestinian embassy in Brasilia on December 31, 2010. On January 28, 2011 Paraguay also announced its recognition of Palestine. Earlier in January, Chile and Peru stated that they would recognize a Palestinian state but that its borders had to be mutually agreed upon by both sides of the conflict. Chile’s position followed strong pressure from its powerful Palestinian community, as revealed by motions introduced in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies at the end of 2010, and in top-level meetings in the presidential palace with Palestinian diplomats, representatives of the Arab League in Chile, and members of the Palestinian communities and congressional groups. However, its declaration makes no formal reference to the 1967 borders.2
Colombia has said it would not recognize a Palestinian state until a mutual peace-agreement is reached. Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Belize have not indicated their positions. Several Latin American countries had already recognized a Palestinian state prior to the most recent lobbying efforts, including Cuba, Venezuela (2009), Nicaragua and Costa Rica (2008).
Diplomatic relationships between the Palestinian Authority and Latin American governments continue to grow. Although cancelled due to Egypt’s turmoil, Latin American leaders and ten Arab heads of state were planning to participate in the Third Summit of Latin American-Arab Countries (ASPA) aimed at enhancing economic relations, planned for February 12-16, 2011 in Lima, Peru. There was a suspected risk that this summit could provide Palestinian leadership with the opportunity to seek further unilateral and symbolic recognition of a Palestinian state by other Latin American countries.
A sweeping symbolic tide of recognition in Latin America and elsewhere might exert political pressure on other regions. In this sense, according to Israeli diplomatic sources, what began as a “wave of support for Palestine from Latin America may turn into a global, unstoppable diplomatic tsunami.”3 An undercurrent may form, however, if newly elected Brazilian President Dilma Roussef continues to distance Brazil from her predecessor’s attempt to play a leading role in the Middle East. Mexico, following a real and discursive rapprochement with its northern neighbor, has not pronounced itself on this issue.
The globalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will likely continue if certain conditions are present, such as the continued stagnation of the peace process, the eruption of new cycles of violence in the Middle East, the strengthening of Islamic radical groups in countries currently in political turmoil, the presence of neo-populist governments in the region and the particular interaction between strategic decisions of international, regional, national and local activists. It is still premature to assess the impact that the wave of crises and changes in the Arab world may have on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Israel’s position in the region.
Focus on Brazil
Brazilian Jews: facing challenges to Jewish continuity
In recent years, Brazil has emerged as a leading power, with increasing influence in key global issues. Brazil is a multi-ethnic and multiracial society, with a strong African component. It is the largest and most populous country in South America and according to the 2010 census, its population numbers 185,712,713 people.4 The new president, Dilma Rousseff (Workers’ Party), was elected with 56% of the vote on October 31, 2010, succeeding Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Rousseff is the first woman ever to rule Brazil.
Israeli diplomats: “the wave of support for Palestine from Latin America may turn into a global, unstoppable diplomatic tsunami”
The Jewish minority represents less than 0.1% of the Brazilian population, and is estimated to include 100,000 Jews living mainly in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Rio Grande do Sul. The country is predominantly Roman Catholic, but the Church now competes with evangelical denominations and religions of African origin. Evangelical denominations, which have recorded the fastest rates of growth and have increasing power in the national and states’ parliaments, support Israel.
In the area known as the “Triple Border,” at the convergence of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, a growing Muslim presence is evident. But although the Jewish population of the area is small, there are no conflicts between the two groups.5
While contemporary Brazilian Jews do not face restrictions regarding their identity, Judaism is not necessarily their priority
Brazil is South America’s leading economic power and showed remarkable powers of recovery in the recent economic crisis. Nevertheless, crime and a highly unequal income distribution continue to remain pressing problems.
Processes of Inclusion and Integration
In their socio-economic and cultural integration, Jews in Brazil have had a singular path in the Latin American scene, where integration is accompanied by endemic low levels of anti-Semitism. Analysts have pointed to socio-political, economic, and cultural factors to account for these outcomes.
Jews are represented in a wide spectrum of industrial, financial, professional, scientific, and artistic activities and, as a result of high economic growth and intense modernization processes, they have attained significant social mobility.
Culture, identity and a national myth of origin have favored the integration of Jews. A dominant ideology of “whiteness” together with religious syncretism may explain the cultural traits and codes that facilitated social interaction.
The successful social integration of Jews is also evident at the personal level. Jews epitomize the future-oriented outlook of the open society, less attached to collective historical memory and legitimizing ethnic diversity (Sorj, 1997). The closeness between the public and the private spheres has also affected the search for identity, limiting the quest for roots among Jews. Thus, while contemporary Brazilian Jews do not face restrictions regarding their identity, Judaism is not necessarily their priority.
Unlike the situation in other Latin American countries, the absence of a nation-state invested with a strong civic and nationalist ideology that demands undivided loyalties reduced identity conflicts for Jews while favoring, in subtle ways, processes of assimilation.
Anti-Semitism has not been acute, but the 1990s saw a wave of anti-Semitic and racist attacks led by neo-Nazi skinheads who profaned Jewish cemeteries and sprayed graffiti on synagogues and schools. They also targeted blacks, homosexuals, and nordestinos (Brazilians from the north-eastern region of the country).
Several processes in the last two decades—including the 1988 new “citizen constitution,” the actions of NGOs and international foundations, and strong pressure by an organized black movement—have favored the new values of cultural recognition and racial differentiation associated with multiculturalism. For Brazilian Jews, a “soft” version of multiculturalism offers the possibility of living in a society in which ethnic differences acquire legislative legitimation and the constitution forbids the promotion or discrimination of individuals due to color, race, gender, or religion.
Jewish Communal Life in Brazil in an Organized Jewish World
Amidst intense social interactions and centripetal forces, the Jewish community in Brazil established and consolidated a solid institutional system. Jewish life in Brazil is decentralized and characterized by intermittent and sometimes circumstantial membership in organized frameworks. The communal system, however, has maintained strong solidarity ties and has persistently supported Jewish schools, Zionism, the State of Israel, and the fight against anti-Semitism.
Centralist trends are not prominent in Jewish communal organization since its federal structure, as well as the distribution of the Jewish population across different states, hinder attempts to coordinate communal life at the national level. The São Paulo Jewish Federation, the umbrella organization, has among its members several organizations that are well known all over the world, like the Hebraica Community Center, one of the biggest in the world; the Albert Einstein Jewish Hospital, the largest and best private hospital in Latin America; and its Keren Hayesod, among the leading fund raisers for the State of Israel in Latin America, and a partner of the Federation, which plays a significant role in supporting and promoting various activities and Jewish education. Jewish newspapers such as Tribuna Judaíca or Semana Judaíca in São Paulo are also worth noting (Goldstein, 2008). The Jewish Communal School, an established space in the past, has undergone significant changes since the 1990s. While no longer a center of communal life, the rate of attendance at Jewish day schools is still 71%.
Jewish institutions face the important challenge of transmitting Jewish values and traditions even though intermarriage rates between Jews and non-Jews are rising, recently reaching 45%. Synagogue attendance is not frequent.
The Jewish communal system in Brazil has maintained strong solidarity ties
The Conservative movement has created a legitimate non-Orthodox alternative, but membership in these communities to a great extent varies in accord with personal and life cycle circumstances and is often undertaken in order to fulfill specific ritual functions (such as Bar-Mitzvah). While Jews are full participants in the cultural, political, and social life of Brazil, the flimsy Jewish identity of the youth has evoked increasing concern. A central challenge for the Jewish community in Brazil is, thus, its continuity, due to the “centrifugal attraction of an open society” (Falbel, 2001).
Globalization has had a twofold impact on education and Jewish religious life. Orthodox groups such as Chabad, especially in São Paulo, have capitalized on the new needs of the Jewish community. A growing and visible process of teshuva points to the need of many Jews for collective belonging and identification (Topel, 2005). But globalization is also evident in the growing preference for languages and technical training oriented toward the United States and the developed world.
The De-Legitimization of Israel
The ramifications of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have reached foreign policy and public opinion in Brazil, which has favored a complex political and symbolic process: the de-legitimization of the State of Israel and the legitimization of Palestine.
An intersection of symbolic discourses, economic interests, and political practices, such as the Workers’ Party’s highly critical stance on Israel during the eight-year term of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his rapprochement with President Ahmadinejad of Iran may be seen as important elements in this process. Lula’s attempt to consolidate Brazil’s regional power and its world role, as evident in Brazil’s offer to play a mediating role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its struggle to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and its championship of the BRIC alliance,6 are all factors driving this active international policy.
Orthodox groups such as Chabad, especially in São Paulo, have capitalized on the new needs of the Jewish community in Brazil
On December 3, 2010, during Lula’s last month in power, Brazil became the first Latin American country to grant unilateral recognition to a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders. The recognition of the Palestinian state was supported by Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that includes most countries in the region (except for Venezuela). The recognition followed years of contacts between Lula and senior Palestinians representatives.7 This action was also the culmination of Brazilian promises to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to extend such recognition at the proper time (i.e., when peace negotiations failed, as stated by the Foreign Ministry). Lula’s successor, President Dilma Rousseff, has unexpectedly distanced herself from this policy while seeking a closer relationship with the United States and condemning states that violate human rights, thus signaling her reservations about the Iranian regime.
De-legitimization of Israel is also widening and deepening in the press, the social electronic networks, and the universities. Most newspapers obtain their information from sources that favor the Palestinians. University students are also affected by the absence of non-partisan debate and of Jewish student centers. Most of the Jews prefer not to act or socialize together as a group. Thus they can minimize the objections and questioning concerning the controversies related to Israel.
In response, the Jewish Federation of São Paulo has developed two new programs, Lifnei Ha-Mashber and Esser Dakot, to promote discussions by experts on crucial Middle East issues, as well as to prepare Jewish students to conduct more balanced and rigorous discussions at university campuses (Milkewitz, 2010).
Conclusions and Possible Scenarios
Processes of globalization have not created a harmonious integrated global world and have not generated homogenous practices and social spheres. They instead reproduce multidimensional, multifaceted and contradictory characteristics. Thus, in Latin American Jewish life we witness the combination of two processes: the recovery of a historic trajectory of ethnic and ethno-national diasporas and the pluralization of new migrant populations.
Migration had a very substantial quantitative and qualitative impact on the original communities and not a lesser impact on the reconstitution of a Latin American Jewish presence in other continents. It is a matter of changing numbers but also of the selective cultural, ideological, socioeconomic and demographic impact of those who left and of those who stayed or arrived.
Both Latin America and the Jewish world express a dual condition. New and complex patterns of interaction and network building underscore the complex dynamics of encounters and articulations that transcend national frontiers. This has been a characteristic process, historically shaping the Jewish condition worldwide, particularly in Latin America (Bokser and DellaPergola, 2010: 5).
Simultaneously, primordial referents such as religion or ethnicity have emerged with an unexpected strength, delineating a tense oscillation between the universal and the particular. Latin America faces the challenge of strengthening connections between diversity, civility and institutionalism, between multiculturalism and democracy, between national and transnational identities. The Brazilian case shows that, in the struggle against anti-Semitism, democratic structures can work as barriers against intolerance. A specific identity, culture, and mythology can reject intolerant positions based on race or ethnicity, but myths of origin and national culture offer no guarantees for the future (Sorj, 2008: 169).
The Brazilian case shows that in the struggle against anti-Semitism, democratic structures can work as barriers against intolerance
National values are historical products and, as such, susceptible to change under the influence of new social contexts. The impact of globalization (including the globalization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), of individualization in modern urban life, of poverty, of frustrated expectations, may erode dominant beliefs and come to be exploited by new political movements and charismatic leaders, including anti-Israel and anti-Semitic ones.
The process of de-legitimizing the State of Israel will most likely continue if the peace process remains stagnant and if violence again erupts in the region. The current crisis and changes that are impacting the Arab world will certainly influence the place and image of Israel both in the region as well as in Latin America.
- These presidents were: Fernando de la Rúa, in Argentina (2001); Fernando Collor de Mello, in Brazil (1992), Hernán Siles Suazo (1985), Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (2003) and Carlos Mesa (2005), in Bolivia; Abdalá Bucarán (1997), Jamil Mahuad (1999) and Lucio Gutiérrez (2005), in Ecuador; Jorge Serrano Elías (1993), in Guatemala; Jean-Bertrand Aristide (2004), in Haití; Raúl Cubas Grau (1999), in Paraguay; Alberto Fujimori (2000), in Perú; Joaquín Balaguer (1994), in República Dominicana; Carlos Andrés Pérez (1993), in Venezuela and Manuel Zelaya (2009) in Honduras.
- On the growing recognition of Palestine by states around the world, see also: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/03/brazil_recognizes_palestinian_state. http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=67040
- Information obtained mainly from the following electronic sources: www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/Recognition-of-Palestinian-State.htmwww.globalpost.com/dispatch/chile/101229/palestinian-state-latin-america-recognition.
- Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. www.ibge.gov.br/english. The World Fact Book mentions a higher number: 201,103,330. www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.html
- BRIC is a bloc formed by countries that are newly advanced economies. It includes Brazil, Russia, India and China. BRIC has also been characterized as a political club.
- Direct meetings began in 2005 and continued in 2009, with visits by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Brazil. Senior Palestinian figures such as Nabil Sha’ath (Fatah’s head of International Relations Commission) also met the Brazilian president. These direct encounters culminated in the first visit to Palestine by a Brazilian head of state in March 2010. On this occasion, Lula also visited Israel. During Lula’s visit to Ramallah, the Brazilian president inaugurated ‘Brazil Street’ outside the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters.
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