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Latin American Jewish, Arab leaders reiterate peace hopes

JTA

July 12, 2012 | 10:36 am

Representatives of Latin America’s Jewish communities at a summit with Arab community leaders reiterated the Diaspora’s commitment to peace in the Middle East.

The summit was held Wednesday at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires.

“In Latin America, Arabs and Jews coexist side by side, harmoniously,” said Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, a summit participant. “We can bring our testimony in order to built a sustainable peace.”

Terpins participated in the panel “Side by Side: The Diaspora’s Role in the Middle East Peace Process” along with Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota; Mahdi Abdul Hadi, the Syrian-born founder of the Forum of Arab Thinking; Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese writer and member of the French Academy since 2011; and Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman.

Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, who also participated in the panel, told JTA that “Instead of importing the Middle East conflict to our region, Arabs and Jews must export from here the idea of the coexistence. Argentina is a clear example of that.”

Earlier this year, the presidents of the World Jewish Congress and Latin American Jewish Congress met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to express hope for progress in Middle East peace talks.

“Jewish and Palestinian Diaspora communities have a role to play in fostering better understanding,” WJC President Ronald Lauder told Abbas during a January meeting in London.

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