The Jewish community in Mexico has joined the chorus of critics who have spoken out against the Israeli prime minister’s expression of support for the border wall to be built by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” wrote Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, referring to a fence Israel erected on its border with Egypt.
Its purpose was to keep out migrants who were fleeing conflicts in Africa.
The Mexican government expressed its “profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment” with Netanyahu’s comments.
Mexico is a friend of Israel and “should be treated as such by the prime minister,” said the Foreign Affairs Secretariat. Today, Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray called on Israel to clarify the remarks.
The Mexican government announced that Videgaray had summoned Israeli ambassador Jonathan Peled for a reprimand.
In Israel, criticism came from the opposition and from within government. The interior minister said yesterday he had received many calls and messages of concern over the controversial tweet, mostly from the Jewish community in Mexico, and urged Netanyahu to apologize.
Netanyahu refused, and today blamed “leftist media” for distorting the intent of his tweet.
The Israeli foreign ministry said the prime minister was referring to Israel’s “specific security experience,” and that Israel does not “express a position on U.S.-Mexico relations.”
In Mexico there was an angry reaction from academics, artists, intellectuals and others in the Jewish community, estimated to number some 50,000, who described the tweet as disgraceful, disgusting and offensive, among other terms.
Historian Enrique Krauze suggested Netanyahu’s tweet was that of a lackey to Trump.
The Jerusalem Post reported that “a number of angry Mexican Jews” called the Israeli fundraising organization Keren Heysod yesterday to cancel their donations.
An Israeli security company that did some work on Israel’s fence on the Egyptian border is hoping to sell its technology to the U.S. for its southern border wall. The system uses fiber-optic sensors embedded in fences or walls.