Two Jewish Groups Protest Bolivia’s Move to Grant PLO Diplomatic Status

Two international Jewish organizations have lodged strong protests with the Bolivian government for granting diplomatic status to the Palestine Liberation Organization which has had an office in La Paz since 1982.

Israel Singer, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, and Seymour Reich, international president of B’nai B’rith, expressed shock, concern and disappointment over the move which they saw as a dangerous precedent for other Latin American countries. According to the WJC, the Israel Embassy in La Paz and the local Jewish community have also objected vehemently.

Singer, in a telegram to the Bolivian Ambassador, Fernando Iilanes de la Riva, said “Our protest in this regard arises from the nature of the PLO which has not renounced terrorism and whose violent history is all too well known.”

Reich said in a statement issued in Washington that “There is little question that this move will be taken by the terrorist organization and its supporters as an endorsement of their extremist and violent activities which they claim to perform in the name of justice.” He said B’nai B’rith urges the Bolivian government to reconsider its move.

Singer noted that the WJC has always had respect for Bolivia, particularly since it expelled Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie in 1983. He is now in the hands of the French authorities and awaiting trial.

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