(JTA) — Colombia’s envoy to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzon, honored World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder at a reception at the country’s embassy in Washington DC.
More than 100 people attended the reception held last week, including U.S. congressmen and members of the Obama administration, business leaders, and members of the Jewish community.
Pinzon praised Lauder for his leadership and commitment to developing vibrant Jewish communities around the world, including in Latin America, and for strongly supporting Colombia’s efforts to secure lasting peace in the Middle East.
“Colombia remains one of Israel’s longest, strongest partners and supporters. Mr. Lauder’s leadership at the helm of the WJC since 2007 has been central to advancing this alliance,” Pizon said.
The ambassador reaffirmed the Colombian government’s commitment to its small 5,000-member Jewish community, as well as to Jewish communities around the world.
“Not only has Colombia’s Jewish community greatly contributed to the fabric of our nation, Colombia has also benefited from strong ties with the Jewish community here in the United States and worldwide – from diplomatic support to business and investment. And it is because of people and the commitment of leaders like Mr. Lauder that those ties continue to strengthen,” the ambassador said.
Lauder, who has met numerous times with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, thanked Colombia in his speech for the constant friendship it has shown Israel and the Jewish people.
“I want to thank Colombia for the courage you have shown over all these years, courage that you continue to demonstrate,” Lauder said. “It’s not always easy being a friend of the Jewish people or Israel or the United States. But frankly, I believe this puts you on the right side of history. We remember our friends.”