Honduras’ new vice president has history of antisemitic remarks


(JTA) — Honduras’ newly sworn-in vice president and his wife have a history of making antisemitic remarks, but Jewish leaders in the region have not sounded an alarm.

Salvador Nasralla, who is of Palestinian descent and was sworn in on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, said in a 2019 debate that Jews oversee the global money supply and previously accused the conservative outgoing president Juan Orlando Hernandez of being controlled by Israel.

Nasralla’s wife Iroshka Elvir, who was named Miss Honduras in 2015, had to apologize to the Latin American Jewish Congress for saying “Hitler was a great leader” during an interview with the El Heraldo newspaper in 2017.

Honduras has in recent years been “one of Israel’s staunchest allies in the region, in part due to Evangelical support,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of The Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs at the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Hernandez moved his country’s embassy to Jerusalem last year, becoming one a few world leaders to take the step after former President Trump.

While few Jewish organizations have made statements regarding the change in leadership, Siegel Vann told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Nasralla’s “anti-Israel stances and comments have so far not impacted the current state of excellent bilateral ties.”

“In addition, US support is a critical piece for President Xiomara Castro’s government program to succeed, so she will bend backwards to avoid a confrontation including on the issue of Israel,” Siegel Vann added in an email. “We don’t expect immediate changes in the relationship but how Honduras votes in multilateral forums, where in the last years it has sided with the US and with Israel, will give us some idea if real changes are on the horizon.”

Honduras is home to approximately 200 Jews in a population of 8.5 million.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attended the inauguration for Nasralla and Honduras’ first female president, Xiomara Castro, a move that spurred backlash from some of her colleagues in Washington.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., co-chair of the newly-formed and widely criticized Congressional Caucus for the Advancement of Torah Values, told the Daily Mail that given Nasralla’s record of antisemitic statements, Harris should “make clear” to the new Honduran leadership that the United State finds anti-semitism “repugnant.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who is Jewish, told the Daily Mail that “It’s totally disgusting and unacceptable that the U.S. Vice President would attend this inauguration and give legitimacy to this vile behavior, especially on the day we honor and remember the six million Jews and millions of others killed in the Holocaust.”

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