Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has apologized in person to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto over the recent tweet from Benjamin Netanyahu praising Donald Trump’s wall on the U.S.–Mexican border—as the official Jewish organization in Mexico came out formally against the U.S. President.
According to an article published in the Enlace Judio (Jewish Network) newspaper in Mexico, Rivlin spoke by telephone with Peña Nieto, saying that he regretted “any harm caused as a result of this misunderstanding, but we must remember that we are talking about a misunderstanding, and I am sure we can put the issue behind us.”
Peña Nieto replied: “Mr. President, you can be sure that Mexico wants to remain a good friend of Israel.”
The article added that Rivlin spoke of the “close relationship between the State of Israel and the Jewish community in Mexico” and said: “This wonderful community plays an important role in Mexican society and economy and serves as a bridge between our two countries.”
He explained Netanyahu’s tweet as to do with the “security situation in Israel and throughout the Middle East,” and said that there had been no intention “to compare the security situation in the State of Israel and the steps that are imposed on the situation of any of our friends around the world.”
This was the “misunderstanding” to which Rivlin referred—something which is patently untrue. The Mexicans did not take offence at any comparison with the “security situation” of Israel, but rather Netanyahu’s pointed reference to “illegal immigration,” and how a wall had stopped it.
Peña Nieto was not fooled by Rivlin’s lies, and said that he was “aware of the explanation given for the tweet,” but that his “interpretation was inevitable. This obviously generated several reactions in Mexico; I am sure that you are aware of these reactions,” the Mexican president said, adding that his government would still be asking for a “public clarification on the issue.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Central Committee of the Jewish Community of Mexico (Comite Central de la Comunidad Judia de Mexico), Moises Romano, issued a statement saying that “As Mexicans and as Jews, we support the actions taken by our government headed by [President] Enrique Pena Nieto in its negotiations with the United States. We support our fellow citizens who live in, work in, and contribute to our neighboring country, whose human rights must be respected at all times and who must be treated with dignity.”
Jewish community leader Rabbi Marcelo Rittner of Comunidad Bet El in Mexico City was quoted by the Enlace Judio as saying that “as Mexicans, as Jews, we oppose the construction of a wall, but we support cooperation between the two countries.”