Chile: Pro-Palestinian lawmaker elected president

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  December 20, 2021

Gabriel Boric, who will become the youngest president in Chile’s history, has been a harsh critic of Israel and has supported bills to boycott goods from Israeli settlements.

Gabriel Boric, a left-wing lawmaker who has been sharply critical of Israel and also supports boycotts against goods from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, has been elected president of Chile in a landslide victory.

Boric, 35, who rose to fame as a student leader, secured 56 percent of the votes, 12 percent more than Jose Antonio Kast, a right-wing, pro-Israel politician.

Boric, who will become the youngest president in Chile’s history, has long been a critic of Israel. As a lawmaker, he supported a bill proposing a boycott of Israeli goods from settlements in occupied West and East Jerusalem, and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, according to The Times of Israel.

Gabriel Colodro, president of the Chilean community in Israel, told Israel Hayom that “Boric has voted for every bill against Israel, called Israel a murderous state on public television, and consistently supports boycott of Israel”.

However, the community leader said he is Chile’s president-elect, a fact that should not only be respected but appreciated. “He will be judged by his actions, not his declarations.”

In 2019, after receiving a gift for the holiday of Rosh Hoshanah from a non-profit representing the 18,000-strong Jewish community in Chile, Boric responded by tweeting: “I appreciate the gesture but they could start by asking Israel to return the illegally occupied Palestinian territory.”

Still, the group, the Jewish Community of Chile, congratulated the president-elect in a short statement, wishing him and his government “much success” and praising the transparency of the country’s elections.

“We will continue to work for a democratic, diverse Chile where minorities are respected,” the statement said.

Chile hosts one of the largest Palestinian populations outside of the Arab world, with a community of between 300,000 and 500,000 people of Palestinian descent living in the country.

Earlier this year, during the presidential primary elections, Boric defeated Daniel Jadue, a grandchild of Palestinian immigrants who is also known for his opposition to Israel.

In his victory speech, Boric promised to “firmly fight against the privileges of a few”, as he seeks to advance his vision for the South American nation’s future.

“I guarantee that I will be a president who cares for democracy and does not risk it, listens more than speaks, seeks unity, and attends to the needs of the people daily,” he said, as quoted by The Times of Israel.

Boric has promised to address economic inequality by expanding social rights and reforming Chile’s pension and health care systems and boosting green investment.