Israel warns Petro of “historical ignorance and Holocaust denial”

Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza/IDF

Two statements, issued by two separate governments, over two days have angered Germany and Israel after Colombia’s Gustavo Petro drew parallels between Nazis and the Israeli military offensive in Gaza. Within hours of his speech at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change – COP28 –  Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohen, slammed Petro for his “lack of knowledge and moral blindness”.

As the conflict in Gaza enters a new military phase, briefly interrupted by a seven-day truce to facilitate the release of hostages, Israel’s Cohen, accused Petro on Sunday of promoting “baseless and anti-Semitic attacks” against the State of Israel. Through his account on the social media platform X, the high-ranking official claimed that these assaults by the Colombian president indicate “Holocaust denial.”

Cohen’s strongly worded statement also challenges Petro as to why “almost two months after the 7 October massacre, we still have yet to hear the President of Colombia unequivocally condemn the massacre committed by the Hamas monsters during which more than 1200 Israelis were murdered, entire families were executed in cold blood, children and babies were burned alive, Israeli citizens were beheaded, women were raped and murdered, and 240 Israelis, and foreigners were kidnapped to Gaza.”

Cohen went on to state that he personally would “invite” Petro to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum “and learn the history of the Jewish people and the Holocaust before he expresses himself this way again.”

Petro’s ambiguous stance on the terror attacks by not condemning Hamas, and his reference to the Palestinian situation, came to a head at the COP28 UN Conference on Climate Change in Dubai. Drawing comparisons between Nazis and the climate crisis, the Colombian leftist leader, yet again, managed in the presence of other world leaders, to generate anger over a bizarre and careless use of diplomacy.

“Hitler is knocking on the doors of the European and North American middle-class homes, and many have already let him in. The exodus (of migrants) will be met with a lot of violence, with barbarism itself. What we see in Gaza is a rehearsal for the future,” stated Petro from the United Arab Emirates.

On Sunday, Petro then responded to a video from a dubious news source in Gaza showing Palestinian children crying after their father allegedly died in an Israeli bombing. Petro insisted that such aggressions are characteristic of Nazism. “Nazism is a form of fascism, profoundly violent and genocidal. It is based on the belief in a superior race that gives it the right to exterminate and subordinate those it considers, even, as non-human. That is happening in Palestine. Fascism is within each of us. It spreads through irrationality, hatred, and lies,” he said.

Petro’s obsessive name-dropping of Hitler, and overt pro-Palestine stance (having also recently posted on X the phrase “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”), was also emphatically rejected by Germany. On the same social media platform, the country’s Foreign Ministry also responded to the Colombian President in another strongly-worded missive. “Identifying the consequences of the climate crisis for the world’s most vulnerable is legitimate and important. Combining that with the suffering in Gaza is strange. Making raw comparisons with the Nazi era and thus relativizing the Holocaust, as Mr. Petro of Colombia did, is unacceptable.”