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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

Mexican Solidarity with Palestine

from the June 19, 2024 Bulletin

The Mexico City-born activist and scholar Aracely Cortés-Galán has been organizing support in Mexico for the people of Palestine for some 20 years now. As a feminist, shes been particularly interested in the role of women in resistance movements. In a 2019 book, Aracely explores how Israels involvement in the militarization of Mexico has contributed to deaths in her own country. We first talked with Aracely in December 2021 and here we update that interview.

What does the Palestinian solidarity movement in Mexico look like, and how did it get started?


Aracely Cortés-Galán: Support for Palestine has been centered around the Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Palestina, CORSOPAL, a group working to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and help Palestine become an independent state.


I became a student activist in 1985 after the government in Mexico gave a horribly inadequate response to a major earthquake. The only silver lining: The government’s poor response sparked all sorts of militant action. From the student movement, I graduated to socialism and internationalism. I worked on solidarity with Cuba and in opposition to the Gulf War and learned that Israel was intervening on the wrong side of struggles in South Africa, Argentina, and many other parts of the world. And that road led me, and many others, to Palestine. CORSOPAL started up in 2000.


After the events of October 7 and the ensuing decimation of the Palestinian people and the leveling of Gaza, the movement caught fire. The Palestinian cause has generated empathy because what happens in Palestine in one way or another reflects the different forms of oppression that exist in the world.

“Long live Zapata, hero of the Mexican revolution, 1915. Long live Abd al Kader al Husseini, hero of the Palestinian revolution, 1948.” Artist, Burhan Karkoutly, The Palestine Poster Project Archives

In the United States, a powerful pro-Israel lobby has kept US government policy totally in Israels corner. Who is supporting Israel in Mexico?


Three kinds of groups. First, those with direct connections to the Israeli Embassy. These include private companies doing business in Israel, but also, for the last 40 years, the previous PRI and PAN governments that bought arms from Israel and received military training and support to deal with narco-trafficking and security issues.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PAN president Vicente Fox. Photo: Manny Veneta, Getty Images


Second, the right-wing media. And third, the ultra-conservative PAN party. In the legislature, both Morena and PRI deputies are taking a neutral stance. They’re not explicitly pro-Palestine independence, but they’re also not justifying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

In the US, many Jewish Americans have joined the Palestine solidarity movement. Is that true in Mexico too?


After World War II, Mexico saw an influx of Jewish refugees. Jewish politics have changed, though; few of their grandchildren’s generation tend to be progressive. But the mayor of Mexico City and now our next president, Claudia Scheinbaum, rates as one of them. She issued a strong solidarity statement several years before the current conflict.


Mexico has only a tiny Muslim population. Because Indigenous people have also suffered repression, violence, and the theft of their land, the Coordinadora has supporters in Oaxaca and among the Zapatistas. Our main base of support has come from the big cities and some labor organizations, like the electrical workers union. Today, students have especially stepped forward.


Already back in October 2021, the Mexican government issued a strong statement before the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in Gaza and human rights violations against Palestinians. What more should the Mexican government do?

The AMLO government has issued a public condemnation, but its basic relationship with Israel hasn’t changed. Since he took office, we have called for the government to stop buying its arms and military technology and to end military training by Israel. And we want Mexican companies like Cemex — the multinational Cemento de Mexico that expresses tacit support for the settlements — out of the occupied territories.

Mexico has used Israel’s notorious spyware, Pegasus: Fueler

Today, besides those points, activists demand that the government break relations with the occupying state. That hasn’t been done yet. We also speak out for a ceasefire. We want Mexico to join other nations in recognizing Palestine as a free, sovereign, independent state. That also has not been done, although there is a Palestinian Embassy in Mexico City.


Pro-Palestine activists demanded that rather than “observer status,” which they have now, Palestine should be admitted as a full member of the UN. It's confusing — even though AMLO doesn't recognized the sovereign state of Palestine yet, he does support full UN membership — which would be tantamount to recognizing Palestine as a state!


What Next?

“Mexicans are with Palestine”  Photo: Jay Watts

Before, it wasn’t easy to get people to pay attention to international issues. We did lots of educational events and waged media campaigns.


But now, thousands are on the streets, joining horrified people across the world. The participation of new and diverse actors in social change and the conditions of the genocide have set a new course. We demand a ceasefire in the short term and justice and an end to the occupation in the medium term.


At its core, we see this as a moral issue — an ongoing battle between the power of money and the power of the people.