Gabriel Boric has supported a boycott of Israeli settlements and been an outspoken critic of the state.
Leftist politician Gabriel Boric became Chile’s youngest-ever president at age 35 after a landslide victory on Sunday, on the back of promises to install a welfare state in one of the world’s most unequal countries.
One of Boric’s positions is his support for the Palestinian cause and outspoken criticism of Israel, most notably throwing his weight behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
As a lawmaker, Boric previously supported a bill in Chile’s National Congress calling for a boycott of goods, services and products from Israeli settlements in occupied West and East Jerusalem, and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
During his campaign, Boric also called Israel a “murderous state” in a meeting with the country’s Jewish community.
“Boric has voted for every bill against Israel, called Israel a murderous state on public television, and consistently supports boycott of Israel,” Gabriel Colodro, president of the Jewish Community of Chile, told Israel Hayom.
“He will be judged by his actions, not his declarations,” Colodro added.
Colodro’s non-profit group, which looks to represent the country’s 18,000 Chilean Jews, had sent Boric a jar of honey for Rosh Hashana in 2019, to which Boric responded by tweeting: “I appreciate the gesture, but they could have asked Israel to return illegally occupied Palestinian territory.”
La Comunidad Judía en Chile me envía un tarrito de miel por el año nuevo judio, reafirmando su compromiso cn "una sociedad más inclusiva, solidaria y respetuosa". Agradezco el gesto pero podrían partir por pedirle a Israel que devuelva el territorio palestino ilegalmente ocupado. pic.twitter.com/rtb1dt8QRP— Gabriel Boric Font (@gabrielboric) October 2, 2019
Meanwhile, Boric signed a statement of support to the Palestinian cause in a meeting with the president of the Chilean Palestinian community during his presidential campaign.
Chile is home to the largest population of Palestinians outside the Arab world, numbering between 350,000-500,000.
Earlier this year during the presidential primaries, Boric defeated Daniel Jadue, who is the grandchild of Palestinian immigrants.
Palestinian immigration to Chile began in the late 19th century, with waves coming during World War I and after the creation of Israel in 1948. 95 percent of the community in the country are Christian.
In 1920, Club Deportivo Palestino was founded by Palestinian immigrants in the southern city of Osorno. The football club is popularly known as Palestine’s “second national team” – its uniform steeped in the Palestinian tricolour – and remains an enduring symbol of collective identity to represent a people more than 13,000 kilometres away.
During the recent Israeli offensive against Gaza in May, the club expressed its solidarity by donning keffiyehs before their fixture against Colo-Colo in Santiago.