ADL to train Mexico’s 50 consulates in the U.S.

JTA

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League will train the staff of Mexico’s 50 consulates in the United States on how to assist nationals who are victims of attacks and harassment.

“Through our regional offices we are the first to be called in case of a hate crime. When a synagogue is defaced, when a Jewish person is assaulted, but also when black person is attacked or a Latino or a Hispanic person, often we get a call,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt during a news conference on Friday in Mexico City, reported the Elance Judio news website.

“We hope to share our expertise, to do hands-on training, to make it easier for Mexican consular officials to handle the incoming calls, to prepare their staff to reach out to understand what’s happening and track the information more effectively,” he said.

Several Mexican consulates have recently reached out to ADL to help deal with an increase in attacks against Mexicans and Americans of Mexican background.

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“Many of the immigrants who are citizens or who are not yet citizens are afraid to call the authorities. They are afraid of the questions … for this reason they call the consulates. Ambassador [Geronimo] Gutierrez is very enthusiastic,” Greenblatt explained.

“This robust collaboration will allow your government to do its job to protect your own citizens and compatriots abroad and syncs with our mission, which is to fight discrimination,” added Greenblatt, who also praised Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for his commitment to supporting his country’s Jewish community.

On May 21, Mexican-Jewish diplomat Andres Roemer, who was fired from his ambassador position for walking out an anti-Israel vote at UNESCO in October, will receive the International Sephardic Leadership Award by the American Sephardic Federation.

In March, the mayor of Mexico City laid the foundation stone of a Jewish community center slated to cost nearly $5.3 million. Miguel Angel Mancera considered the initiative a sign of trust in the country’s growth.

Mexico is home to some 50,000 Jews, Latin America’s third largest Jewish community after Argentina and Brazil.