ADL to train staff of Mexico’s US consulates on how to help attack victims

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,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said at a Friday news conference in Mexico City, the Elance Judio news website reported. “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.

“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.”

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

“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,” said Greenblatt, who also praised Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for his commitment to supporting his country’s Jewish community.

“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.”

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

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