New York gathering highlights Guatemalan-Jewish relationship and commitment to religious freedom
As global leaders converged on the United Nations Headquarters in New York the annual UN General Assembly, a number of prominent world leaders addressed the importance of global dialogue and the strengthening of interfaith relations in front of a unique group of rabbis, community leaders and entrepreneurs.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, the guest speaker at the annual dinner of the New York-based Alliance for Global Cooperation, highlighted his country’s longstanding relationship with the Jewish people and the enduring friendship between Guatemala and Israel. In his remarks, the president reiterated his support for Israel and its’ right to defend itself as a sovereign nation from her enemies and underscored Guatemala's steadfast commitment to the protection of life, family values and religious freedom.
Giammattei also extended an invitation to the Jewish community to visit Guatemala. He expressed his deep appreciation to Yaakov Flitchkin, head of the Alliance for Global Cooperation, for his activism and unwavering commitment to enhancing the relationship based on mutual respect and coexistence.
“I am grateful for Giammattei’s leadership and his vision of coexistence,” Flitchkin said. “We are committed, now more than ever, to deepening ties between our people and this great nation and to fostering ties with members of all faiths.”
Other speakers at the gathering in Manhattan, included Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled National Leader of Belarus; Chief Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Búcaro, Guatemalan Congressman Aníbal Estuardo Rojas Espino; Pastor Robin Garcia from the Religious Commission of Guatemala, Pastor Gilford Monrose, executive director of New York City Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships; Pastor Raúl Marroquín from Casa De Dios In Guatemala; Imam Mohammad Tawhidi of the Global Imams Council, and Bitcoin entrepreneur and philanthropist Brock Pierce.
Imam Tawhidi underscored the importance of peace and coexistence between the Muslim and Jewish communities. He highlighted the historic Abraham Accords as a testament to normalization between Israel and Arab nations and reaffirmed the steadfast commitment of the Global Imams Council in opposing antisemitism.
In attendance were prominent Guatemalan officials as well as noted New York officials and leaders of the Jewish community. New York has the largest concentration of Jews outside of Israel. Among them Chris Ruddy, owner and CEO of Newsmax Media; New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and Marla Maples, a renowned advocate for spiritual and wellness practices; Ydanis Rodríguez, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation; Joseph Borghese, Group Chairman of Borghese Ventures; And Anila Ali of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council.
The Alliance for Global Cooperation, launched in 2018, is an NGO with the aim to build connections between different countries and groups, including businesses and investors. The organization engages in collaborative efforts in more than 25 countries, promoting tolerance and peace and fostering interreligious cooperation.
Tsikhanouskaya, Belarusian current opposition leader, delivered the keynote speech, thanking
the Alliance for Global Cooperation for inviting her and supporting the cause of a democratic Belarus. She courageously shed light on the current situation in Belarus and the struggles faced by its people fighting for their democracy and freedoms and expressed her deep appreciation for Flitichkin’s personal messages of support. “It gives me strength to continue our fight for freedom,” Tsikhanouskaya said.
The Belarusian leader noted the deep connection between her country and the Jewish community throughout history and underscored the cultural and spiritual ties that bind these two communities. “As autocrats try to divide us and exploit these divisions, we need strong unity,” Tsikhanouskaya said. “Especially, unity between those of different faiths.”