Your True Enemy lives in your own House.

Update: June 20th 2016 Guatemalan mayor indicted for expelling Jewish sect.

Update: August 26th 2014

Translation of the notice: PDH sigue caso de comunidad judía en San Juan La Laguna. By Procurador de los Derechos Humanos | Noticias Destacadas | Martes, 26 Agosto 2014.

The Office of the Ombudsman considered the intention to expel members of a Jewish community established in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, as a violation of human rights said Giovanni Guzmán, of the institution's Mediation Office in an interview on 25 August.

In this regard, Guzmán indicated that the Office of the Ombudsman considered it of utmost importance that both parties discuss and reach an agreement. Referring to the allegations that both groups made, he said that the settlers of San Juan La Laguna indicated that it is not the religion of the Jewish community, but their night worship, which they claim disturbs their rest. The Jews complaints revolve around feelings of exclusion.
In this regard, the official said that something very positive had emerged as a result of their intervention and that was the decision of the Council of Elders of the region referred to above, not to expel the community.

As a follow-up and to continue the process of dialogue on the subject, a meeting of the two parties will be held on Wednesday on the premises of the Ombudsman of Human Rights,  which also houses local authorities of San Juan La Laguna.

Update: August 22nd 2014

Translation of the document: Acerca del intento de expulsión de la comunidad judía de San Juan La Laguna, Sololá. Comunicado 22 Agosto | Procurador de Los Derechos Humanos.

About the intention to expel the Jewish community of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá. Communication. August 22nd, 2014. Ombudsman of Human Rights.

1. The Director General of Migration of the Ministry of Governance is the sole competent authority, in accordance with the Migration Act, with expertise about issues related to the expulsion of foreign nationals from the territory national territory, and that after legal procedures have been exhausted and just cause proven, makes decisions about their expulsion.

2. Pursuant to the above, no person, authority, group or community has the right or is authorized to:
   a) Fix a period for foreign groups or people for departure out of any area of the national territory.
   b) Under no justification, whether religious, politics, ethics or morality, may any person usurp the right to make threats and expel foreigners from the Guatemalan territory or decide on their displacement.

3. The series of acts carried out by the authorities and residents of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, constitute a violation of several liberties and human rights of the Jewish community settled in the municipality. They lack the legal powers to decide on the displacement of individuals and groups.

4. As part of the State, municipal authorities in Guatemala have an obligation to respect, guarantee and protect human rights.

5. However, in this town, the local authority illegally and arbitrarily set a deadline for the expulsion of the Jewish community. It expired and they intend to now expel them from the Municipality indicated.

6. This series of acts constitute discriminatory acts and a violation of a series of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as:

   a) The freedom which all the people in this country must enjoy, to choose where to set up residence.

   b) The right to live without anything or anyone harming them or threatening to cause them injury. This is the right to indemnity, i.e. to live free of violence.

   c) The right to equality and non-discrimination.

   d) The right to freedom of worship and to public expression of their religious practices.

7. By virtue of the foregoing, the Ombudsman for Human Rights calls to:

a)  Local authorities to comply with the legal mandate to respect, guarantee and protect the freedoms and fundamental rights of all human beings living in that municipality.

b)  The population to keep calm, not be manipulated by local authorities and practice tolerance; to effect the return to that harmony and respect that should prevail in people of good will living in San Juan La Laguna.

8. It is contrary to the principle of equality and non-discrimination to encourage and execute acts against the freedoms and fundamental rights of minorities and the peace that is desired by all the people who inhabit this country.

Update: August 22nd 2014

Translation of the article:
ACTUALIZACIÓN: Condenan expulsión de judíos en San Juan La Laguna. Por Redacción La Hora | La Hora | ago 22, 2014.
UPDATE: Condemnation of expulsion of Jews in San Juan La Laguna.
The Ombudsman for Human Rights, Jorge Duque de León, disagreed this morning with the expulsion of at least 100 Jewish families residing in San Juan La Laguna, Atitlan.

In his Twitter account, JdeLeonDuque, Ombudsman said the expulsion of the Jews is an action which is "illegal and a violation" against human rights and has no justification.

While Maria Trinidad Gutierrez, Commissioner of the Commission on Discrimination and Racism (CODISRA), condemned the incident and said that this is a clear example of discrimination.

Yesterday, the Council of Elders of San Juan La Laguna, decided to expel the families belonging to the Jewish community, claiming that their customs threaten the living conditions of the community and set a bad example to them.

Update: August 21st 2104

Translation of the article, Consejo de San Juan La Laguna expulsa a comunidad judía, Por ÁNGEL JULAJUJ | Prensa Libre | 21/08/14.
Council of San Juan La Laguna expels Jewish community.
The Council of Elders of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, decided on Thursday to expel from the municipality about 70 families from the Jewish community, Toiras Jesed.
By ÁNGEL JULAJUJ | Prensa Libre | 21/08/14

SOLOLÁ - The Council of Elders of San Juan La Laguna determined that the presence of the members of the community who over three months had made ​​a series of accusations against the region, were a risk to the population.

Residents said that the organization Toiras Jesed had settled in the town for eight years.

The deadline to leave the place is tomorrow Friday [August 22nd 2014].

The decision to expel the Jews was taken by 75 members of the Council who represent the 20 indigenous communities of San Juan La Laguna.

In early August, the Jews complained that harassment against them had increased recently, as well as actions to force them to leave.

"In recent weeks, some people went to the owners of the houses rented to us, to ask that water and electricity be cut," said Misael Santos, a Guatemalan convert to Judaism.

Verbal and physical attacks against 32 people who profess Judaism began in October last year, when six families moved to live in San Juan La Laguna, and they reported that because of their clothing they began to be the object of teasing, insults and aggressions.

"We wanted a clean, quiet, peaceful and welcoming town for our children to grow up," said Santos, last May. However, for the last six months they have been subjected to verbal abuse and racist insults that have worsened in recent days, and they have come to blows, by villagers demanding them to leave, even though they do not infringe any law.

The situation is exacerbated because the municipality asked for a list of people who profess Judaism, on the pretext that they want to keep track of visitors; although they do not request the same of other tourists. Santos fears the situation is taking a dangerous turn towards irrational antisemitism driven by some residents.

Update: August 3rd 2014

Translation of the article, Judíos denuncian acoso de alcalde, Por A. Sas | Prensa Libre | 03/08/14
Jews denounce Mayor's harassment.
The Jewish religious community residing in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, reported that in the last days there has been increased harassment against them, as well as actions to force them to leave.
By A. Sas | Prensa Libre | 03/08/14.

"In recent weeks, some people went to the owners of the houses rented to us to ask that water and electricity be cut," said Misael Santos, a Guatemalan convert to Judaism and the first to move to that community.

Verbal and physical attacks against 32 people who profess Judaism began in October last year, when six families moved to live in San Juan La Laguna, and
they reported that because of their clothing they began to be the object of teasing, insults and aggressions

Another of those affected, who asked that his identity not be revealed, reported that the mayor of the town, Rodolfo Perez, has organized meetings with different groups in the municipality, to convince them to expel them from the place, based solely on prejudice towards their beliefs.

When contacted by telephone, the chief councilor explained, in "my town there is no Jewish community" and said he was not available to provide more information on this issue.

Continuing from my previous post, recent reports have revealed that there was in fact no amicable resolution as was reported in an earlier Prensa Libre article, between some of the residents of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala, and the local Jewish community The tide of anti-Jewish sentiment which possessed a certain group in the town led to attacks against the community which escalated from the verbal to the physical. Because of the unrest, this Jewish community that had lived there peacefully for the past six years was given a month and a half to leave.

The Mayor, Rodolfo López, in the translated Prensa Libre article below, seems to be washing his hands, having presided over an eviction notice and an illegal demand for a registry of Jews in the town. He dispenses in quick succession, his equivalents of, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." "I see nothing, I know nothing." and "Don't shoot the messenger." At the end of the article, we are nowhere closer to understanding exactly what this community has done to inspire such antipathy.  Are they murdering civilians? Are they the owners of mining companies that are riding roughshod over the rights of ordinary Guatemalans? Are they suppliers of weapons? Are they killers of trade unionists? Again, as with the Prensa Libre article presented earlier, this article is followed by comments from indignant and alarmed readers which prove that this hostility towards the Jews is localised and not shared by the entire country or even the entire town. If there is something to celebrate in all of this, it is this prompt voicing of disapproval from ordinary people on the ground. There appears to be less of the silence and complicity that we have witnessed elsewhere. Still, more probing questions need to be asked. Why is this happening? Why now? After six years with this community residing peacefully in their midst, why are they now being viewed by some as a threat to tourism, a threat to Mayan culture, a threat to normalcy, a threat to children, a threat of invasion [Jewish] and a threat to Christianity?

Whatever the reasons and whether or not further investigation will explain the actions of some of the townspeople, the consensus seems to be that in this matter, the Mayor has acted irresponsibly, illegally and dangerously. In response, the "Guatemala Counter-Terrorism Foundation" announced on its Facebook page that it had filed a suit against the Mayor of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, regarding the assault upon the ten Jewish families residing in the Township. This has been the first body to stand in defense of the Jewish community in San Juan La Laguna. Confirmation of the action was provided in the following translated Prensa Libre article:

The Counter-Terrorism Foundation filed a suit against the Mayor of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, for inciting the population to threaten several Jewish families who live in that place.
Prensa Libre | 27/05/14

GUATEMALA city - Roberto López López, Chief Councillor of the municipality mentioned, is identified as instigating the community to do damage to Jews living in San Juan La Laguna, since six years ago.

The suit was submitted to Criminal Judicial Management Agency.

The crimes of which Lopez Lopez is charged are incitement to genocide, abuse of authority, threats, usurpation of authority, rulings in violation of the Constitution.

Misael Santos, a Guatemalan convert to Judaism, said last week that they have been subjected to verbal abuse and racist insults by a group of residents demanding that they leave the place.

With information from Hugo Alvarado.

In addition to the Prensa Libre article below about the situation, there is a very informative post on The Accidental Talmudist - Salvador Litvak's Facebook account. Among the comments are those which suggest that Lev Tahor's presence in the area is somehow responsible for the troubles which have befallen this community. However, according to Misael Santos of the local Jewish community, these assaults started six months ago and we know that Lev Tahor arrived in Guatemala in early March, less than three months ago. In addition, Salvador Litvak's informant, a Guatemalan Jew living near San Juan - M.t. Levi Greer Walker, has stated that Lev Tahor is not connected. According to Levi Greer, there are different Jewish communities scattered around the towns in that area and Lev Tahor is in Panajachel at the other end of the lake. This group is in San Juan and they are associated with Toiras Jesed. According to the informant, their members have done absolutely nothing to deserve the persecution to which they are now being subjected.  See Salvador Litvak's page on this topic for more information and many comments by readers. The Prensa Libre article follows with my apologies for any errors in translation:

By LUIS ÁNGEL SAS | Prensa Libre | 25/05/14

Misael Santos is a Guatemalan, converted to Judaism because his grandmother was Jewish, although the rest of his family is Catholic. He is leader of a community of thirty-two people, some in the process of accepting this religion, living in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá for six years.


Photos are the property of Prensa Libre.
Misael Santos is Guatemalan and considers that he has the right to freely live his faith.

"We were looking for a clean, quiet, peaceful and friendly people so that our children could grow." Santos explains. However, for approximately six months they are subject to verbal abuse and racist insults, that have worsened in recent days since they have come to blows, by a group of settlers that demand that they leave, despite the fact that they do not infringe any law.

The situation is exacerbated because the municipality asked for a list of people who profess Judaism, under the pretext that want to keep a record of all visitors; although they do not do this with other tourists. Santos fears that the situation is taking a dangerous turn towards irrational anti-Semitism, driven by some residents.

How did you arrive at the town?

We arrived six years ago. We lived in zone 1 in the capital, but we wanted a quiet place to live and develop.

On arrival we didn't have much money and we started to sell rellenitos [stuffed, fried mashed plantain balls], paches [tamales], dobladas [stuffed tortillas]. So we arrived at San Pedro La Laguna, where sometimes there were Israeli tourists who were asking, "Where is the synagogue?" As there wasn't one, I said to them. "Come to my house." This is how Jews began coming to San Juan.

When did the problems begin?

Some seven months ago, visitors came to celebrate the Jewish New Year here. A Mexican family remained for five months. There were just two families, and a gentleman from the village began to show his discomfort with us. We were not many, only two families, but he wanted us to leave.

Why did you decide to stay?

Yes, we were looking for a quiet place, and San Juan is. People say that we are Jews, but it is necessary to clarify that in my case, I'm still in the process of conversion to Judaism, although some are from birth.

In any case, being Jewish is nothing bad because it is like when a Christian pastor comes to establish a church, or a Jehovah's Witness passes teaching his doctrine. We do not make a fuss or do things contrary to the law of Guatemala, we only exercise our freedom of worship. We do no wrong to anyone.

Why do you think that there is opposition to your presence?

Lack of information. I put myself in their place and maybe they are justified in feeling fear because before we were two families and now there are ten. And seeing us with our traditional dress, which is black, out of devotion and humility, in the streets, perhaps causes fear. But I think that someone is orchestrating this. Because photocopied leaflets containing misinformation were put under doors.

Even, on one website, photos of Hitler were uploaded and they were saying that they were putting us in cremation ovens. They asked that we leave town because they said we kidnap children, and they ignited more antipathy by saying that the town was going to be invaded by Jews. This was done so that a certain group of the population would be incensed. But we are people of peace.

When did the violence begin...

Fifteen days ago, three friends were at an internet provider and others went to buy phone top-ups. A group of youths arrived and pursued them to the other side of the town. Those who were in the cafe were shoved and they threw stones at them. We arrive, ask them why they did that.

Included among the aggressors was a policeman in plain clothes. Then we call the Policia Nacional Civil and everyone left. This caused unrest and fear. Some of us wanted us to leave that night because we have heard of places where people lynch others. The following day I saw racist comments on a website and totally anti-Semitic photos, saying very ugly things.

What happened after the attack?

There was nothing positive to be felt in the environment. The people with their expressions, and the drivers of the Tuc-tucs threw words when they passed.

One day, my wife was walking with a friend, and two children of less than ten years told them: "Go to hell, Jews!" [Polite translation] After that night they started to throw stones at the houses that we rent; they broke windows. Here, nearby, they threw an explosive device. The situation began to worsen.

They also discovered that many of us have not had dogs and that we are afraid of them. So now they release the dogs at certain friends. They say to them,"Sic 'em!" and such things. Also we are walking and some Tuc-tuc drivers begin to bark like dogs. It is a harassment, as they are doing so because we are Jews, including shouting at us, "You killed Jesus!" And it is clear that it is not so. In addition, they have placed signs outside the houses where we live and the municipality has asked us for a list of all the Jews living in San Juan. This is discrimination.

Why did they ask for a list?

We were not told. They claim that it concerns tourism, but they do not ask for the list of other tourists. We agreed to give the list, although I consulted with lawyers and they told us that it was not legal if there has been no request from a judge. We are thirty-two people and there are thirteen foreigners; the rest are Guatemalans.

Do you see persecution against you?

I don't know. There is disapproval of our presence here. They talk about our clothing, but the parish priest dresses similar to us. They say that we want to take away their culture and steal their heritage, but we do not walk door to door trying to convince the people to join us. We have not purchased any land here to cause them to say that.

Have you looked for support?

Yes, with human rights organizations. Some members also made complaints against those who assaulted them and it was the same people that called us names, because not all the people want us to go; it is only a group. I wrote a letter asking for an urgent meeting with the Mayor of San Juan and the community development councils, to talk about the aggression and request security. In that meeting a lady presented 300 alleged signatures, asking that we leave the town.

How do you feel about them asking you to leave?

Sad, because this is our home for six years. My children grew up here, with several children of the town.

Are you going to give in to the pressure?

Many people do not want us to go, they have come to ask us not to go. The parents of the friends of my children, for example. They are Christian people who live their values. The problem is that there has already been aggression and I would like the Mayor to do something. There is a saying that goes: "Who dirties must clean.", and it will have to be those young people who invented things and made those posters, to repair the damage. But if there is no solution, we will leave. There are even some who say jokingly that San Juan Bautista, the patron saint of the town, is Jewish, and if we leave here we should take him because he is also Jewish.

"A month and a half to go."

The Mayor of San Juan La Laguna, Rodolfo López, said that he gave the community of Jews living in the municipality a month and a half to leave the town, because that was the time they said they would be. "The population is waiting for a month and a half so that they withdraw from the municipality. It is the town's decision. The Mayor is only the arbiter." said Perez, who did not respond concerning the racist attacks suffered by members of the Jewish community.

"We want to know if they are legally registered in the country and also to ask for protection of human rights." Lopez explained about the listing requested of those persons, without clarifying the reason for intolerance towards that religious community.

He added that he cannot say if there had been attacks on the Jews or not. He said, "Anyone can report what he wishes and it is not my role to determine whether it is true or not."

He added that he cannot forbid anyone to visit the village, once you are in accordance with the laws of the country. But he said that if there are Guatemalans who invite foreigners to come to the country they should "explain the customs of Guatemala".

"When something is bought at the store, they ask that it be put on the table or on the floor. They must comply with the customs of the people in San Juan. If I go to the United States I must adopt what the gringo does." explained Lopez.

In a month another meeting will be held to analyse the situation of the Jewish community. SOURCE

There is a lot more to this story and for reasons unknown, the authorities who do have the resources to investigate what exactly has instigated these developments have chosen thus far not to do so. Although it is a natural gut reaction to be repulsed by the actions of some of the residents of this town, in my opinion, the greater culpability is owned by those whose duty it was to keep the peace, to get to the bottom of the unrest and to arrive at some understanding between all parties. This hostility did not spring suddenly and fully grown out of thin air.

One of the most reassuring sentiments emanating from Salvador Litvak's Facebook post and readers' comments on this topic is the need for solidarity, for ordinary people to be on guard for each other. The workers of iniquity are busy and if we betray each other for their benefit, we are lost. The Irish proverb says it best - It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” 

Readers' comments to date on this article.
Caravantes Rodrigo
03:31hs | 25.05.2014 |
Yo no tengo absolutamente nada en contra de judíos, pero esto no tiene sentido. Normalmente los judíos ortodoxos sueñan con vivir en Israel y no entiendo porqué escogieron vivir en este pueblo. Es realmente una irresponsabilidad de parte de los líderes de este culto de insistir en quedarse ahí. Un simple rumor o incidente podría terminar en un linchamiento colectivo que desafortunadamente no es nada nuevo en este país.

nelson melgar
06:40hs | 25.05.2014 |
es verdad cada persona extranjera que llega a otro pais debe obligadamente adaptarse a las leyes y costumbres de este, a no ser que haygan de anticipo puestose de acuerdo para unos acomodamientos razonables, pero aqui no es el caso. por fabor seamos mas humanos e investiguemos mas acerca de ellos para emitir un juicio, no seamos ignorantes,

08:16hs | 25.05.2014 |

Mario Acevedo
08:59hs | 25.05.2014 |
Como es esto mayas racistas, pero si los presentan como amantes de la madre tierra. Alta comisionada de los Derechos Humanos no se oye en este caso, Rigoberta permitiras que actúen de esa forma contra los judíos y toda la cantaleta de pueblos oprimidos.

maria morales
10:21hs | 25.05.2014 |
xq las personas no dejan vivir a cada quien como le plazca, que ejemplo estamos dando a nuestros hijos a no aceptar a las personas... lo mismo que hicieron con Jesus estan haciendo

Henry Molina
11:13hs | 25.05.2014 |
no estoy deacuerdo con estas personas que quieren sacar a los judios de ese lugar ¿como se sentirian si visitaran un dia israel y los trataran de la misma forma'? guatemala vive del turismo y si tratan mal a estas personas luego ya nadie va quierer ir a ese lugar

carlos chapeton
12:24hs | 25.05.2014 |
Que intolerancia y luego nos quejamos del racimos a los mayas, indígenas, campesinos, etc y que hacemos respondemos con racismo, después pedimos que se nos escuche que nos respeten y no respetamos que les enseñamos a nuestros hijos a seguir siendo iguales, intolerantes, que haga algo los derechos humanos, que le damos a entender a los extranjeros a los turistas si vienen a Guatemala y sus costumbres son diferentes extranjerismos vamos a linchar, que mal!

NoEl Kent
12:48hs | 25.05.2014 |
Porque los humanos no pueden llevarse bien? No somos propietarios de lo que tenemos, simplemente administradores. El pueblo Judio es una bendicion para todos (la humanidad). Genesis 12.2b. Seamos AHORA nosotros una bendicion para ellos, no importa donde se encuentren. No traigamos AFLICCION a nosotros mismos. Genesis. 12.3

Gustavo Echeverrria
12:54hs | 25.05.2014 |
Cuanto me gustaría ser objetivo en mi comentario pero lastimosamente mi posible comentario no lo sera bien recibido para todos.... pero CREO DEBERÍAN DEJAR VIVIR A ESTA COMUNIDAD EN GUATE.... VIVO EN EL EXTRANJERO Y VIVO CON MIS COSTUMBRES... ahora bien.. lo que si deberían de hacer es llegar a unos acuerdos para que la población no se moleste con ellos como por ejemplo que se bañen desnudos en pleno río..... y algunas cosas mas... pero de allí en mas...

Ester Liopez
13:27hs | 25.05.2014 |

Victor Dubon
14:47hs | 25.05.2014 |
Ellos pueden ser la religión que sea, para eso existe la ley de libertad religiosa y de credo, y al final de cuentas si ellos no nos discriminan a nosotros, con que derecho los criticamos? Realmente solo porque algunos son ignorantes no es motivo para justificar ningún tipo de discriminación y menos a las creencias de un grupo respetuoso de personas.

Adolfo Velasquez
14:59hs | 25.05.2014 |
esta gente es pacífica y dicíplinada,yo vivo en montreal canadá,ellos son respetuosos y educados,que le pasa a las personas de Guatemala,dejenlos vivir en paz,hay que demostrar que en Guatemala tambien somos de mente abierta,no cerrada y atrancada.

lobo villa
15:07hs | 25.05.2014 |
dijo Albert Einstein...hay dos cosas que no tienen limite...el infinito...y la estupides humana y la me da coraje lo que esta gente tonta esta haciendo con esta comunidad judia.,,si no tristeza...como se atreven a mandar simbolos nazis como la svastica.,,y no creo que ninguno de estos tontos sepan su significado y triste que la ignoranicia todavia prevalesca y la falta de conocimiento hacia una religion.

fernando cantoral
15:15hs | 25.05.2014 |
Los indios viven quejandose de rasismo todo el tiempo se creen due;os de guatemala y si algo no les gusta a linchar, gente insivilizada parecen animales

fernando cantoral
15:17hs | 25.05.2014 |
estos indigenas se viven quejando de racismo y ellos no son due;os de guatemala todo lo quieren resolver con linchamiento, viven reclamando mil derechos en el congreso y se comportan como animales con otras personas

The Indians live complaining of racism all the time feel due; you Guatemala and if something does not like to Lynch, people insivilizada seem to animals

fernando cantoral
15:24hs | 25.05.2014 |
los indigenas se han quejado de opresion y ahora se comortan de esta manera y no entiendo como quieren sacar a alguien por que no les gusta y donde quedan los derecho de la gente y la libertad de culto

Teofilo Xio
15:37hs | 25.05.2014 |
Pues por lo que se hoye, parece que esta gente dizque judia, quiere imponer sus voluntades y “costumbres” en la población. Parece que los “judios” quieren que se hagan las cosas como ellos dicen, y así demandan, y no de buen modo, entonces, la población se indigna, y quieren que se vayan antes que suceda algo malo. Estos señores “judíos ortodoxos” parece que creen que su popo no creen superiores e hijos de Abraham!!

Estuardo Garcia
16:27hs | 25.05.2014 |
Triste, la ingnorancia de unos pocos.Todos podemos convivir en paz! no es justo que por unos cuantos a todos nos miren mal.Aqui donde vivo ya se hubieran llevado al bote a los revoltosos.EL Gobierno tiene que intervenir, esto es serio

Juan Indignado
17:52hs | 25.05.2014 |
En un reportaje anterior PL ctió los comentariosa de un pastor evangélico en los cuales se expresaba mal de ellos. No me extrañaría que este tipo esté detrás de todo esto. De plano no le gusta la "competencia". Hay que tener mucho cuidado y ojo al Cristo porque los judíos son muy unidos a nivel mundial y el Estado de Israel ha sido un buen amigo para Guatemala (sigue)

Juan Indignado
17:57hs | 25.05.2014 |
Lo que van a conseguir estos i.diotas ignorantes que todavía viven con una mentalidad de la era del oscurantismo, es que Israel nos mande por un tubo y ya quiero ver qué van a hacer estos imbéciles de San Juan cuando toda la gente que recibe ayuda del Pueblo de Israel, deje de recibirla y entonces se tiren contra ellos. Van a probar de su propia medicina.

David Medina
18:00hs | 25.05.2014 |
Ese alcalde Lopez mas parece un "PILATO" lavandose las manos en vez de defender a personas que no le han hecho nada a el, acaso cuando el Sr Lopez viene a Guatemala se le discrimina? o se le pide algun listado de los que vienen con el para que no parezcan raros aqui en la capital? o mejor aun se le pide algun listado de los que vienen con el para ver sino son corruptos? Eso esta haciendo exactamente con los judios que han llegado a su pueblo , ojala que reflexione.

Julio Alvarado
18:17hs | 25.05.2014 |
Cuando restringimos el derecho de los demás también ponemos en riesgo nuestra propia libertad de adorar a Dios. Todos debemos reclamar el derecho de adorar a Dios conforme a los dictados de nuestra propia conciencia, y dejar que los demás adoren cómo, cuándo o lo que deseen. El respeto a las creencias de los demás debe ser una norma de conducta que fortalece las demás libertades básicas del ser humano. 

Jose Petaluma
18:48hs | 25.05.2014 |
Porque estos judios no buscaron una casa, o un apartemento en la zona 15, 14, y 10 donde viven sus pares que ejercen la similitud de su credo religioso,porque no se contactaron con el pastor Carlos Cash Luna, para que les pusieran apaprtamentos lujosos del primer mundo, encambio tienen que ir a refugiarse a una poblacion que tiene la vista del lago mas exotico del mundo, estos judios no son nada de confianza, que los aloje los de cacif,o que les cedan una finca.

Jose Petaluma
19:00hs | 25.05.2014 |
Porque estos judios no se fueron a refugiarse en el seno de Cash Luna,que predica la religion judia, que lo defiende a capa y espada, que jura y perjura que la iglesia que dirige y comanda es de pura prodecencia semita al 100%, entonces que hacen estos judios en estas tierras, entiendase no es racismo ni clasismo de los pueblos originarios de San Juan pero que estos judios expliquen bien su presencia, ellos no son nada de confianza,porque no buscaron refugio con ladinos.

Kelvin Gonzalez
19:34hs | 25.05.2014 |
Déjame decirte que por Los Judíos Tenemos las escrituras, tenemos la salvación que fue a través de Jesús dirigida al pueblo Judío, Recuerda tus principios: SALMO 72:18 De lo contrario pasara esto: GÉNESIS 12:3 (la promesa fue a Israel)

Charly Garcia
20:19hs | 25.05.2014 | El Artículo 202 Bis del Código Penal dispone que: Se entenderá como discriminación (...). Asimismo, la ley penal dispone que el responsable de la comisión del delito de discriminación será sancionado con prisión de 1 a 3 años y multa de Q500 a Q3 mil. La pena se agravará en una tercera parte cuando la discriminación sea por razón idiomática, cultural o étnica.

Jose Petaluma
20:24hs | 25.05.2014 |
Estos judios pueden ser agentes de espionaje del Moshad, agencia de inteligencia Israeli, por eso es bueno que los pobladores de San Juan Atitlan no se confien de nadie, aunque sea el mesias mismo,porque estos judios no se refugiaron en la casa de algun genocida miitar socio de ellos, o la casa de Alfredo Calsmith, o la misma mansion de Cash Luna que adora y se arrodilla ante los judios, seria recomendable que regresen a la capital, y que dejen de interrumpir la paz de esta poblacion.

Abraham gold
20:28hs | 25.05.2014 |
Que bueno que hay diversidad en Guatemala. Aquellos que todavia quiren ser parte del antisemitismo medieval que se eduquen!! . Guatemala nesesita saber que estamos en tiempos modernos donde la educacion y diversidad enriquece el ambiente. Bienvenidos!

Maricielo Soto
20:38hs | 25.05.2014 |
PARTE 1 Es una realidad que al llegar a un país extranjero la persona(s) debe adaptarse a las leyes (..jurídicas..) del país en cuestión … por supuesto que adaptarse a las costumbres es un “plus”, pero no es un deber ( No necesario americanizarse para adaptarse y ser parte productiva de una comunidad! )

Maricielo Soto
20:39hs | 25.05.2014 |
PARTE 2 …Pero, esto nada tiene que ver en relación a Religión, máxime en un país que proclama tener LIBERTAD de culto. Mucho se habla de la Guatemala Multicultural … multiculturalismo (..utópico por supuesto..), donde existe equidad y respeto mutuo, lo cual crea un ambiente donde todos crecemos y juntos convertimos de éste un mejor país. --- Es lamentable que los propios Chapines nos resignemos a ser un país de linchamientos.
Maricielo Soto
20:40hs | 25.05.2014 |
PARTE 3 Definitivamente la falta de información y de educación en nuestro país es deprimente. -- Gracias a la línea Judía (..instituida por Dios a través de Abraham..) tuvimos la bendición de tener a DIOS caminando entre nosotros. Históricamente, tanto judíos como romanos le mataron físicamente! ( un gozo saber que resucitó!..)

Javier Perales
20:41hs | 25.05.2014 |
Vivimos en un país de gente inculta e incivilizada. Contrario a los que Cervantes escribía: "dejad que los perros ladren Sancho, es señal que avanzamos". En este país hay un montón de perros que ladra, pero ni a patadas avanzamos.

Maricielo Soto
20:41hs | 25.05.2014 |
PARTE 4 / FINAL ASI QUE: Sres. Judíos … hay muchos otros lugares hermosos en Guatemala, en donde les recibirían amablemente y donde ustedes serian de bendición a través de sus conocimientos … a veces, mover campamento es la mejor opción ( véase Exodo ) hay que prevenir y no lamentar.

Carlos Chempul
20:56hs | 25.05.2014 |
Por eso es que estamos como estamos, que tipo de ignorante es el alcalde de San Juan la Laguna, lamento decirlo pero esta gente solo entiende a palo y a balazos, despues andan quejandose que les atropeyan sus derechos cuando los principales violadores son la gente de estas comunidades. Una vez a mi me quisieron hacer lo mismo pero a pura pija los aquiete. Asi que adelante gente judia, hagan valer sus derechos y aquieten a esta gente.

22:32hs | 25.05.2014 |

Adriana Rosen
22:36hs | 25.05.2014 |
Esto es horrible discriminación! Dejarlos en paz. La policía debe detener a las personas hostigadoras. Facistas. Todas las formas de discriminación es incorrecta. ¿Por qué no aprenden del pasado?

Jose Herrera
22:52hs | 25.05.2014 |
Es incomprensible como los mayas ahora son racistas y descriminadores, violadoresdel libre credo. Pero bueno lo mejor es que los judios se sacudan el polvo de sus pies y dejen ese pueblo de ignorantes.

Adriana Rosen
22:56hs | 25.05.2014 |
Los Judíos ortodoxos viven EN TODO EL MUNDO - Canadá, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, en todo el mundo. Están sufriendo persecución en San Juan de la Laguna y es un error. Su religión es un derecho humano. La policía debe detener a las personas que causan daño.

pablo moreira
12:40hs | 26.05.2014 |
Entonces los católicos somos posibles espías del vaticano? Hay que dejar de ver tanta televisión y leer más.

pablo moreira
12:44hs | 26.05.2014 |
Lamentable comentario

Lilian Marroquin
13:13hs | 26.05.2014 |
No estoy de acuerdo que se le trate mal a ningún ser humano. A esta población de San Juan que está ofendiendo física y verbalmente a la Comunidad Judía, deben de ser sansionados e investigar quiénes están detrás de esto. Solo personas endemoniadas actuan de esta manera. Lo que uno hace, bien o mal, lo pagamos el doble. Ni siquiera se imaginan lo que Israel apoya a Guatemala. Esto es contra los derechos humanos. ¿Acaso no existen Mayas que practican brujería? Esto se refiere a ISRAEL Gen.12:3

elgor dote
18:01hs | 26.05.2014 |
La ultima vez que vinieron "visitantes" a Guatemala no les fue muy bien a los que vivian aqui. MIren a los pueblos alrededor del lago de Atitlan. Poco a poco estan perdiendo su identidad y dentro de unos annos estaran igual que la Antigua. Que no vengan con babosadas de anti-semitismo. Tienen razon de temer a los visitantes. Lean lo que paso en las aldeas de Nueva York cuando este tipo de gente tomo mando politico.

Kelly Ochoa
18:38hs | 26.05.2014 |
Génesis 12:3 Bendeciré a los que te Bendigan y Maldeciré a los que te maldigan. Jesús era Judío, del pueblo Judío viene Nuestro Salvador, en realidad Cada persona es responsable de la muerte de Jesús, Isaías en el capítulo 53 verso 5 y 6 " Más El fue molido por nuestras Rebeliones , molido por nuestros pecados. Por darnos La Paz cayó sobre El el castigo, y por sus llagas fuimos curados, Cuando busque quien crucifico a Jesús no vaya tan lejos, sólo busque un espejo.

zehariah ben
21:32hs | 26.05.2014 |
los judios son el pueblo de Di-s el pueblo escogido que hoy esta en todo el mundo para dar luz a las naciones pero las naciones no aceptan la luz pero al final todos quedaran con la boca cerrada cuando vean lo que El Di-s de Israel va hacer con las naciones is cap 2

Abraham gold
08:18hs | 27.05.2014 |
El turismo y la diversidad cultural son bienes que traen capital y progreso. Los Judios han contribuido enormemente en donde van. La religion Judia no busca convertir la gente como lo hace el cristianismo asi que el miedo al cambio no tiene fundamentos. Primero es bueno el progreso segundo nadie esta forzando a cambiar a otros.

Natalia Valladares

10:07hs | 27.05.2014 |

Natalia Valladares
10:11hs | 27.05.2014 |
Israel ha sufrido mucho, la Iglesia Catolica y los nazi los querian EXTERMINAR, los arabes y los iranies perversos tambien, y ahora ustedes tambien los danan, que maldad. No sean perversos la ira del Cielo puede venir sobre todos ustedes.

Willie Gonzalez
00:17hs | 29.05.2014 |
Es triste y lamentable saber que estos Judios tengan que sufrir persecucion en nuestro propio pais Guatemala. Israel ha bendecido grandemente a Guatemala y creo que las autoridades del los derechos humanos intervengan aqui. Esero que prensa libre sea un medio para concientizar a la poblacion de que todods somos iguales.

Jenny Mizrachi
09:47hs | 29.05.2014 |
Los que me conocen sabrán que digo esto con conocimiento de causa. Ni la ropa , libros o parafernalia judaica los hace verdaderos judíos. Para ser judío hay que tener moral ,convicción, sentir arrepentimiento por sus malas acciones , empatía , humildad y mas que todo aferrarse a sus desiciones que tomaron como adultosy un montón de cualidades que lo hace diferente al resto de los Goys ,,,,

19:19hs | 29.05.2014 |
Me conmovio aserca de la noticia de San Juan la Laguna Yo creo que el pueblo Judio merece ser respetado El pueblo de San Juan debe interesarse quien es el pueblo Judio El pueblo Judio es el pueblo de la Biblia. Dios los escogio para ser un pueblo especial mas que todos los pueblos de la tierra (Deuteronomio 7:6) Yo doy gracias a Dios porque de ellos viene nuestra salvacion (Juan 4:22) El pueblo Judio a sufrido mucho por la ignorancia de no saber quien es el pueblo Judio


Source: Prensa Libre. Guatemala, miercoles 28 de mayo de 2014, p. 41. via Rebeca Permuth.

The Association of the Jewish Community of Guatemala, regarding the situation in San Juan Laguna, Sololá, in response to public opinion, respectfully advises,

1. It condemns strongly any acts of xenophobia and discrimination against any ethnic, religious or other group; such as the acts that have taken place recently against members of religious groups that have settled in Sololá, which do not form part of our Association.

2. The Association of the Jewish Community of Guatemala is not involved with conversion to Judaism. "Toiras Jesed", a group of mostly guatemalcos, is in process of conversion to Judaism. "Toiras Jesed" does not support the State of Israel, and its members settled in the Department of Sololá, approximately 6 years ago.

3. The Association of the Jewish Community of Guatemala is also not involved with the group called "Lev Tahor" that settled recently in March of this year, in the Department of Sololá. This group has practices not accepted within Judaism and it also rejects the State of Israel, which is not consistent with the principles of our Association.

4. Notwithstanding that the groups mentioned are not part of our Association, the human rights of all faiths, ethnicities and groups must be respected.

5. The guatemalcos of Jewish faith which are part of the Association, are respectful of the laws of our country, we value freedom of religion as a basic constitutional guarantee for all inhabitants, nationals or foreigners, who reside in the country, provided that practices are carried out with absolute respect to the laws of Guatemala.

Guatemala, 28 de mayo 2014.


This image above was shared on Facebook, thanks to Rebeca Permuth. Prensa Libre's online version does not carry the advertisement so without her, we would not have seen this. As always, my apologies for any errors in the translation.

I have only one question, not being of the Jewish faith myself, but the third paragraph of CJG's statement leaves me puzzled. I am clueless as to which of Lev Tahor's practices are not accepted within Judaism and would appreciate elucidation from a True Torah Jew who is impartial.

Salvador Litvak's Facebook posts on the topic:

Original Post

¡Racismo al revés! By Diego Albúrez/Asociación Tik Naoj/ Opinión/ | Brújula | 16/06/2014.

El doble estándar moral del racismo. Por Edgar Ortiz R. | Nullius in Verba | May 26, 2014.

Comunidad judía de Guatemala: “no hubo ninguna expulsión de judíos del pueblo San Juan la Laguna”. El Portal Judio de Chile.

The Toiras Jesed Guatemala Facebook page.

Lev Tahor: Coming in from the Cold.

The most recent tweeting of news [unconfirmed by the community] that more members of Lev Tahor have been moving to Guatemala, and the assumption [also unconfirmed by the community] that they intend to migrate to that country, was begun on May 6th by Julian Sher, Senior Producer of CBC TV's The Fifth Estate,

and continued by Abraham Feld.

"Someone," according to Abraham, "told the locals"?

I did not wish to jump to any conclusions about whether the situation being described was wishful thinking or the result of more mischief being accomplished, so I imagined instead that that "someone" was simply another local who had read one version of the story coming from abroad and had shared his concerns with his community. However on May 11, Prensa Libre, Guatemala, published an article which I have translated below, which threw some light on the situation. From the readers' comments, you will see that the article provoked prompt debate and criticism. Despite its deficiencies, I was glad to finally see some commentary from Guatemala. Perhaps the main search engines have their limitations but before this article, I had not seen any significant coverage of the Lev Tahor story coming out of Guatemala or Latin America.

The article below discusses members of two Haredi groups, including Lev Tahor, which have been arriving in Guatemala. The writer seems to be conflating the two groups - Lev Tahor and Toiras Jesed, so I cannot be certain if the observations being made by the locals are about both groups or one.  Despite this confusion, the article is useful to explain some of the concerns of their hosts. We learn that after some initial upset with the Toiras Jesed group, there has been consultation with the community councils and reconciliation was achieved.

Several weeks ago, the residents of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, were surprised by the presence of a community of nearly a hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews who have settled in this population.
By René Sáenz | Prensa Libre | 11/05/14

The all-black clothing and lack of knowledge of the customs of these people caused from puzzlement to distrust.

The villagers were even more scandalized when several men bathed fully naked in the lake, as part of a religious ritual. Paradoxically, they claim that they do not practice proper hygiene habits and that each family has at least 10 children. They do not speak with anyone, and if someone tries to address them, they are sullen.

Seven years

The group is called Toiras Jesed, and according to Jose Misael Santos, President of the community, they have about six years residence in the municipality, but a year ago, migration of members from Israel, United States, Russia, England and Bulgaria increased, which made them more visible.

They currently reside in seven homes which they rent, and are looking for four more, to avoid overcrowding. They have temporary permission from Immigration to stay in the country.


Complaints from neighbours about the behaviour of the Jews led to the matter being addressed last April 29 at the meeting of community councils.

There was reconciliation between the foreigners and the villagers. Salvador Loarca, assistant of the Human Rights office, reported that the religious group committed itself to be respectful of the laws and regulations of the municipality.

"So far no violation of Guatemalan laws had been committed," said Loarca.

They are seeking refuge.

Santos explained that they chose San Juan La Laguna for being a peaceful place, since they try to live in harmony.

"However, in recent days we have been subjected to insults and racial and religious discrimination," he said.

When asked, the parish priest of San Juan La Laguna, Angel Mario Roquel, said that yes, he has seen those called Orthodox Jews, but did not know if there is any discomfort, and respects their tradition.

For his part, Adán Vásquez, pastor of the Central American evangelical church Bethel, expressed concern, although he has not spoken to them. "They come to confuse the population, because they are deviating from the true concept of God," he said.

Who are they

Toiras Jesed Guatemala is part of an organization with a presence throughout the American continent, directed by Rabbi Avraham Goldstein. They are communities formed by Jews and converts. Their customs are often surprising. For example, the mikvah, which is the immersion of the naked body in the water, a very old custom of the Jewish people for the purification of the spirit, generates suspicion.

As well, they correct their children with the rod, which in some countries has earned them accusations of child abuse.

International Case

A similar group, Lev Tahor, is being investigated in Canada because an Ontario court received complaints of child abuse. The court ruled that the government should take custody of 14 minors in early March, so many children and adults left Canadian territory.

Fernando Lucero, spokesman for the Department of Immigration in Guatemala , recently confirmed that the family of ********* and their six children, entered the country on March 4.

Due to the alert issued by the Government of Canada, Judge Leon Mariela Nicté de León Regil cited them, but left them free for not having concrete evidence in the case and no existing international arrest warrant. Those involved will have to present themselves next Monday to the court of Sololá.

The members of the Jewish community Toiras Hesed come from several countries. In the case of a family which came from Canada, they were part of another group, Lev Tahor, who left that country because of a court order taking custody of the children to place them in temporary foster care due to allegations of suspected child abuse.

The office of child protection in Canada notes that children are corrected with lashes, married when minors and their education is poor, since they do not attend school. Before the legal deadline, more families fled from Canada to other countries.

In San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, complaints range from the bad mood of the members of the religious group, the complaining in stores about the prices of products to poor hygiene. Nicolás Cholotío, Civil Society, said that the San Juan community fears losing their identity. SOURCE

If you are interested in reactions from readers, the comments are worth reading. I will try to provide translations, maybe. But what I found really refreshing was how the author was immediately called out and asked to account for some of the details which had been presented. I got the impression of an audience that is not as unquestioning as some others have been on related matters.
In the bigger picture and beyond Nicolás Cholotío's intriguing comment that the San Juan community fears losing their identity or the obvious turf guarding posture of the evangelical pastor,  there may be other more complex concerns arising out of the country's history, that could cause ordinary Guatemalans to fear or resent foreigners. As this article explains, part of Guatemalans' suspicion "reflects the deep insecurity felt throughout this country after years of a civil war in which more than 100,000 people have been killed, an estimated 40,000 disappeared..." and then perhaps there could be heightened suspicion of foreigners associated with the USA and Israel - two countries which were both involved in Guatemala's civil war which lasted from 1960 to 1996. 

Then there is that other related factor of lack of accountability. "Edgar Gutiérrez, a former foreign minister, has called post-conflict Guatemala a "kingdom of impunity". [9] Two truth commissions examined human rights abuses committed during the civil war and discovered unequivocal evidence that the government had perpetrated genocide against the Mayan people. Nevertheless, efforts to hold the perpetrators accountable have faced many obstacles. All too often, those who have attempted to unmask the perpetrators of atrocities have themselves become targets." SOURCE  As recently as May 2013, Guatemala's top court overturned the genocide conviction of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, ordering that the trial be taken back to the middle of proceedings. "That ruling threw into disarray a process that had been hailed as historic for delivering the first guilty verdict for genocide against a former Latin American leader." SOURCE  Perhaps that could explain why in certain matters which directly impact on their lives, ordinary Guatemalans may decide to take matters of "justice" into their own hands.

In the past, Guatemala has been the scene of spates of attacks against locals and foreigners whenever they have been suspected of harming children. In one instance, many years ago, it was alleged that rumours were deliberately being spread that local children were being stolen and killed by foreigners for organ transplants in order to destabilize the administration of President Ramiro de Leon Carpio. In 2009, the U.S. Department of State had issued this advisory on the situation in Guatemala. [Archived by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine] Dedicated mischief makers could  manipulate the anxiety of locals and their natural desire to protect their children. While I admire Guatemalans for their protectiveness, vigilantism can lead to tragic outcomes that hopefully not even Lev Tahor's detractors would wish upon anyone.

Back in Canada, no journalist/sleuth has been dispatched to Guatemala and the mainstream media have been simply echoing the details of a report being shared by the brother of a female Lev Tahor member. His sister is a married woman with eight children of her own and he has admitted that he had visited her in Guatemala to try to convince her to leave Lev Tahor. An Israeli blogger first carried his report:

The next day it was relayed in Canada in the May 9th article by Jason Magder, Montreal Gazette: Lev Tahor members migrating to Guatemala, family member says. and on May 10th it was quoted by the National Post: Dozens of members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect have left Canada and are living in a shack in Guatemala. Since then, this has been the only source of information being referred to, and it seems that the news sources in Canada and Israel are happy to continue reporting that it's turtles all the way down.

As regards Lev Tahor's plans to migrate to Guatemala, it is obvious that even if that is what they are considering, and there has been no confirmation, this is a community that will not voluntarily move anywhere without their children. Unless I have missed the report of any change, their children continue to be detained in Canada because of the court orders obtained by Quebec that prevents them from obtaining passports and crossing international borders. In addition, the Ontario courts have thus far been proceeding in a manner that in my opinion should be more conducive to their believing that a humane resolution can be achieved, so I do not understand this rush to relocate them before they have expressed any intention to do so.  If Lev Tahor should decide to migrate to Guatemala, even if only as a temporary stop, the success of their integration there will depend on their finding common ground with the community within which they find themselves. Guatemalans, like Lev Tahor, and like all harried people who have experienced the shocking fragility of the concepts of home and homeland, cannot be blamed because their trust is hard to win, if in the past it has been betrayed in the most horrific ways.

Update: On Tuesday 13 May, 2014: 
"Guatemala's Congress approved a non-binding resolution that denies there was any attempt to commit genocide during the bloody 36-year civil war, while calling for "national reconciliation" in the Central American country.

"It is legally impossible ... that genocide could have occurred in our country's territory during the armed conflict," said the resolution, which passed late Tuesday with support from 87 of the 158 legislators.

The resolution was proposed by Luis Fernando Perez, a legislator for the party founded by former dictator Efrain Rios Montt. Rios Montt was convicted of genocide for crimes during his 1982-83 rule, but a court later annulled the 80-year sentence for the massacre of thousands of Mayans and ordered his trial re-started.

The vote apparently will have no effect on the trial, which is scheduled to begin again in January.

Groups representing Guatemala's Indians, the principal victims among the estimated 250,000 people killed during the 1960-96 civil war between a U.S.-supported government and leftist movements, have said the annulment of the Rios Montt verdict was a denial of justice.

Opposition congressman Leonel Lira criticized the resolution, saying such efforts "create more divisions in Guatemalan society."

"This shows that they aren't really looking for reconciliation, but rather there's an ideological point they're trying to make," Lira said.

Relatives and representatives of the army's victims during the civil war called lawmakers' decision racist and offensive.

Diego Rivera, leader of the Movement of Victims in Northern Quiche, said the decision affects the victims that are still fighting for justice.

"It can't be denied that there was genocide, our proof is the more than 1,771 human remains," Rivera said. "No one can hide there were several massacres. That's a racist attitude."