As Donald Trump traveled to Mexico Wednesday to meet with the nation’s president, the country’s small Jewish community is keeping a wary eye on the U.S. presidential hopeful.
“We are looking forward to seeing what results his visit will have,” said Marcos Metta, president of the Alianza de Monte Sinai, a Mexico City Jewish organization, which has no official position on Trump. “We are very much concerned about the possibility of [Trump] winning the elections.”
Like many in Mexico, the country’s Jews are troubled by Trump’s rise. “We are very much in the same line as the vast majority of the Mexicans, and we see … him as a threat to the wellbeing of the relationship between Mexico and the U.S,” said Metta.
One Mexico City museum with close Jewish ties, the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, which promotes tolerance, nonviolence, and human rights, posted an image on on Facebook telling Trump that, “For you, it’s free” to visit the Museum.
Mexico’s main Jewish organization, the Comité Central de la Comunidad Judía en México, declined to comment on Trump’s visit when contacted by the Forward.
Amid Trump’s rhetoric against Mexicans in the United States and the country at large, Mexican officials have sought to strengthen ties with the U.S. Jewish community to help protect the interests of Mexicans living there. Fusion reported in June on Mexican diplomats, business leaders and advocates meeting with the American Jewish Committee for advice on how to organize and promote their interests in the United States.
And in July, Mexican secretary of foreign affairs Claudia Ruiz Massieu delivered a keynote at the AJC’s Global Forum in which she compared the plight of Mexicans in the United States to that of Jews in Europe in the beginning of the 20th Century.
“Today in the 21st century, here in the United States, a climate of intolerance is sending a similar message: ‘Mexicans, go home,’” Massieu said.. “No different than American Jews from all walks of life, Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants are those who plow the land and make sure there is food on our tables.”
Trump traveled to Mexico on the invitation of the country’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto. The visit comes amid a campaign characterized by Trump’s strident anti-immigrant rhetoric, and a promise to somehow force Mexico to pay for a U.S. border wall. Trump is exceedingly unpopular in Mexico, and news of the visit drew angry commentary in the Mexican media.
The Washington Post reported that Mexican officials and diplomats had been unaware of the invitation, and said that many have speculated that Peña Nieto did not actually expect Trump to accept his invitation.
The Mexican president had also extended an invitation to the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. It’s not yet clear whether she will accept.
Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.