Claudia Sheinbaum Made History – Mexico’s First Female President and Palestine

Mexican President Claudia Sheinbaum. (Photo: Secretaria de Cultura Ciudad de México, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Robert Inlakesh

Claudia Sheinbaum just made history by becoming the first female President of Mexico, however, there has been some confusion about the socialist politician’s foreign policy stances, specifically on the question of Palestine.

Popularly known by her nickname ‘la Doctora’, Claudia Sheinbaum, won around 60 percent of the Mexican vote, claiming victory in a landslide and also making history for becoming both the first Jewish and female President of Mexico, in a majority catholic country. 

However, she also became the Head of Government of Mexico City, one of the most populous cities in the world, back in 2018 and also became the first Jewish woman to achieve that position. 

Known for her academic background, having achieved a PhD in energy engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she is an outspoken environmentalist who has specifically focused on the issue of climate change throughout her career. 

While being an academic she has authored/co-authored over 100 articles and two books on environment, energy, and sustainable development. Sheinbaum was also part of a United Nations panel of climate scientists who received the Nobel Peace Prize award.

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Morena Party

Claudia Sheinbaum is well known for her left-wing stances on the environment and social issues, being an outspoken supporter of people from the LGBTQ community in Mexico. 

However, her personal views on various foreign policy issues are relatively unknown, making her a relative wildcard in the eyes of some, but to others the assumption is that she will stick to her domestically rooted politics and adhere to party policy on international relations.

Sheinbaum’s party, Morena, an acronym for the ‘Movimiento Regeneración Nacional’ (National Regeneration Movement), is the largest left-wing political party in Mexico, often described as being anti-neoliberal and populist in nature. 

Morena prides itself on supporting ethnic, religious, cultural, and sexual diversity, human rights and environmental issues. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also of the Morena party, has been a longtime ally of Claudia Sheinbaum and his social welfare programs are said to have greatly contributed to electing Sheinbaum as his successor.

On the issue of Palestine, President Obrador labeled Israel’s war on Gaza a genocide and even joined South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

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Yet, the Mexican President has delayed full recognition of the State of Palestine and is yet to cut off ties with the Israeli regime, despite comparing Israel’s actions with those of the Nazis and floating the idea of severing diplomatic ties.

As for Claudia Sheinbaum, she has been recorded as a supporter of the so-called Two State Solution, which is the standard for politicians across the world and doesn’t really indicate where she stands on the issue. 

While some of her supporters have pointed to her criticism of Israel’s attack on Gaza back in 2014, in addition to photos in which she appears to be wearing a Kuffiyeh (Palestinian scarf).

There is a contingent of individuals who argue that her Jewish heritage is an indication of a pro-Israeli stance when combined with a lack of clarity on the issue. This notion of linking Jewish identity to Zionism is, however, not sufficient in determining her stance and in some cases is rooted in bigotry.

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Silent on Genocide

What we do know about Claudia Sheinbaum is that she had held many meetings with the Comunidad Judía de México (CCCJM), a Zionist Lobby group, which has led to criticism of her. 

She also condemned the October 7 Hamas operation against Israel, while remaining publicly silent on the ongoing genocide and hasn’t mentioned the word Gaza on social media since the beginning of the war. 

Also, pro-Palestinian activists in Mexico have referenced her handling of an incident in 2019, when she headed the Government of Mexico City, during which she was reported to have sided with the Israeli Embassy against protesters.

In May 2019, the Israeli Embassy in Mexico City held an event celebrating the 71st anniversary of the creation of their regime on Palestinian land, where they displayed photos of Palestinian territory that is considered illegally occupied under international law. 

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This led to a massive reaction from over 40 unions, organizations and diplomatic missions, resulting in Mexico City formally asking the embassy to take down some 12 photos. 

However, a statement from the Israeli Embassy at the time read as follows:

“We feel optimistic about the promise that the Head of Government of Mexico City, Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum, made to Ambassador Jonathan Peled, in a meeting they held last Monday, May 27, to not allow this city to fall on the agenda of these hate groups and continue working to maintain friendship, cultural and technological cooperation for the benefit of the capital’s population. The Embassy of Israel will continue working to share culture with all of Mexico and support its development.”

It is unclear as to how accurately this statement represented Claudia Sheinbaum’s actual stance, yet she did not come out to dispute this account. 

Having said this, coming from a political party whose stance on the ongoing Gaza-Israel war has been highly critical of the Israeli government, many Mexican analysts believe that Sheinbaum will likely continue to maintain a similar stance and not deviate from it too heavily, while also not being very forceful on the issue in general.

As are most Mexican Jews, who are a small minority community in the country, Sheinbaum is secular in her outlook and is only said to celebrate major holidays of the religion. 

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Notably, her father was formerly said to be associated with the Communist movement in Mexico and it is fair to say she is socially liberal in her outlook. 

At this point, it is not exactly clear as to whether she will be regarded as a pro-Palestinian, pro-Israeli, or “neutral”, Mexican President on the question of Palestine.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He focuses on the Middle East, specializing in Palestine. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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  1. I bet Mexico regrets putting this politician in office. Any politician that has ties to the “tribe” political groups will not represent their constituents. That’s just the way it is.

    Look what happened to Washington.

  2. Extremely unfortunate that this woman was allowed to ascend within Moreno. She is very dodgy, has a lot of ties to not just the regular zionist organizations but corrupt developers. Alfredo Jalife-Rahme, one of the founders of Moreno and a constant critic of zionist attacks on Mexican democracy has been a constant critic of her.

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