Saturday, February 07, 2009

More on Venezuela

The Associated Press reports that Venezuela's Jews fear more attacks.
About 15 people overpowered two security guards at the Tiferet Israel Synagogue, shattering religious objects and spray-painting "Jews, get out" on the walls. Most worrisome, according to Elias Farache, president of the Venezuelan-Israelite Association, was their theft of a computer database containing many names and addresses of Jews in Venezuela.

Police are now posted outside the synagogue, and prosecutors said Friday that the security guards "could be involved." Venezuela's attorney general ordered them to court on Feb. 13 — two days before Venezuelans vote in a referendum that could enable Chavez to extend his rule indefinitely.

One week before the invasion, a Chavista columnist named Emilio Silva posted a call to action on Aporrea, a pro-government Web site, describing Jews as "squalid" — a term Chavez often uses to describe his opponents as weak — and exhorting Venezuelans to confront them as anti-government conspirators. "Publicly challenge every Jew that you find in the street, shopping center or park," he wrote, "shouting slogans in favor of Palestine and against that abortion: Israel." Silva called for protests at the synagogue, a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses, seizures of Jewish-owned property, the closure of Jewish schools and a nationwide effort "to denounce publicly, with names and last names the members of powerful Jewish groups present in Venezuela."

Aporrea later replaced the column with an apology that describes Silva's posting as anti-Semitic and exhorts Chavistas to show more discipline by criticizing the Israeli government rather than its people or Jews in general.

Silva, a 35-year-old mathematics professor at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, got the message. He told The Associated Press Friday that he couldn't comment on the "controversial subject," and that his "position is to condemn any act that goes against the integrity of any faith or conviction."

But other anti-Semitic writings by Silva remained on the site Friday, including one posted on Jan. 19, a week before the synagogue attack. That posting also crudely criticized a Venezuelan archbishop for failing to condemn Israel's Gaza offensive; offices of the Vatican have been tear gassed twice since then....

Hate crimes have escalated despite Chavez's declaration that his government "rejects any type of aggression against any temple, be it Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or any other." And the attorney general's statement Friday gave no details about any progress investigating a list of more than a dozen threats against Jews that the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations gave her office a week before the synagogue attack.

The group said one threat involved a rabbi who was leaving a Jewish school in Caracas when two men, one wielding a broken bottle, shouted: "Jew, we are coming for you!" A nearby taxi driver offered refuge and sped him away.

Other Jews have stopped wearing yarmulkes while walking to temple on Friday evenings. Simon Galante said he and his brother now fear for their safety after being accosted by men on motorcycles yelling "Murderers!"

"Thank God, nothing more occurred ... we continued walking and ignored the comments, but it's very sad," said Galante, who joined a demonstration against the attacks this week.

Feb. 5: Heidy Gordon, 85, left, and her husband Andres Gordon, 88, survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp, attend a protest against anti-Semitism.

Some more information from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

After five days, with eyewitnesses and video evidence, there is increasing criticism of the government for not identifying the perpetrators of the attack. "A source close to the investigation in the government security services confirmed to the Latin American Herald Tribune that a group of Palestinian and Arab supporters in Venezuela were responsible." Chavez is blaming the opposition for the attack - despite the fact that the opposition would have no reason to attack a synagogue.

Supporters of Chavez have continued this theme and have even blamed the Mossad: "Susana Kalil, a member of the Organization for the Relief of the Palestinian People, pointed the finger at Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. She claimed that Mossad had done it in order to damage the image of Chavez' revolutionary process. She went on to claim that the attack on the Jewish house of worship is typical of Mossad and the Zionist movement worldwide, 'putting bombs in their own synagogues and then accusing the rest of anti-Semitism.'"

Since 2005, Chavez has started a campaign against Jews in Venezuela by saying, "The world is for all of us, then, but it so happens that a minority, the descendants of the same ones that crucified Christ, the descendants of the same ones that kicked Bolivar out of here and also crucified him in their own way over there in Santa Marta, in Colombia. A minority has taken possession all of the wealth of the world, a minority has taken ownership of all of the gold of the planet, of the silver, of the minerals, the waters, the good lands, oil, of the wealth then and have concentrated the wealth in a few hands." This statement of course includes classic anti-semitic tropes - Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus and are trying to take over the world.

The article goes on to say: "Since then he has twice raided Jewish schools and community centers - always close to or on the eve of a visit by the Iranian President - in a continuing campaign that analysts trace back to one of his mentors, the un-repentant anti-semite and Holocaust-denier Norberto Ceresole."

On Ceresole, from the ADL:
Norberto Rafael Ceresole, who died in 2003, was an Argentine sociologist and political scientist, who identified with Peronism and left-wing militias. He was labeled throughout his life as neo-fascist and anti-Semitic because of his Holocaust denial and hatred of Zionism and Israel.

Cresole was one of Chaez's mentors. He came to Venezuela in 1994 at the same time Chavez was being pardoned by President Caldera for his 1992 coup attempt. Cresole was exiled from Venezuela in 1995 by Caldera for his alleged ties with Islamic terrorists, but he returned in 1998 after Chavez's victory and wrote a book entitled, "Caudillo, Ejercito, Pueblo" (Leader, Army, People) about the Chavez revolution. The introductory chapter is titled, "The Jewish question and the State of Israel" and it blames Israel and the world Jewish community for his exile.

Ceresole claimed that Jews use the "myth" of the Holocaust to control the world, although he contended he wasn't an anti-Semite. He repeatedly stated that he has nothing against Jews, but that rather he was against the State of Israel for using the Holocaust for political gain.

No comments:

Post a Comment