[H/t to A.L. for these two articles. I meant to post something on the Chavez piece last week and then my man hits me with this other rant written by The Bearded One going on about “Zionist control.” Slow down, A.L. You’re making the rest of us look old…]
Venezuelan government officers recently raided the Hebraica Jewish community center in Caracas resulting in widespread condemnation from Jewish community. Ostensibly on a hunt for weapons and evidence of “subversive activity,” government officials previously raided the community center in December of 2007 and tensions have remained high ever since.
The Forward’s Marc Perelman reports:
The December operation took place on the night preceding a crucial referendum on proposed constitutional reform that would have granted Chavez broad powers and the possibility to run indefinitely. The reform was rejected by a thin margin.
“It seems that the only interpretation is that this was an intimidation by the government,” Abraham Levy Benshimol, president of CAIV [Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela,–e.d.], told the Forward.
Venezuela’s Jewish community numbered about 16,000 until Chavez was elected in 1998, and has since declined to around 12,000. The community comprises émigrés who began arriving in the mid-19th century from both North Africa and Eastern Europe, with the majority arriving during and after World War II. Evenly made up of Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews, the community has thrived in the oil-rich country. Benshimol said that it has maintained “good relations with the Venezuelan government since the end of military dictatorship in 1958.”
CAIV’s president also said that the ties continued when Chavez came to power and initially met with CAIV leaders. What has happened since then is a long and complicated story of domestic and international power politics.
One of the first points of tension was the April 2002 coup attempt against Chavez. Michael Penfold-Becerra, a political scientist at Caracas’s institute of superior administrative studies, said that among some government officials, suspicions against Jews were fueled by the alleged support of prominent rabbi Pinchas Brenner for the authors of the short-lived coup, as well as by the perception that Israelis and Jews were active in the arms business.
The first raid, in 2004, heightened the tensions, especially since it took place early in the day when hundreds of children were on their way to school.
The tensions escalated again during the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, when Chavez accused Israelis of behaving like Nazis…
Through it all, Benshimol and others have stressed that there has been no instance of physical violence against Jews in the country. And they have, on occasion, defended Chavez against accusations of antisemitism aired by such American Jewish groups as the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
But the atmosphere has worsened lately, first and foremost because of Chavez’s increasingly inflammatory talk about Israel and its supporters. A television program called “The Razor,” broadcast on a state-owned channel, has featured lengthy rants about the presence of Mossad agents allegedly in the country working to unseat the Chavez regime with the support of the United States and opposition forces in Venezuela. The host of the show has also questioned the loyalty of leading Jewish figures to their home country. Despite repeated complaints by CAIV, the authorities have taken no action.
[read the entire article]
Regarding the International Zionist Conspiracy™, Fidel Castro aka The Bearded One had this to say:
In 1917, by the Balfour Declaration, the British decided to create the State of Israel within its colonial empire, located on territory inhabited by the Palestinians who had a different religion and culture; in that part of the world, other ethnic groups coexisted for many centuries before our era, among them the Jews. Zionism became popular among the Americans, who rightly detested the Nazis, and whose financial markets were controlled by representatives of that movement. That state today is practicing the principles of apartheid; it has sophisticated nuclear weapons and it controls the most important financial centers in the United States.