>Kristallnacht in Venezuela?
>By Kathy Shaidle
>FrontPageMagazine.com | 1/15/2009
>Less than a month ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez joined his
>Argentinean and Brazilian counterparts to sign the "2008 Declaration
>Against Anti-Semitism", under which the three countries agreed to "condemn
>racism, religious intolerance, racial discrimination and related
>However, it wasn't long before the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the
>Anti-Defamation League were obliged to issue another round of their
>regular condemnations of Chavez, this time for comparing Israel's
>counteroffensive against Hams to the Holocaust, and for expelling Israeli
>ambassador Shlomo Cohen shortly after that military offensive began
>earlier this month.
>Approximately one thousand protestors in Caracas celebrated Cohen's
>expulsion by spray painting graffiti on the Israeli consulate, smashed
>windows and throwing shoes and firecrackers at the building.
>Aimee Kligman, who covers foreign policy for Examiner.com, reported that
>protesters "proceeded to stamp and burn the Israeli flag" - a gesture
>"unheard of until now" on the streets of Caracas.
>Kligman also warned that a "mini-Kristallnact" might be in the works.
>"Sources which cannot be revealed because safety is a factor," she wrote
>on January 8, "have confirmed that attacks are expected on Jewish
>businesses, schools [and] community centers."
>Sure enough, the next day Pynchas Breneer, the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of
>Venezuela, told The Jerusalem Post that Chavez had recently expropriated a
>Jewish owned shopping mall, and that Jewish schools in the capital would
>be closed "for a few days."
>The Chavez government has targeted Jewish schools before, most notoriously
>in 2004, when rumors of Mossad involvement in the assassination of a
>Venezuelan official prompted a fruitless raid on a Jewish grade school in
>search of "electronic equipment, arms" and other evidence connected with
>At the time, the Stephen Roth Institute for The Study of Contemporary
>Anti-Semitism and Racism decried the raid as "a way of threatening the
>Jewish community" at a time when "Chavez was visiting Iran for discussions
>on oil, an interest common to both these anti-American states."
>Three years later, the Venezuelan secret police conducted another
>unsuccessful search for weapons, this time at the Hebraic Social, Cultural
>and Sports Center, the most important gathering place for the country's
>ever shrinking Jewish community. (The Latin American Jewish Congress
>estimates that Venezuela's Jewish community has gone from an estimated
>22,000 when Chavez was elected in 1999, to between 12,000 and 13,000 in
>No wonder, since Chavez has made numerous anti-Semitic public statements
>over the years, such as cautioning his opponents not to "be poisoned by
>wandering Jews" and calling the world's wealthy "the descendants of the
>same ones that crucified Christ."
>Last weekend, the Venezuelan President issued statements condemning Israel
>and the United States, addressed to both Palestinians and to Israeli
>anti-war activists on the left and the right.
>"We are not united by one nationality," said Chavez last Saturday,
>"Rather, what unites us is blood -- the blood shed in Gaza is the blood of
>humanity. Venezuela kisses each and every one of you and stresses that it
>supports the Palestinian people and all those who suffer from the
>Then Venezuela sent a cargo plane to the Gaza Strip by way of Cairo,
>reportedly loaded with tons of medical supplies "and other materials." In
>a radio address, Chavez called Israel "the murder arm of the United
>States" and accused it of "waging a Holocaust against the Palestinian
>people" and promised another "humanitarian shipment" would be on its way
>to Gaza next week.
>Meanwhile, reports Aimee Kligman, those three Latin American signators of
>that "2008 Declaration of Anti-Semitism" are scheduled to meet again on
>January 19. However, Kligman says it would be "naive" to expect the
>leaders of Brazil and Argentina to chastise Chavez for breaching so
>quickly the agreement they'd all just signed.
>"What is even more ironic," writes Kligman, "is that the home page of the
>World Jewish Congress [WJC] touts a headline that demonstrates they are
>not keeping current with events. It reads: 'WJC welcomes clear commitment
>by Latin American leaders.' Someone get an alarm clock please."
>For years, Chavez has felt free to flout world opinion and his own signed
>agreements when it comes to anti-Semitism and other issues, Kligman
>believes, because "U.S. foreign policy, as dictated by Bush," is to avoid
>"engaging with our enemies."
>Kligman adds, "Surely, this is not a policy that should be perpetuated by
>the Obama leadership."
>Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new book exposing abuses by Canada's Human Rights Commissions, The Tyranny of Nice, includes an introduction by Mark Steyn.
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