Verbal, written attacks in Venezuelan media include hints that Jews are damaging the country’s economy, along the lines of the ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’
By Shlomo Papirblat
COSTA RICA – The increasingly anti-Semitic commentary in Venezuela’s state-sponsored media in recent days prompted the heads of the country’s Jewish community to request an urgent meeting with President Hugo Chavez last week. The presidential palace responded that their request would be granted.
The verbal and written attacks have included hints that the Jews are damaging the country’s economy and are following the notorious anti-Semitic fabrication “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” It is likely related to the rising tensions ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, which are set for later this month.
“This anti-Semitism is troubling us all and it needs to cease immediately,” said David Bittan Obadia, deputy chairman of the Jewish community of Venezuela Friday. “We are not saying this is the government policy; however, [the government] is capable of putting a stop to the phenomenon. It has the tools. We will be very direct and adamant in the things we will tell President Chavez.”
Bittan Obadia said the attacks had come from the media, but the community’s real concern was that the phenomenon would spread.
He said the president’s staff had promised a meeting with Chavez in about 10 days.
A member of Caracas’ Jewish community told Haaretz yesterday, “Chavez and his supporters will not give up power, irrespective of the election result, and many members of our community are concerned that if there are disturbances, we will be targeted. When there is anarchy, there are always people who use it to attack Jews.”
She added, “When the mood intensifies, like during the current election campaign, there are politicians who immediately bring out the incitement against the Jews. Is this by order of the president? I don’t know, but the president sees and hears everything in the government-controlled area. Many Jewish families in my area have left or are leaving.”