I rappresentanti della comunità ebraica venezuelana e diverse tra le maggiori associazioni ebraiche americane hanno fortemente condannato il Centro Simon Wiesenthal per aver emesso un giudizio avventato e non veritiero accusando il presidente del Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, di antisemitismo. di seguito il documento in inglese che chiude la polemica.
Once again, Venezuela’s leading Jewish organization has strongly condemned remarks from groups outside Venezuela accusing the government of anti-Semitism. In a letter sent by the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela (CAIV) today, Venezuelan Jewish leaders state that the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center had misinterpreted remarks made by President Chavez, and demanded that the Center consult with them before commenting on Venezuelan issues. The condemnation of the Wiesenthal Center was also backed by two leading U.S. Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress.
WHAT THE WIESNTHAL CENTER SAID
Last week, the Wiesenthal Center published an action alert criticizing comments made by President Chavez in a Christmas Eve speech, where the president discussed what he called the “revolutionary nature” of Jesus Christ. Chavez said that Jesus spoke out on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, and was assassinated for his work. Today, said Chavez, those who speak for the poor continue to be targeted by “some minorities, the descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ, the descendants of the same ones who threw out Bolivar from here and also crucified him in a way in Santa Marta.”
But in their action alert, The Wiesenthal Center omitted the reference to Simon Bolivar, making it appear as if Chavez was making an ugly reference to Jews as “Christ-killers.” The Center called on the governments of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil to block Venezuela’s admission into the regional trade bloc Mercusur until an apology was issued.
Read the Simon Wiesenthal Center alert:
“ISSUES YOU DON’T KNOW OR UNDERSTAND”
By rushing to label the Venezuelan government as anti-Semitic, CAIV wrote, the Wiesenthal Center has “interfered in the political status, in the security, and in the well-being of our community. You have acted on your own, without consulting us, on issues that you don’t know or understand.”
An article published today in the Jewish weekly newspaper, Forward, quotes other U.S.-based Jewish organizations defending President Chavez’s remarks. ” ‘It appears to us that Chavez did not intentionally speak about Jews,’ said David Twersky, director of the AJ Congress’s Council on World Jewry. “I don’t think we should raise the flag of antisemitism when it doesn’t belong.’ ”
The Forward article states that the Wiesenthal Center may be voicing “the Bush administration’s displeasure with Chavez’s anti-American pronouncements,” rather than the views of Venezuelan Jews.
Read the article in Forward: http://www.forward.com/articles/7189
This is not the first time Venezuelan Jewish leaders have had to defend their government from accusations from outside the country. Just two month ago, CAIV was forced to comment on a statement by a Brazilian Rabbi that Venezuelan Jews were victims of an anti-Semitic government. The Venezuelan group responded with a statement that “there is no anti-Semitism, nor have there been any attacks on the Jewish community by the State” in Venezuela, and noted their “surprise” that the Brazilian “had never asked the Venezuelan Jewish community whether or not it had been victimized or persecuted.”
A NOTE FROM THE EDITORS:
We would like to thank the many readers who have written the VIO concerned that they had not received Venezuela News & Action for the past two weeks. We had taken a holiday break the week before New Years, and last week an office move had shut down our internet connection.
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