Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How Venezuelan Jews Have Been Treated

Nadene Goldfoot
It's well known that Venezuela and Iran have been good friends and have been castigating Israel.  Not all has gone well for the Jews of Venezuela, either.  For  more than the past 10 years Jews there have been afraid as they have been living under the whims of an unstable president who used his "bully pulpit" to attack Israel.  Venezuela voted in favor of the establishment of a Jewish state, and the diplomatic ties between the countries had been close since that time until Chavez took office.

1600's    Marranos (Spanish and Portuguese) former Jews escaping Spanish Inquisition arrived and settled.  
1999 President Hugo Chavez was elected.  About 22,000  Jews living there.
2004:  Police raid of a Caracas Jewish school, supposedly searching for evidence in murder case of a prosecutor.
May 2004  During 2nd Intifada, government sponsored rallies in support of Palestinians, Sephardic Tiferet Israel Synagogue in Caracas was attacked.
November 2004:  Security forces carried out armed raid on Jewish school in Caracas.
2006:  Chavez called George W. Bush a devil in speech at UN.Linked Israel and USA terrorist policies.
2006:  During Lebanon War, accused Israel of starting a new holocaust, using Nazi-like methods to kill                                                                                               Lebanese and Palestinians.
          Got cozy with Iran and Ahmadinejad, increased trade, visits.
2008 Chavez demanded Jews rebuke Israel for its conduct in Gaza.
         Chavez's warm alliance with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
         Use of state radio to spread anti-Semitic propaganda.
2008-09  Chavez severed diplomatic ties with Israel, expelled ambassador, accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians.
         Insisted Jews in Venezuela rebuke Israel for actions.
2012 SEBIN, Venezuela Intelligent Service,  spying on Jewish community.
        Chavez attacked Capriles, grandson of Holocaust survivors, identifies as Catholic today, with anti-Semitic attacks.  Called him "Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie".  Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, is a practicing Catholic, but his grandparents were European Jews who escaped Nazism, and his great grandparents were murdered at Treblinka..
        Chavez equated the Jewish Star of David with the swastika.
        Broadcasters on state radio recommended reading "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"
        Jewish institutions and houses of worship "synagogues" were attacked.
        People were being taught to hate Jews and Israel.
        Chavez wanted to spy on Jews so had round-the clock police "protection" at Caracas synagogue that had been attacked.
2013  Less than 10,000 Jews living in Venezuela.  Jews had immigrated to Israel, or to USA and Columbia.

Chavez just passed away at age 58 from cancer and now there is a chance for the country to change, but the country is  mired in  violent crime and in economic turmoil.  Iranian presence has grown and Western security experts think that they have provided Iran with a base for illicit activities including arms trading.  It's doubted if many Jews will be returning.  "All eyes are now on Chavez’s designated successor Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who has has copied his mentor’s hectoring style, grand historical references and vitriolic attacks on “treacherous” opponents."


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