Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hugo Chavez the Anti-Semite

Some folks may have come across accusations that Chavez recently made anti-Jewish remarks. The media advisory ["Editing Chavez to Manufacture a Slur," FAIR, 1/23/06] put out by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is the most thorough refutation I've seen. The role of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in initiating the whole affair is interesting. Rather than consult with the Jewish communities of Venezuela for their interpretations of the remark, the Center issued its bulletin without conveying the slightest doubt of the anti-Semitic character of the comment.

The Center goes so far as to "call on governments of Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as on the Presidency of MERCOSUR (South American Common Market), to freeze the process of incorporation of Venezuela to this bloc until Chavez makes a public apology for his antisemitic statements."

In actuality, Chavez's comments plainly refer to the minority of the opulent (the unedited passage makes this clear enough, and in the context of Chavez's well known leftism and the absence of any anti-semitic past, crystalline). The history of the unethical activities of the Center is explored at length in Norman Finkelstein's revealing book, The Holocaust Industry.


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