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Venezuelan synagogue attacked as relations worsen
There seems to be some rather nasty anti-semitism rearing its head over in Venezuela, as presided over by Ken Livingstone's bosom buddy Hugo Chavez.
From The International Herald Tribune and The Jerusalem Post
An armed group vandalized Caracas' oldest synagogue, shattering religious objects and spray-painting walls in what Jewish leaders called the worst attack ever on their community in Venezuela.
Two security guards were overpowered by about 15 people who ransacked the synagogue's sanctuary and offices late Friday, leaving graffiti such as: "We don't want murderers," and "Jews, get out."
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro condemned the attack and promised it would be investigated, while reiterating his government's opposition to what he called Israel's "criminal" government.
"We respect the Jewish people, but we ask respect for the people of Palestine and their right to life," Maduro said in a ceremony called to welcome home two Venezuelan diplomats expelled from Israel this week.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry ordered the envoys to leave after Venezuela expelled all Israeli diplomats on Jan. 6, to protest Israel's offensive in the Gaza strip. President Hugo Chavez labeled Israeli leaders as "genocidal."
The incident forced the synagogue to cancel Saturday's worship service.
A Jewish human rights NGO on Friday called upon Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) to take action against the anti-Semitic campaign taking place in Venezuela, one of its member states.Under the presidency of Hugo Chavez, the Jewish community of Venezuela has suffered repeated attacks, which were, at least tolerated, if not incited or promoted by State officials," the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier wrote in a letter.
"This anti-Semitic campaign increased under the pretext of the recent war between Israel and Hamas."
In the letter, Heir said that an article entitled "How to Support Palestine Against the Artificial State of Israel?" published in a Venezuelan pro-government, digital newspaper Aporrea.org, which was disguised as a pretended "anti-Zionist" campaign, provided readers with a plan of action against the Venezuelan Jewish community.
The article gave examples such as confiscating the properties of Jews who support Israel and donating the proceeds to the Palestinians, publicly denouncing members of Jewish groups in Venezuela and boycotting their companies and businesses.
The Rabbi wrote that the article promoted the worldwide hacking of "pro-Zionist" websites as well as websites from governments or institutions which have favorable relations with Israel, and convening an international conference on the creation of the "Nazi" state of Israel as a genocidal European colony.
Picture 'Jew dog assassins' and 'terrorist' and a swastika-defaced Star of David appear in spray paint in Caracas, Venezuela, last week. Photo: Courtesy