ADL Calls Raid On Venezuelan Jewish Center 'Inexplicable'; Joins Community's Call For Formal Investigation
New York, NY, December 3, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called a police raid at a Jewish community center in Caracas, Venezuela "inexplicable and unjustifiable" and joined the Venezuelan Jewish community's call for a formal investigation.
"We are outraged by the inexplicable raid on Club Hebraica and are deeply concerned that the Jewish community in Venezuela is once again the target of intimidation," said Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Such tactics have no place in a democratic society where civility, liberty and social justice should prevail."
The raid on La Hebraica occurred on the eve of December 1 -- just hours before Venezuelans went to the polls to vote on constitutional changes proposed by President Hugo Chavez. Members of a police unit that investigates drug trafficking and terrorism reportedly broke the main gate and searched the premises, but made no arrests.
ADL's November 2006 report on anti-Semitism in Venezuela found that the Jewish community is routinely the target of verbal intimidation in the government-sponsored media and is often scapegoated by government officials for some of the problems in Venezuelan society.
In a letter to President Hugo Chavez in response to the raid, ADL wrote, "It is troubling that anti-Semitism continues to be used as a political tool in your country. "There is a danger that acts by law enforcement officers, such as the raid on Club Hebraica, may be interpreted by others to justify violence against Jews in Venezuela," wrote Messrs. Lewy and Foxman.
"We join the Confederaction Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) in their denunciation of the raid as an unjustifiable act against the Venezuelan Jewish community. We join them in their call to investigate these acts which create unnecessary tensions between Venezuelan Jews and the Venezuelan government."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.