ADL Welcomes Venezuelan Government Statement Condemning Synagogue Attack
New York, NY, February 6, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed as "an encouraging first step" the Venezuelan government's strong denunciation of the attack on synagogue Tiferet Israel in Caracas. The League joined with Venezuela's Jewish community, however, in calling on the government to take additional "lasting steps" to ensure their long-term safety and security.
In a statement issued earlier this week, Foreign Minister Nicholas Maduro expressed respect for Venezuela's Jewish community and said his government was committed to bring the perpetrators of the violent anti-Semitic attack to justice.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Minister Maduro's condemnation of the violent attack on the Tiferet Israel synagogue and his commitment on behalf of the Venezuelan government to bring the perpetrators to justice is an encouraging first step in acknowledging the plight of Venezuelan Jews, whose institutions have been attacked and vandalized and whose personal security has been put at risk.
We join in solidarity with the Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) in calling on the government to take lasting steps to ensure the long-term safety and security of the Jewish community.
In the wake of this violent attack on the community, the government should take a series of steps to ensure that anti-Semitism does not again rear its ugly head. President Hugo Chavez and his administration should denounce the hateful anti-Jewish coverage in the Venezuelan media. He should reject the spurious notion that the Jewish community is involved in a plot against the government. He should acknowledge the legitimate attachment of Venezuelan Jews to the State of Israel, and ask government officials to refrain from making statements about the Middle East conflict that cross the line from legitimate criticism of Israel into demonization of all Jews.
We are grateful for the many expressions of support for the Venezuelan Jewish community coming from local politicians, foreign diplomats, independent media outlets, the Catholic Church and others who have conveyed their solidarity by visiting the attacked synagogue and standing with the Jewish community. We hope that President Chavez and the government representatives who recently met with the Jewish community will also visit the vandalized synagogue to send the message that the government stands with the Jewish community, not with the bigots.
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.