Chavez's Venezuela: The Jewish Community Under Threat
International Reaction: Chavez Embraced by Radical Islamists
Posted: February 2, 2009
Although it is not the first time that President Chavez was embraced by radical Islamists, the current conflict in Gaza has heightened the perception of Chavez's heroism by the terrorist organizations Hamas, Hezbollah as well as their Iranian sponsors. Radical Islamist supporters have praised Presidents Chavez's actions and called for other world leaders to follow his footsteps.
This is hardly surprising given the close nexus between President Chavez and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who have sought to integrate their countries ideologically and commercially over the past couple of years. Throughout the recent Gaza conflict, Ahmadinejad applauded President Chavez's response vis-à-vis Israel, even proposing a joint International Summit on Gaza with the sole objective of condemning Israel.
Praise for Chavez and his anti-Israel actions echoed across the Arab and Muslim world:
• Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressed a crowd of supporters on January 7: "Yesterday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that he would expel the Israeli ambassador in Venezuela. He, of course, did this in order to show his support for the Palestinians. Venezuela is very close to America, it is a neighbor of America. This is Chavez. He did this because of his humanity, his sense of revolution, and, in this way, he dealt a severe blow to those who are now hosting the ambassadors of Israel in their capitals and do not have enough courage to even think about telling them to leave. Today, Arab leaders need to take lessons from this Latin American leader. They have to learn how to show support for the people of Palestine."
• On January 20, President Ahmadinejad sent letters to President Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales for their support of the Palestinian people, according to the Iranian press. The letter to Morales reportedly stated that severing relations with Israel was an important step to rid the region of Zionist ties. The Islamic Student Society of Teheran University invited the Venezuelan and Bolivian presidents to travel to the Iranian capital to celebrate the Palestinian "victory."
• In anti-Israel rallies in several Arab and Islamic countries such as Yemen, Jordan, Palestinian territories and Lebanon, President Chavez was hailed as a hero for expelling the Israeli ambassador and for severing relations with the State of Israel. In Lebanon, a street is reportedly being named after Hugo Chavez.
• A delegation of Venezuelan congresspeople visited Beirut, Lebanon from January 16-18 to participate in the Forum for the Support of the Resistance with the Oppressed People. The Venezuelan Congressman Julio Moreno declared: "This is an act of solidarity with the oppressed people, because where the boot of the Empire arrives there is misery and death of innocent lives." During the inauguration of the Forum, Sheik Naim Kassem, Hezbollah's deputy leader declared "resistance is the path for our liberation and not the UN Security Council and its resolutions that seek to make us quit and burry the Palestinian question." In the closing statements of the Forum, one of the Venezuelan congressmen, Carolus Wimmer, declared that they will request the expulsion of the State of Israel from the United Nations. He also said "this is a historic conference where people of the world reject the imperialist and Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people and applaud the decision of Venezuela to sever relations with the terrorist State of Israel…We will seek to bring justice the ones responsible for the massacre against the Palestinians and will request an oil boycott against the terrorist State of Israel."