Chavez's Venezuela: The Jewish Community Under Threat
Anti-Israel Rallies and Anti-Semitic Expressions
Posted: February 2, 2009
A number of anti-Israel rallies were held in Venezuela during Israel's recent military operations in Gaza. While the largest demonstrations were held in Caracas, protests were also staged in other large cities like Maracaibo, Maracay, San Felipe, Puerto La Cruz, Barquisimeto and Merida.
Many of the rallies were co-sponsored by government officials. All the rallies contained anti-Semitic references comparing Israel's military actions to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust and using Nazi imagery to portray Israel's policies. These rallies typically left behind anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogue walls, city Plazas, Jewish owned businesses and the Israeli Embassy building.
The following is a chronology of anti-Israel rallies in Venezuela in response to Israel's operation in Gaza:
Merida, January 9, 2009
Leftist-Revolutionary Youth Groups gathered to protest against Israel's actions against the Palestinians and one of the organizers, José Cárdenas Peña from Frente de Fuerza Socialista called on "other Latin-American governments to follow the example of President Chavez and expel the Jewish ambassadors who are carrying out a massacre on Palestinian families."
Caracas, January 9, 2009
A Palestinian flag was hung at the Venezuelan National Assembly to protest the situation in Gaza and convey solidarity with the Palestinian people. Saul Ortega, the first vice-president of National Assembly said during the ceremony that the Legislative branch wants to "ratify our militant solidarity with the brotherly people of Palestine which is being massacred by the criminal fire for the Zionist army." The National Assembly accused the United States of colluding with the President of Israel, Shimon Peres and the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert for the killings in Gaza.
Puerto La Cruz. January 8, 2009
Hundreds of people allegedly marched in an anti-Israel rally led by the governor of the State of Anzoátegui, Tarek William Saab, and participants called for ending the bloodshed in Palestine.
Caracas. January 8, 2009
Approximately fifteen masked people sprayed graffiti on the main Sephardic synagogue, stating "Bolivar, We are present in the Palestinian Rebellion", "Long Live a Free Palestine," "Islam Patrimony of all" and a Star of David equated to a Swastika.
Caracas, January 8, 2009
There was a march ending at the Bolivar Plaza in downtown Caracas. Speakers at the rally included Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro; Minister of Culture, Roberto Hernandez Montoya; the President of the National Assembly, Cilia Flores; as well as other members of Congress. In that rally, Congresswoman Flores stated that Israel was using chemical weapons against Palestinian civilians.
Caracas, January 8, 2009
Allegedly 5,000 people participated in a violent march organized by several social and political organizations, including the Venezuelan Communist Party and the United Socialist Party, which ended in front of the Israeli Embassy. Protesters carried pictures of Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar El-Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadineyad, Ismail Haniyeh and Chavez praising them as the "real heroes," while Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert, George Bush and Condoleezza Rice were accused of being the "real terrorists." Others called for a boycott of Israeli and US products, for countries to stop sending gas to Israel and putting an end to all the educational and cultural agreements with Israel until the invasion of Palestine ends.
Protesters burned Israeli flags, threw shoes at the Embassy building, and painted graffiti on the walls of the building, stating "Israel Assassins," "Boycott Israeli products," and painted a picture of a rat with the word "ISRATEL" next to it.
Additionally, some protesters acted out what they believed Israel's actions to be portraying a bloody Palestinian child as the victim of an Israeli soldier who was dressed as a Nazi officer.
San Felipe, January 7, 2009
A rally in San Felipe was organized by the Free and Alternative Community Media Association (ANMCLA) along with Revolutionary movements of the State of Yaracuy. In a speech, ANMCLA's coordinator, Kamal Hazan, expressed his repudiation of the massacre perpetrated by the government of Israel to the people of Palestine.
Barquisimeto, January 7, 2009
City officials condemned Israel's aggression and publicly stated its rejection of "the attacks of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Zionist State of Israel, that uses terrorism of state tactics by massacring indefensible civilians in Gaza with the blessing of the US."
Caracas, January 6, 2009
A Palestinian Solidarity rally was staged at the Sheik Ibrahim Mosque. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolas Maduro and the Interior Minister Tarek William Saab each addressed the rally. The Minister of Foreign Affairs condemned the Holocaust but asked that the Jewish people condemn the "Palestinian Holocaust" committed by the "Zionist Israeli elite". The Minister of Interior linked the Venezuelan Revolution to that of the Palestinian plight and said "…You should know that here we are all willing to offer our lives, if needed, but the bombs and rifles will not quiet us down…Long live Palestine! Long live Hugo Chavez, Long live the Revolution!"
Maracaibo, January 6, 2009
The Communist Party of Venezuela and a number of government entities organized a pro-Palestinian rally at which people shouted "Down with the Imperialism! We are life! We are Palestine! Zionist Israelis, Get out of Palestine!"
Maracay, January 3, 2009
The rally was organized by local Arab-Venezuelan leaders. The spokesperson of the Palestinian community, Fares Asfour Rodriguez, denounced what he called the systematic genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people by the Zionist entity of Israel. Asfour asked President Chavez to break relations with the State of Israel and said "… a Revolutionary government can not have relations with bloodthirsty genocidal people… who bombard cities and kill children"
Caracas, December 29, 2008
A small anti-Israeli rally was staged in front of the Israeli Embassy in Caracas where Nazi imagery was commonly used as well as the propagation of the myth that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. The rally was organized by the Foro Itinerante de Participación Polular (The Traveling Forum for Popular Participation - FIPP).