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Chavez Fosters Atmosphere Of Intimidation And Fear For Venezuelan Jewish Community

New York, NY, January 7, 2009 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today charged Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with "fostering an atmosphere of intimidation and fear within the Venezuelan Jewish community" by his statements comparing Israel's military offensive against Hamas to the Holocaust and by his call that Venezuelan Jews condemn Israel's actions.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

When the President of a country singles out his own Jewish community to speak out against the actions of the sovereign State of Israel, it fosters an atmosphere of intimidation and fear within the Jewish community.

It is outrageous for President Chavez to suggest that Israel is committing a Holocaust. Mr. Chavez needs to be reminded that Israel, which arose out of the ashes of the Holocaust, is fighting to defend its citizens against Hamas' constant barrage of rocket attacks. By expelling the Israeli ambassador to Venezuela, Chavez legitimizes the Iranian-backed Hamas' terrorist actions and hinders efforts to promote peace and a two state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, which most countries in the world support.

President Chavez should have used this opportunity to put into practice the "Declaration against Racism," which he and the Presidents of Argentina and Brazil recently signed, to stop the dissemination of anti-Semitism cloaked in anti-Zionist terms, rather than to endorse and propagate his anti-Israel views.


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.



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