[Marxism] Chavez as anti-Semite?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 9 08:20:27 MST 2006


After the JTA, a Zionist news agency, reported that Hugo Chavez denounced 
"the descendants of those who crucified Christ,"  a remark that they 
interpreted as an attack on Jews, rightwing blogs like Harry's Place and 
Norm Geras began to circulate the charge.  To Geras's credit, he was forced 
to withdraw the charge since there is no textual support for it. Chavez is 
clearly referring to the capitalist class, not Jews.

I just got this from Paul Buhle:

Dear Friends,

This message raises some serious doubts about a claim put forward by the 
Jewish Telegraphic Agency that President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela spoke an 
anti-Semitic slur this past Christmas Eve in a speech to a Venezuelan rehab 
center.

My own analysis of the full text of the talk, together with correspondence 
I have now had with North Americans who are in Venezuela, cast great doubt 
on the charge.

I am not absolutely certain the charge is wrong, but I think it probably 
is, and should be further investigated before being propagated. Already, 
however, some other Jewish organizations have leaped on this JTA article to 
attack President Chavez.

I think the charge itself may, if incorrect, bring about great and 
unnecessary hostility between North American Jews and Chavez and his 
supporters throughout the Americas.

I wrote privately to urge JTA to explore the issues further through good 
journalism; my urgings were utterly rejected. So I am more publicly sharing 
this concern and my own effort at serious investigation (in what I see as 
the best version of Jewish journalism).

Shalom, Arthur Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Shalom Center
www.shalomctr.org

===

It should be understood that reactionaries have often played the 
"anti-Semite" card. In a speech to the B'nai B'rith in 1984, President 
Reagan alleged:

In July of 1983 it was my privilege to meet a brave refugee from Nicaragua, 
Isaac Stavisky. He told me about the 50 Jewish families who had emigrated 
to Nicaragua from Eastern Europe since the 1920's, and about the tragedy 
that befell them. But let me read you Isaac's own words:

``Nicaraguan Jews never encountered anti-Semitism until the Sandinistas 
started their revolution . . . Graffiti by Sandinistas was widespread, with 
attacks on Jews and their religion. One was, `Death to the Jewish pigs.' In 
1978 the Sandinistas sent a strong message to the entire community when the 
synagogue was attacked by five Sandinistas wearing face handkerchiefs. They 
set the building on fire by throwing gasoline in the main entrance doors, 
shouting PLO victory slogans and anti-Jewish defamatory language . . . Once 
the Sandinistas came to power . . . they moved swiftly against Jews. 
Jewish-owned properties were among the first to be confiscated and Jews 
were forced into exile.''

Permit me to add that on the first anniversary of the Sandinista 
revolution, Yasser Arafat visited Nicaragua and spoke these words: ``What 
the Nicaraguan people did in Nicaragua will be done by the Palestinians.''


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