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Monday, May 22, 2006

Escaping Venezuela?

Is Venezuela's Jewish community going to make aliya? That's what blogger Alex Beech says.

Beech says that the Venezuelan Jewish community has dwindled from 20,000 to 13,000 since Hugo Chavez took power, and that a delegation of Venezuelan Jews recently traveled to Israel to discuss the possibility of the community making aliya en masse. Beech cites a report by the Stephen Roth institute which discloses some of the reasons why Venezuelan Jews are looking to leave their host country. The following are among the factors cited by the institute:
- “There has been an increase in numbers and membership of anti-Semitic radical left groups, which find some support among the lower classes. The most violent groups are Tupamaros and Carapaicas, with a total membership of some 20,000.”

- “The period of the coup and its aftermath were marked by anti-Semitic manifestations. The official state Venezuelan channel Venezolana de Television noted, for example, that Pedro Carmona, who was acting president during the interim period, was 'going to rule together with the Jews.' Viewers of the Venezuelan TV program “In Confidence” (29 May), which discussed Venezuela’s socio-economic problems, called in to attack guest Rabbi Pynchas Brener with remarks such as ‘We know that all the Jews were with the dictator Carmona.’”

- “A retired army officer, who leads a group of reservists in support of Chavez made anti-Semitic references on the privately-owned Venezuelan radio station Exitos 1090. On 5 September, Lieutenant Guillermo Gonzalez, of the Association of Reservists, accused parliamentary deputies and provincial governors (such as Paulina Gamus, Henrique Capriles Radonski and Leopoldo Lopez) of being of Jewish descent, and charged the entire Jewish community with conspiring against the government. He added that Jewish businessmen had also aided this alleged conspiracy. It should be noted that this was the first anti-Semitic attack by a member or former member of Venezuela’s armed forces.”

There's much more here too - regarding Chavez's support for the 'Palestinians' and for Iranian strongman Mahmoud Ahmadinadinnerjacket. You should definitely read the whole thing.


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