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United Jewish Communities » Jewish World » Jewish News » Article

Chavez accused of anti-Semitic remarks

Talkbacks for this article: 82

A Jewish rights organization accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of making anti-Semitic comments during a Christmas Eve speech.

The Los Angeles, California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded an apology from Chavez in a statement issued Wednesday, saying such remarks have long been used to persecute Jews.

"Some minorities, descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ ... took all the world's wealth for themselves," Chavez said in the Dec. 24 speech.

"In your words, the two central arguments of anti-Semitism emerge ... the accusation that Jews killed Jesus (and) associating them with wealth," the Center said in a letter sent to Chavez. "Our center strongly condemns your anti-Semitic declarations."

Chavez did not did not mention the Jewish people explicitly in the speech, which was broadcast on national television. A spokeswoman for the president's office said it had no immediate response to the complaint.

During the speech, Chavez also praised Jesus Christ as a revolutionary hero, saying he was the world's first true socialist.

The letter was signed by Shimon Samuels, the Center's international relations director, and Sergio Widder, a Latin American representative based in Argentina.

They said the Center would urge the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay to "freeze the process" of incorporating Venezuela into the Mercosur trade bloc unless Chavez makes a public apology.

Widder said Thursday that the group had yet to receive a response. He said even if Chavez had not intended to refer to Jews, the possibility for that interpretation was cause for concern.

"The words of a head of state should be cautious," Widder said.

The Jewish rights organization has expressed concerns about other comments by Chavez in the past. Chavez, a fiery speaker who says he is leading Venezuela toward socialism, has said he wants to have good relations will all religious groups.

Venezuela's president is known for speaking candidly. On one occasion he used an epithet in referring to US President George W. Bush, and he once suggested US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was illiterate, offering to send her materials to learn how to read and write.

Chavez's barbs are usually aimed at opposition leaders or US officials, but he has also criticized Latin American leaders such as Mexican President Vicente Fox and former Ecuadorean President Lucio Gutierrez.
Post comment | Terms
82. Chavez accused of anti-Semitic remarks
Fred - (01/07/2006 10:57)
81. You idiot
Miguel - Venezuela (01/07/2006 10:02)
80. What puppets
Joe - USA (01/07/2006 09:58)
79. Oh No!
Bob - (01/07/2006 08:14)
78. re:socialism rocks
Ed - (01/07/2006 06:48)
77. Hugo Chavez
steve - (01/07/2006 05:58)
76. Romans killed JC
Brooks - USA (01/07/2006 05:39)
75. Sure this is anti semetic?
John - USA (01/07/2006 05:34)
74. Socialism rules
Chuck - usa (01/07/2006 04:41)
73. socialism rocks!
Adam - (01/07/2006 03:06)
72. hugo chavez
meyer sculimbrene - USA (01/07/2006 02:31)
71. Response to Jesus committing suicide
Rick - (01/07/2006 02:36)
70. Who killed Jesus?
Matt - U.S.A. (01/07/2006 02:28)
69. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Jewess - USA (01/07/2006 02:26)
68. Todd
Jake - (01/07/2006 02:21)
67. Jesus who?
david - (01/07/2006 02:12)
66. Chavez is a HERO
Luis - USA (01/07/2006 01:49)
65. Socialism is criminal
John Johnson - U.S.A. (01/07/2006 01:48)
64. HUGO
TIMOTHY - USA (01/07/2006 01:36)
63. politics
Teaparty2come - (01/07/2006 01:13)
62. Chavez
Francisco Nazario Jr. - United States (01/07/2006 01:06)
61. #49 Charles
Larry - (01/07/2006 02:55)
60. Chavez
William - USA (01/07/2006 02:54)
59. Did everybody forget about the Club Hebraica Raid???
yonni - (01/07/2006 00:53)
58. "you people'?
william helmuth - united states of america (01/07/2006 00:53)
57. Jones
Zack - (01/07/2006 00:36)
56. Chavez
Julio - (01/07/2006 00:33)
55. jesus committed suicide then?
biljen - (01/06/2006 23:57)
54. Chaim's Post
John - USA (01/06/2006 23:49)
53. Chavez is a HERO
Todd - (01/06/2006 23:04)


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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez


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