US State Department: Venezuelan Govt. Pushing Anti-Semitism ‘Disguised’ as Anti-Zionism
By Aaron Kliegman
The Venezuelan government consistently promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories throughout 2019, according to a new report.
The State Department released its annual report on religious freedom around the world. As The Algemeiner reported, the section on Venezuela discussed prevalent anti-Semitism among the country’s political elites.
“Some members of the Jewish community stated the de facto government and those sympathetic to it used anti-Zionism to mask anti-Semitism,” the report stated. Editorials in media outlets supportive of President Nicolas Maduro “accused Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly and recognized by the United States as the legitimate interim president, and Guaido-nominated representatives, as agents or lobbyists of Zionism.”
Several senior figures in Maduro’s regime pushed similar ideas about a global Jewish conspiracy.
“In a February interview, Maduro said Interim President Juan Guaido served the interests of the Zionists,” the report said. “During a June 26 television broadcast, president of the ANC [Constituent National Assembly] Diosdado Cabello stated the de facto government had disrupted an alleged Zionist coup against Maduro on June 24.”
Cabello also described charges of narcotics trafficking and money laundering by the US against Tareck Zaidan El Aissami, former vice president and current minister of industry and national production, as a campaign of the “Zionist lobby.”
According to the report, the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela (CAIV) said that supporters of Maduro and “de facto government-owned or -associated media” denied or trivialized the Holocaust. Maduro has compared sanctions against Venezuela to Nazi persecution of Jews.
The State Department’s report also found that both government officials and private citizens “continued to believe members of the Jewish community maintained direct lines of communication with the White House and placed US interests above those of the country, which made them concerned their community could become targets of anti-Semitic acts.”
Officials in Maduro’s regime generally made sure to use the word “Zionist” instead of “Jew” when making anti-Semitic statements — but not always. The State Department noted a tweet posted by a self-described “revolutionary communicator” in January that stated, “What a coincidence that the first gringo [US] Senators who have come out to support Guaido are all members of the Oil-Financial-Jew lobby. Vultures begin to fly over Venezuela.”
The Algemeiner noted that, today, there are less than 6,000 Jews in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Jewish community has been declining since the 1990s.
The Venezuelan government has had close relations with Iran and its chief terrorist proxy, Lebanese Hezbollah, both of which say they seek Israel’s destruction, for years. Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, broke off diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in 2008 and became close with the leaders of Iran and Hezbollah. Maduro has continued to cultivate those relationships.