September 29, 2006
Democrats and the anti-Semitism of Hugo ChavezBy Ed Lasky
Various Democrats have looked with favor upon the anti—American Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez over the years, his record of deepening anti—Semitism notwithstanding. Ex—president Carter helped him secure his position by certifying election results that others have cast doubt upon.
In 2002, 16 Democratic Congressmen, including senior Judiciary Committee member John Conyers of Michigan, voiced their support for Chavez when they sent a letter to President Bush complaining that America was not protecting Chavez from internal opposition to his authoritarian and increasingly erratic rule.
In that same year, Representative William Delahunt of Massachusetts established a 'Venezuelan Caucus' to show 'friendship to President Chavez'.
More recently, Congressman Edward Markey (also of Massachusetts) joined with Delahunt to accept cheap heating oil for their constituents from Chavez under a program Chavez rolled out to curry favor with certain Congressmen in America. The program, awkwardly called 'From the Venezuelan Hearts to the US hearths', has several political aims. It is geared towards minority communities in America as a way to garner support for Chavez among these groups. By doling out oil at a 40% discount in liberal congressional districts and allowing the incumbent representatives to take credit for it, Chavez is hoping to influence the makeup and policies of Congress and place these Congressmen in his debt.
This same discount oil has lured a Kennedy, ex—Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III (also of Massachusetts), to hook up with Hugo. Chavez supplies discount oil for Kennedy to run through his Citizens Energy Corporation. Jose Serrano (D—NY) is also a Representative who will benefit as his constituents receive this discount oil. While Chavez's most recent rantings and ravings at the United Nations brought forth some expressions of disapproval from some Democrats (Congresswoman Pelosi and Congressman Rangel), others like Delahunt downplayed it, and Iowa's Senator Harkin actually supported Chavez.
The discount oil program appears to be an end—run around the federal law prohibiting foreigners from financially contributing to political candidates. Chavez is clearly accepting these losses (in effect donating the 'lost profits' to these districts) in order to help elect Congressmen who will support him.* It is reminiscent of the big city political machines which used to hand out turkeys to voters at Christmas.
But these Democrat Congressmen are members of a party which derives a great deal of support from America's Jewish community. They seem to have no problem cavorting with one of the most anti—Semitic leaders on the world stage, and Jewish Democrats have remained stragely silent of this betrayal. The very same Hugo Chavez who seems to have a soft spot for some minorities has a very harsh approach towards another — the Jewish people.
Late last year, Chavez took the occasion of his Christmas Eve speech to invoke an old anti—Semitic slur. Chavez declared,
While well—informed people know that Romans crucified Christ, there are many millions of ill—informed people (including, apparently Chavez) who believe that Jews killed Christ. Clearly, when Chavez spoke of the people responsible for the death of Christ taking the wealth of the world, he was not referring to any ancient centurions living in plutocratic splendor these days, he was employing an anti—Semitic canard.
However, his insults go far beyond this. In 2004, a state prosecutor and Chavez ally was killed in car bombing. The Chavez—controlled state—run television referred to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad as being behind the killing. (The Mossad is routinely dredged up by Arab anti—Semites as being responsible for all sorts of calamitous events in the world, including 9/11).
Chavez sent Venezuelan security forces to raid a Jewish private school in Caracas as the school day was beginning, in an incident widely regarded by Jews there as a warning to support him or else. His forces terrorized young children, holding sub—machine guns as the school was searched. Of course, no evidence was found implicating anyone in the killing of the prosecutor. But the event can also be seen as a present to Iran, since Chavez was visiting Iran at the time of the raid on the school.
Of course, his alliance and friendship with the Iranian regime should be enough to disconcert American Jews. Iranian—supported Hezb'allah has blown up a Jewish Community center and an Israeli Embassy in Argentina. Hezb'allah routinely attacks Israel, and the latest sneak attack resulted in a mini—war with Israel a few months ago. Of course, Iran has called for Israel to be 'wiped off the face of the map', has denied the Holocaust has occurred, is the foremost promoter of anti—Semitism around the world, and is developing a nuclear and ballistic missile program that directly threatens Israel.
Venezuelan Jews are feeling endangered. They have reported a noticeable up tick in anti—Semitism in government media, whereas before Chavez took power it was almost non—existent. Just this week, Caracas news paper El Diario published an article on 'The Zionist Jews' whose tone rapidly becomes apparent with the first paragraph, translated by bloggers Daniel of Venezuela News & Views and Alexandra Beech (hat tip: Larwyn).
The article continues even more ominously:
Anti—Semitic graffiti is appearing much more frequently in Caracas. Some Venezuelans believe Chavez was imbued with anti—Semitism by his mentor, Norbeto Ceresole, an Argentine known for his extreme neo—Nazi views. A local columnist, Sammy Eppel, bravely states, 'the government has adopted an anti—Semitic policy'. This problem will probably worsen, and Chavez intends to set up his version of Al Jazeera throughout the Spanish—speaking world, providing another outlet for his anti—Semitism.
Do the Democrat Congressmen who offer support for Hugo Chavez have a problem with his anti—Semitism? After all, they are one—degree of separation away from one of the more anti—Semitic leaders on the world stage.
Do the Democrat officials have a problem with his sending of thugs to terrorize children in a Jewish school? With speeches that are laced with anti—Semitic canards? With state—controlled media writing of expelling the Jews from Venezuela? With his alliance with a man who threatens another genocide?
According to the public record, the answer seems to be no.
That same public record also indicates that Jewish Democrats are willing to tolerate this behavior in their own party.
The silence is deafening.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.