From Chavez’s Alleged Anti-Semitism to the Threat against Privileges

There are intellectuals among those who signed the January 21 document, “against the anti-Semitic references in official Venezuelan discourse.” But now intellectuals confront a more or less tactical and perverse question: How to prove the anti-Semitism of Hugo Chavez.

An intellectual is someone who responds to strategic questions, life, death, and love.  And yes, there are intellectuals among those who signed the January 21 document, “against the anti-Semitic references in official Venezuelan discourse” (El NACIONAL).  But now intellectuals confront a more or less tactical and perverse question: How to prove the anti-Semitism of Hugo Chavez.

They do not even speak of the strategic character of anti-Semitism.  How the Arabs are also Semites.  We will then conclude that if the Arabs and Jews are killing one another, then the Semites are the anti-Semites.

A declaration by Chavez during Christmas of 2005 about those who crucified Christ and then became powerful from the riches was interpreted by the Wiesenthal Center as “an anti-Semitic statement” since Chavez had associated the assassins of Christ with the Jews and then with the usurpation of the riches.[1]

A subversive once rebelled against a tyrant that we will call John.  He spray-painted:  “John is an idiot.”  Once caught and jailed for this offense, the rebel claimed that there are many Johns.  To which the prosecutor, whose perspective was no different than that of these intellectuals, replied: “Yes, but there is only one idiot John.”  Chavez did not identify anyone in his declaration.  Or rather, what the Wiesenthal Center interpreted and was repeated by the intellectuals is that these two concepts have always been used as prejudices against the Jews.  There are many assassins, but according to the Wiesenthal Center, the Jews are the only murderers of Christ.  If that is the only interpretation that the Center can conceive of, who is anti-Semitic?

The Wiesenthal Center’s declaration was distributed by the Associated Press, and from there it was picked up by the French daily, Liberation, associated with Edouard de Rothschild, and finally Le Monde, every day further to the right.  It didn’t matter that other Jews and the Israeli government refute this interpretation.  What matters is that all conservative international discourse concerning Chavez maintains that he is an anti-Semitic tyrant.  Tomorrow he will be a misogynist or an alcoholic, that is, based on proof as fantastic as the brilliant association that he is a dictator since he is a military officer.

Below are the original words of Hugo Chavez and afterwards the alterations that they suffered in this montage:

“The world has enough for everyone, but as a result of some minorities, the descendents of those who crucified Christ, the descendents of those who expelled Bolivar from here, and crucified him in their own way in Santa Marta, there in Colombia.  A minority took possession of the riches of the world.”[2]

We see how this was conveniently mutilated.  Here is my translation of Rothschild’s version, or that of Liberation:

“More than ever we need Christ…  but as a result of a minority, the descendents of those who crucified Christ… took possession of the riches of the world…  and concentrated these riches in the hands of a few people (Jean-Gebert Armengaud).”[3]

Here is Albert Bellaiche’s version, Guysen Israel News:

“There is enough to satisfy the world, but some minorities, the descendents of those who crucified Christ, have taken possession of the riches of the world.”[4]

Here is the version from the Center:

“The world has wealth for all, but some minorities, the descendants of the same people that crucified Christ, have taken over all the wealth of the world [Simon Wiesenthal Center.”[5]

I cite part of the Center’s declaration…

“In a letter to Chávez, Shimon Samuels (Director for International Relations of the SWC) and Sergio Widder (Latin American Representative), stated that “in your words we find two central arguments of antisemitism: the canard of the deicide and the association of Jews with wealth. Both elements have been the perfect excuse to justify persecution and murder of Jews along two millenia.”

The letter adds that, “it is paradoxical that the president of the country which will soon host the most renowned meeting of progressive thinking, the World Social Forum, uses this medieval and reactionary language. Your words sound very similar to those by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad when he denied the Holocaust, thus causing the rejection of the overwhelming majority of the international community.”

What a spectacular interpretation! It’s not a far cry from there to say that Chavez is planning concentration camps. 

One unfortunate soul believed he was a cornel of corn and was submitted to psychiatric treatment.  Once cured, he came across a rooster and becoming terrified had to immediately return to the doctor.

“But you know that you are not a cornel of corn,” the doctor tells him.

“Yes, but the rooster doesn’t know that,” responds the patient.

For too long, it was believed that the interpretation was part of the unlimited sovereignty of the subject.  More recently Umberto Eco and Susan Sontag, among others, have pointed out that yes there are limits.  The Divine Comedy does not mean that my aunt cooks up a good barbeque.  Every text brings with it an arranged collection of potential meanings; not just any meaning.  But there are critical groups of people that alter the interpretations, as occurs to he or she who refers to the noose in the house of the hanged man.  It is called “power”, according to the nomenclature of Eliseo Veron. [6]

A paranoid man threatened to kill the next person to call him “Cow Horn” (“Cacho de Vaca”).

“Good day, friend,” a friendly neighbor said in passing.

The paranoid man deduced with the same speed as the Wiesenthal Center:  “The dog is man’s best friend, but the enemy of the cat, which eats the mouse, which eats the cheese, which is made from milk, which comes from the cow. Which has horns!”  Some peopledon’t know why we they are killed by their neighbors. 

In other words, I know that it is a lie that the Jews killed Christ and that all of them are plutocrats, but the public does not know it and is the innocent victim of a perverse deception, more than Chavez who, as we all know is military ergo tyrant ergo Nazi ergo anti-Semitic ergo universally evil ergo we need to assassinate him and/or invade Venezuela.  The discourse that is promoted by the CIA.  There is something that perhaps explains this coincidence: On Jan 11, 2006, the Wiesenthal Center honored the media magnate Rupert Murdoch at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.  Fox News anchor, Lauren Green, was master of ceremonies.  Murdoch was presented with the “Humanitarian Laureate Award”.[7]  Rotschild, Murdoch…  It all makes sense. 

The Confederation of Israeli Associations of Venezuela (CAIV) rejected that Chavez was anti-Semitic, as well as the Israeli government.  The CAIV visited Chavez on Jan 31st and Freddy Pressner declared that “we did not come to resolve differences because there are no differences.”  Attending on behalf of CAIV was its President, Freddy Pressner, and its Secretary General, David Bachenheimer, accompanied by the President in charge of the Caracas Israeli Union, Abraham Hammer; the presidents of the Venezuelan Israeli
Association, Salomon Cohen; from the Zionist Federation, Alberto Biernam; the official in charge of the Hebrew Brotherhood, Jorge Zelikovich and the person in charge of the Venezuelan Federation of Jewish Women, Ena Rotkopf.  But our intellectuals are more Jewish than the Jews.  How ridiculous!  But the seed has already been sown through globalized disinformation.  For Lionel Mesnard, this is not innocent coming on the eve of the VI World Social Forum in Caracas, Jan. 24- 29.  Nor was the Wiesenthal Center’s appeal to Mercosur innocent, asking them to exclude Venezuela.  Was it worth it? What values our intellectuals must lack for them stoop so low to do the dirtiest work of the media war.

The outrage against the Jewish extermination during the Second World War has been twistedly orchestrated by the Zionism associated with Imperialism.  It is a typical case of a just cause perversely confiscated by an elite oppressor.  We already know the political uses of religion.[8]  Whoever attempts to confront a Jew, as reprehensible as his/her conduct may be, is ridiculously accused of anti-Semitism, like when Sofia Imber [the former director of Venezuela’s modern art museum] says that they took her name off the Caracas Contemporary Art Museum because she’s Jewish.  This fallacy doesn’t explain why her child, also obviously Jewish, wasn’t put in charge of the Jacobo Borges Museum.  In other words, the Nazi genocide grants plenary indulgence and a members’ club card to every Jew.  And of course, anti-Semite is synonymous withreprehensible, condemnable, damned, terrorist, who should die.

In the same discourse, Chavez referred to those who symbolically crucified Bolivar.  The brilliant epistemological method of the Wiesenthal Center brings us to the conclusion that the Jews also killed Bolivar.  As one cannot defend such nonsense, as US Rabbi Arthur Washkow said, human stupidity has its limits, sometimes, so the Wiesenthal Center conveniently erased the reference to Bolivar in order to save the house of cards.

There are no associations between Chavez and the anti-Jewish expressions emitted by the President of Iran Mahmud Ahmadineyad.  The Venezuelan government explicitly denies Ahmadineyad’s thesis about Israel.  This is the third argument:  Chavez has invited Ahmadineyad.  When Chavez invites Alvaro Uribe, is he endorsing all of the ideas of the Colombian President?  When Jacques Chirac receives Chavez, is he endorsing his views on imperialism and is Chavez supporting the French intervention in Haiti?

At the least, foreign journalists write for a distant public that only witnesses the Venezuelan reality at an arm’s length.  The anti-Semitism of Chavez is another expression of the hatred that is caused by the threat to the privileges that no one is disputing, but are seen as being held hostage just by having to share them.  What stupid problems some people create.  As Romain Migus says, combined lies give the illusion of truth. From this fantasy, the foreign readers will imagine the pogroms, the Kristallnacht, the Jews forced to wear the Star of David.  Do my two Jewish children fear this in Venezuela? 

It is a great advantage when you do not have the feeling of ridiculousness because one sticks his foot in his mouth and it doesn’t matter.  How funny, intellectual friends, cultured friends, wise friends, so much arrogance that there’s some left for Carnival.     

Roberto Hernandez Montoya is a writer & the President of the Romulo Gallegos Center of Latin American Studies Foundation (CELARG)


[1] http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/s/content.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=253162&ct=1752793

[2] mci.gov.ve/alocuciones1.asp?id=398

[3] Plus que jamais, le Christ nous manqué (…) mais il se trouve qu’une minorite, les descendants de ceux qui ont crucifie le Christ (…) s’est emparee des richesses du monde […] et a concentre ces richesses entre quelques mains.

[4] Il y a suffisamment pour satisfaire le monde, mais quelques minorities, les escendants de ceux-la memes qui ont crucifie le Christ, se sont empires des richesses mondiales.

[5] http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/s/content.asp?c=fwLYKnN8LzH&b=253162&ct=1752793

[6] La semiosis social. Fragmentos de una teoría de la discursividad, Buenos Aires: Gedisa, 1987


[8] analitica.com/bitblioteca/Roberto/religion.asp

Originally Published in Spanish, Question, Feb. 2006

Translated by Michael Fox.