Caracas, Venezuela, agosto 4, 2006—Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez ordered yesterday the withdrawal of the Venezuelan ambassador to Israel in an act designed to express Venezuela’s “indignation” at the actions of the Israeli government, aided and abetted by the United States against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the landing in Coro, Venezuela, of Venezuelan independence hero Francisco de Miranda, he said that the Israeli army was, “flattening, bombing, murdering and dismembering with ‘gringo’ planes…and with the support of the United States, so many innocent women and children.”
“You can’t explain how the world watches this with arms crossed and how nobody does anything to stop this horror. The least we can do is to raise our voice in favor of peace and life,” Chavez added.
Careful not to collectively blame the entire Israeli people he pointed the finger at “Israeli elites” and the “State of Israel” for the actions.
The Israeli government is delaying the release of an official response to the withdrawal, “We are studying the situation and a decision won’t be expected for a few days. We aren’t going to be pressured,” a spokesman said.
The Venezuelan President has remained consistent in his condemnation of Israel throughout the current Middle East crisis. He just returned from an international tour where he frequently referred to the happenings in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. He has called Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians genocidal and, while in Iran, compared the bombing of Lebanon with Hitler’s campaign against the Jews during the Second World War,
“The Israeli elite repeatedly criticize Hitler’s actions against the Jews, and indeed Hitler's actions must be criticized, not just against the Jews but against the world. But it's also fascism what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people ... terrorism and fascism,” he said.
At home, the Venezuelan Jewish community, which in the past has defended President Chávez against charges of anti-Semitism, has not been so kind on this occasion. They have slammed Chávez’ remarks and characterized the state media’s reporting of the Middle East crisis as anti-Semitic. The Israeli Confederation of Venezuela has released a statement expressing, “its repudiation at all the anti-Semitic remarks that hide behind the disguise of anti-Zionism in distinct official media and from government officials that incite hate and discrimination.” The statement went on to condemn all the acts of violence between the Israelis, the Lebanese, and the Palestinians.
Chávez also spoke of the United Nations Security Council and its paralysis due to the US veto. A resolution was recently put to the Security Council demanding an immediate cease-fire between Hizbollah and the Israeli army. The US rejected it saying it was biased against Israel.The US has also been blocking Venezuela’s efforts to garner support for a seat as a non-permanent member of the council. Chávez claims Venezuela will defend the right of those that are being bowled over by imperialism and called the US campaign against them “immoral.”