Venezuelan Government Condemns Israeli Bombing of Syria, Maduro: “We’re not Anti-Semitic”

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro condemned recent Israeli missile strikes on Syrian targets, and denounced a new “campaign” to present Venezuela as “anti-Semitic”.

By Tamara Pearson
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A handout photograph released by Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows the rubble of a damaged building after an Israeli airstrike at Al-Hama area Rural Damascus, Syria, 5 May 2013 (SANA)
A handout photograph released by Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows the rubble of a damaged building after an Israeli airstrike at Al-Hama area Rural Damascus, Syria, 5 May 2013 (SANA)

Merida, May 7th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro condemned recent Israeli missile strikes on Syrian targets, and denounced a new “campaign” to present Venezuela as “anti-Semitic”.

Syria accused Israel of firing missiles across their border on Friday and Sunday, specifically against an international airport and a military-scientific research centre.

In a formal statement released by Maduro and the Venezuelan government on 5 May, Maduro expressed his “most energetic condemnation of the Israeli military attack early on Sunday morning... against the Syrian government and people, causing at least four deaths and over 70 injuries of civilians and military personnel”.

The Venezuelan government offered its condolences to the families of the victims and argued that the “new aggression” is added to those “perpetrated on 3 May and 30 January [this year], when Israeli war planes violated Syrian territory and Lebanese air space”.

The Venezuelan government described the strikes “clear acts of war” that violate international treaties. It also stated that it was concerned about the “consequences of these acts for peace and stability in the Middle East”.

“These acts of aggression demonstrate the Israeli state’s direct implication in the Syrian conflict and its link with armed groups that, every day, harm the peace and security of the Syrian people,” the statement said.

“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ratifies its commitment to all efforts which allow for the Syrian people to find the path towards peace, using political dialogue and negotiation, where their self-determination, independence and territorial integrity is respected,” the statement concluded.

In March last year the Venezuelan government confirmed that it would continue to supply Syria with oil, despite international pressure against the Assad government. Further, in March 2011, then Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez warned that the United States and other nations were “seeking to intervene militarily” in Syria.

Not anti-Semitic

Director of the Jewish Latin American Congress, Claudio Epelman, claimed yesterday in Budapest that the “increasing links between Iran and other Latin American countries, especially Venezuela, are promoting an increase of anti-Semitism in the region”.

Epelman is participating in the Jewish World Congress Assembly, and told EFE that Venezuela “is one of the countries where a growth in anti-Semitism has been perceived, something that isn’t casual, as the now deceased president Hugo Cahvez maintained excellent relations with the Iranian president”. Epelman stated that president Mahmud Ahmadinejad had called for the “destruction of Israel” and had denied the Holocaust.

However, Abraham Levy Benshimol, ex president of the Confederation of Israeli Associations of Venezuela told EFE that Chavez had not shared Ahmadinejad’s ideas, such as the denial of the holocaust or the denial of Israel’s right to exist.

“They’ve begun another campaign [to argue that] we’re anti-Semitic,” Maduro said, while at an assembly with community spokespeople in Miranda state.

“I regret a lot Caudio Epelman’s declarations...I know him and we have received him in Venezuela so many times... if he wants to accuse me [that’s fine], but leave Chavez alone,” Maduro added.

“One thing is that we have is differences with the state of Israel...We reject the attack by the Israeli state against Damascus...and the attacks against the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian people, of course we do... but I [also] reject this campaign [against Venezuela], we’re a humanist people, we’re not anti-Semitic... all religions are welcome here, we’re an open-hearted people,” Maduro said.

He also criticised “those who hijacked, through the repressive state of Israel, a noble people, which is the Jewish people”.

Further, he argued that it was the “right wing of Catholicism that has always sustained that those who killed Christ were Jews... and they supported Mussolini and Hitler, but not Lenin, who was a fighter for the rights of the Jewish people, and Marx was Jewish.”

“The Holocaust was orchestrated by the ultra-right and international financial capital... and, who liberated the concentration camps... in Poland and Germany? It was the Red Army,” he said.

He also went into some detail about the “indigenous Holocaust” in Latin America, where he said “at least 100 million indigenous died since the Americas were colonised in 1492”.

Maduro said that his grandparents and great-grandparents were Jewish, but that they converted to Catholicism on arriving in Venezuela, and stressed that “if anyone in the world has a tradition of socialism, it’s the Jewish people”.

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