New York, NY, June 3, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today charged Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with using the Gaza flotilla affair as a launch-pad for his latest round of attacks and incitements against Jews and Israel, while recycling conspiracy theories about Israel.
During a broadcast on Venezuelan national television and radio, Chavez said, "I want to condemn from the bottom of my soul, from the bottom of my guts: Damn you, State of Israel. Damn you, terrorists and assassins."
Chavez also tried to shield himself against charges of anti-Semitism, saying, "They accuse me of being an enemy of the Jews … They know they have our affection and respect ... I doubt very much that a Venezuelan Jew would support an atrocity like that one [perpetrated by Israel]."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Hugo Chavez is up to his old tricks in the aftermath of the flotilla affair, engaging in anti-Zionist rhetoric. He criticizes the Jewish state while cynically differentiating Venezuelan Jews. This ploy to persuade Venezuelan Jews to speak out against Israelis a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate, while opening the door to anti-Semitism against the local Jewish community.
Once again, Chavez and his government apparatus are leveling anti-Zionist allegations and engaging in false conspiracy theories about Israel -- including that Mossad commandos are out to kill him and that the 'genocidal State of Israel' finances the Venezuelan opposition – all while cursing Israel in a national broadcast.
Chavez has many times over proven himself to be an unapologetic hater, and this latest salvo is yet another reaffirmation.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.