ADL Deeply Troubled by Anti-Semitic Incident in Caracas

Urges Venezuelan Government to Ensure Safety of Jewish Community

New York, NY, January 2, 2015 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it is deeply troubled by reports of anti-Semitic graffiti found on a wall of the AIV del Este Sephardic synagogue in Caracas, Venezuela.

The graffiti, which allegedly was sprayed painted shortly before daily morning prayer services on December 30, included a swastika and the number six million with question marks.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are deeply troubled that a synagogue in Venezuela was again the target of an anti-Semitic incident. It is particularly shocking that the graffiti trivializes the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished during the Holocaust. This heinous act - deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors - sends a chilling message to the Jewish community in Venezuela and is an affront to all in Venezuela who strive to live in harmony.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed that anti-Semitic incidents occur far too often in Venezuela.  Despicable acts of intimidation, like this one targeting Jews, contribute to an atmosphere of insecurity.

President Nicolás Maduro and his government are responsible for the safety and well-being of Venezuela’s Jewish community. We respectfully urge the Venezuelan government to take decisive action against such manifestations of anti-Jewish hate and to make it clear to the Jewish community - and all Venezuelans - that anti-Semitism or any form of hate, bias and harassment towards minorities have no place in Venezuelan society and will not be tolerated.

A recent ADL poll in 100 countries found that 30 percent of Venezuelans surveyed harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. The League’s poll also found that 39 percent of the respondents have never heard of the Holocaust, and of those who have, 30 percent believe the numbers have been exaggerated.

Since 2006, ADL has been documenting the levels of anti-Semitism in Venezuela through a series of reports.