Chavez Has Not Lived Up To His Word To Denounce Anti-Semitism

New York,NY, May 26, 2011…. President Hugo Chavez "has not lived up to his word" to speak out against anti-Semitism in Venezuela, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said, pointing to a recent radio program where the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was promoted on Venezuelan state-owned radio.

"President Hugo Chavez has not lived up to his word to denounce anti-Semitism inVenezuela," said Abraham H. Foxman,ADL National Director. "It is shocking that Venezuelan state-owned radio would promote the Protocols as if it was an accurate and factual description of Jews, when in fact it is the worst manifestation of conspiratorial anti-Semitism. It is irresponsible for any government to allow its airwaves to be used to promote a conspiratorial anti-Semitic tract used to vilify Jews through history."

Created in 19th Century Russia by the czarist secret police, The Protocols is fictitious, paranoid and racist literature, often heralded by anti-Semites through the decades as "proof" that Jews are plotting to take over the world.

In April, Cristina Gonzalez, radio host of National Venezuelan Radio, encouraged her audience to read the Protocols. In the same program Gonzalez suggested that "Zionists," through their alleged control of finance and media, were to blame for recent events in theMiddle Eastand for attacks on Palestinians.

In September 2010, President Chavez declared: "I do not have anything against the Jews…Nobody can say that the Government persecutes the Jews…Revolutionaries can't be anti-Semites… I salute and call to respect everyone in the Venezuelan Jewish community." Nearly two years earlier, in December 2008, Chavez signed a joint declaration with the presidents ofBrazilandArgentinacondemning anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.

"Unfortunately, Gonzalez's broadcast proves that the twin hatreds of Zionism and Judaism continue to converge and commingle inVenezuela," said Mr. Foxman. "President Chavez and those responsible for his media apparatus bear the responsibility to condemn the promotion of the Protocols and call it what it is: an anti-Semitic libel."

ADL joined in solidarity with the Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) in denouncing this most recent manifestation of anti-Semitism in Chavez'sVenezuela.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.