Chavez 'Up To His Old Tricks' After Gaza Flotilla Affair

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.

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.