B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
A sharp increase in government-sponsored anti-Semitism in Venezuela is cause for great concern. The most recent incident featured radio host Cristina Gonzalez on state-owned radio reading selections from the infamous forgery, the anti-Semitic “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and urging her listeners to read it for themselves.
"The Protocols," long-proven to be a forgery, dates to the early 20th century. The book claimed to be a secret Jewish plan for dominating the world. This vile, hateful text was one of the main propaganda documents used by Hitler to demonize the Jews and “justify” the Holocaust. Unfortunately, it continues to be used today by all kinds of anti-Semitic and terrorist groups to justify persecution of Jews and to promote the destruction of Israel.
The recent uptick in anti-Semitic acts by the Chavez-controlled media is in direct violation of a promise Chavez made last year to reign in anti-Semitism in the country.
At its Board of Governors meeting in New York on May 22, B’nai B’rith International passed a resolution that it will “continue to monitor the situation in Venezuela and will provide as much assistance as possible to the local Jewish community.” The resolution also “calls upon the governments of the region to strongly condemn these manifestations of anti-Semitism and to urge the Venezuelan government to scale down its aggressive rhetoric.” And finally, the resolution notes “that B’nai B’rith will continue to denounce troublesome developments to the appropriate government officials, international agencies and the general public.”
The resolution points to a “hostile atmosphere for the Jewish community by demonizing Israel and by allowing not only anti-Israel but also pure anti-Semitic material to appear in state-sponsored websites and media outlets.”
The resolution also noted that “Jewish representatives have met on several occasions with government officials, including with President Chavez, which give them false hopes that the situation would improve,” and that “the intervention of foreign leaders have not had any tangible results.”
“[T]he demonization and delegitimization of Israel by government officials and Ministries have reached unprecedented levels, one example of this being recent exhibitions organized by the Ministry of Superior Education, the Ministry of Information and Communication, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, that compare Israelis to Nazis and denounces the alleged ‘ethnic cleansing’ committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinians.”
B’nai B’rith has asked its members and supporters in Latin America and throughout the world to send letters to the Venezuelan embassies or consulates in their own cities, expressing deep concern about the promotion of these xenophobic ideas and how these sentiments can dangerously affect the local Jewish community.