South America

Chavez talks antisemitism and hugs a Jew

By Jennifer Lipman, September 19, 2010

Hugo Chavez has met representatives of the Venezuelan Jewish community to discuss antisemitism in the national media – and ended the conversation with a hug.

Following the meeting with the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations, Mr Chavez wrote on Twitter that it had been “an extraordinary meeting”.

He added: “We finished the meeting embracing and praying for peace".

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Chavez talks antisemitism with Venezuelan Jews

By Jennifer Lipman, September 5, 2010

President Hugo Chávez has agreed to meet representatives of Venezuela’s Jewish community to discuss antisemitism in the country’s state-run media.

David Bittan Obadia, vice president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela (CAIV) said the meeting had been arranged because of concerns about levels of anti-Jewish feeling in Venezuela.

Mr Obadia said: "We do not deem [antisemitism] a state policy, but the government has the tools to stop it.

“We will be very straightforward in expressing our concerns. We can see that the government is willing to cooperate.

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Stone: 'sorry' for saying Jews control media

By Jennifer Lipman, July 27, 2010

Director Oliver Stone has expressed his “regret” for controversial comments in which he said “the Jewish domination of the media” was the reason the Holocaust continued to be so widely discussed.

Mr Stone had told an interviewer that he wanted Hitler’s atrocities to be viewed in context.

He said: “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m.”

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Hall of Infamy: Hugo Chavez

By Jennifer Lipman, June 8, 2010



"Israel finances the Venezuelan opposition, the counter-revolution. There are groups, even Israeli terrorists, the Mossad, that are after me, trying to kill me."



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Analysis: In Venezuela, antisemitism is state policy

By Shimon Samuels, March 25, 2010

A new report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has criticised the Venezuelan government for encroaching on the civil and political rights of its people, and particularly those of its Jewish community.

The report expressed particular concern about the rising number of antisemitic incidents, and noted that the government-controlled media "contributed to creating an atmosphere of intimidation and violence against the Jewish community in Venezuela".

This is cause for serious alarm. However, it is hardly surprising.

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Legacy mayhem

By David Herman, March 11, 2010

Take a mournful shlemiel from Austria. Drop him in Venezuela where he has gone to collect an inheritance from his uncle, a Jewish refugee from Hamburg, start a violent coup and stir in a cast of vivid characters, shysters, swindlers, lawyers and even a wonder-rabbi, and then you get a sense of The Inheritance (Pushkin Press, £10) by Peter Stephan Jungk, published in German a decade ago, and now superbly translated by Michael Hofmann.

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Bnei Akiva offers students Brazil trip

By Marcus Dysch, February 11, 2010

British Bnei Akiva gap year students are to be offered the opportunity to work with Jewish communities in Brazil for the first time.

BA’s Hachshara programme, which prepares students for leadership roles, plans to send trainees to help run youth activities in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Around 30 participants are expected to spend a fortnight in Brazil, probably at the end of next year’s programme in June 2011.

There are around 96,000 Jews in the South American country.

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Ahmadinejad and his terror-suspect minister

By Meir Javedanfar, August 27, 2009

The nomination of General Ahmad Vahidi as Iranian Defence Minister has shocked the international community.

General Vahidi is wanted by Interpol for his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in Argentina.

Many see his nomination as yet another sign that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still intent on antagonising the West, and Israel especially.

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The victims get a chance of justice

By Shimon Samuels & Sergio Widder, June 4, 2009

The evidence has long implicated Iranian officials in the July 1994 bombing of the Amia Jewish Centre in Buenos Aires, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded. In 2006, State Prosecutor Alberto Nisman indicted former Iranian President Rafsanjani, ex-Foreign Minister Velayati and seven other suspects.

The president of Argentina at the time, Nestor Kirchner, and his wife, current President Christina Kirchner, both denounced Iran for its role in the attack in separate addresses to the UN General Assembly, resisting pressure from Tehran’s Latin-American ally, Venezuela.

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Argentina re-opens Amia bombing probe

By David Labi, Buenos Aires, June 4, 2009

The Argentinian Supreme Court has voted to re-open the investigation into the 1994 terrorist attack on the Amia Jewish community centre.
Though the car-bomb attack in the heart of Buenos Aires killed 85, injured hundreds and reduced the building to rubble, no one has ever been convicted for the crime. The federal judge who led the investigation, Juan José Galeano, was impeached in 2005 after being accused of “serious irregularities”.

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