CNN reports that two Jewish organizations are calling on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop what they say are anti-Semitic attacks by his government’s media.
A Venezuelan state media article about Chavez’s chief political challenger drew criticism from the New York-based Anti-Defamation League and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center last week.
Titled, “The Enemy is Zionism,” the Venezuelan National Radio column details opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski’s Jewish heritage and says the governor of Miranda state “represents Israeli ideology covertly.”
Capriles and Chavez, who has been Venezuela’s president for 13 years, will face off in presidential elections in October.
Capriles, whose grandparents were Polish Holocaust survivors, is a practicing Catholic.
“As we have witnessed in the past, blatant and persistent anti-Semitism is used by President Chavez and his government apparatus as a divisive political tool to scapegoat Jews,” Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement Friday. “What we are seeing at the outset of Venezuela’s presidential elections is an attempt to cast the opposition candidate as a ‘traitorous Jew’ who is unworthy of the presidency.”