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January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

Netanyahu Slams Obama’s Betrayal at Security Council

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an irate message following the US’ betrayal of its most loyal Middle East ally. On Friday, the US chose to abstain at a critical anti-Israel vote at the UN Security Council, for the first time since the Carter Administration in 1980. The Council passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements enterprise in the liberated areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The vote passed with the vote of 14 of the council’s 15 members, to the sound of great applause. A veto by the US – or any of the five permanent members of the council – would have killed the resolution.

Netanyahu’s message was unabashed: “Israel rejects the anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms. At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall ‘occupied territory.

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it collaborated with the UN behind the scenes.

“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”

Indeed, the president-elect tweeted Friday evening: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Netanyahu had only himself to blame for being knifed in the back as he had been, for failing to heed repeated US warnings against his increased settlement activity. “Prime Minister Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today,” Rhodes said.

But The Hill’s Jordan Fabian noted that Rhodes couldn’t really explain how the betrayal at the UNSC would improve the situation in the Middle East. Instead, it appears Obama just used his last chance to smack Netanyahu right where it hurt, in a final show of force, once he was free of the need to restrain himself on account of the elections.

As Rhodes put it, quite shamelessly, “There is one president at a time, [and] President Obama is the president of the United States until Jan. 20 and we are taking this action, of course, as US policy.”

In other words, we’re doing it because we can.

Netanyahu has begun to retaliate for the vote, ordering the Israeli ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultation. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with the two other states that called for a vote on the resolution – Venezuela and Malaysia. The PM also canceled a scheduled visit of the Senegal’s foreign minister to Israel in retribution for its vote as a temporary UNSC member, and voided Israel’s entire aid package to that country. He also canceled the visits of the non-resident ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand.

Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon said the US betrayed Israel, saying in a statement: “It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share – and would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attacked President Obama, stating: “President Obama is personally responsible for this anti-Israel resolution. His diplomats secretly coordinated the vote, yet he doesn’t even have the courage of his own convictions to vote for it. This cowardly, disgraceful action cements President Obama’s richly deserved legacy as the most anti-Israel president in American history.”

Actually, Obama will probably have to fight Jimmy Carter for the title, but it’s close.

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying that “by allowing the United Nations’ anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the Security Council, in the face of fierce bi-partisan opposition, the actions of the Obama Administration will forever be remembered as a dark, shameful moment for our country. The resolution passed today will only serve as a greater barrier to peace, which can only truly be achieved through negotiations. Instead of pressuring the Palestinians to be a partner for peace, President Obama chose to break with long-standing diplomatic practices and allowed the one-sided, anti-Israel United Nations to be used as a tool to bludgeon Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.

“We applaud the efforts of Republican Senators, led by Senator Graham, to strip funding to the United Nations, which has time and again showed their anti-Israel bias. What happened today will forever be on the heads of the President, his Party, and groups like J Street that remained silent.”

This last part might not be such a smart move – some in Israel have pointed out that the last time the US cut its UNESCO funding it lost its influence on that vehemently anti-Semitic body, and remained unable to assist Israel when it is being attacked there. If anything, the Trump White House should enhance its involvement to be able to sway the support of the members in a desired direction.

Knesset opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) condemned the UNSC vote and Netanyahu with the same breath, stating: “This is a difficult night for Israel. I strongly oppose this harsh resolution of the UN Security Council, which is a strategic defeat for Israel.”

The far-left was giddy. Meretz Chair MK Zehava Galon said she was happy the US did not veto the resolution “against the policy of annexation and settlement and not against Israel.” She pointed out the vote was “the direct result of the law to legalize settlements, with Israel having lost all its shame and the world having lost its patience.”

The party to the right of Netanyahu’s Likud was also pleased with the vote, recognizing a rare opportunity to use the unifying anger of the vast majority of Israelis to get some positive action going. Habayit Hayehudi Chairman MK Naftali Bennett said on Saturday night that now is the time to “switch from retreat to sovereignty.” Bennett added that “thousands of terrorists the world over are watching the UN resolution, seeing it as a call to arms. This resolution is the direct outcome of the policies of Oslo, of concessions, withdrawals and splitting – and the result of our public agreement to establish a Palestinian State at the heart of our country. [This resolution] must be discarded to the trash heap of history like all its predecessors.”

“This is the time for a U-turn,” Bennett said, “It’s time to switch from retreat to sovereignty. The conclusion is that we must stop marching on the suicidal track of a Palestinian State and to impose Israeli law on Ma’aleh Adumim, the Jordan Valley, Ofra and the entire Area C, as soon as possible.”

JNi.Media

Latin American Academic Leaders Visit Israel, Sign Cooperation Agreements with Hebrew U.

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Some twenty rectors from leading Latin American universities visited Israel this week and signed agreements with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a first-of-its-kind conference signaling growing academic cooperation.

Representing institutions in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, the rectors learned about Hebrew University academia and research, and signed about 20 cooperation agreements with the Hebrew University.

The rectors were hosted at a special dinner in their honor with Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, the Hebrew University’s president, and Prof. Robert (Israel) Aumann, a Nobel laureate and the S.A. Schonbrunn Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Economics at the Hebrew University. Also in attendance were foreign diplomats and representatives of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which co-organized the conference with the Hebrew University’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

“This was a very productive gathering and we hope it will lead to many fruitful collaborations with universities in Latin America,” said Naama Shpeter, executive director and the conference organizer at the Truman Institute.

A highlight of the rectors’ visit was a meeting with the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at his official residence in Jerusalem.

The rectors also attended social sciences and humanities lectures at the Mt. Scopus campus, met with scientists at the Edmond J. Safra campus, and visited the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot.

Hana Levi Julian

Vilifying Israel, Ruining Venezuela

Friday, May 27th, 2016

“What does Israel plan to do with the Palestinians?” asked the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN, Rafael Ramirez. It was, of course, a rhetorical question.

Speaking at an informal session of the Security Council this month, the representative of a despotic, corrupt, and militarized regime – one that has bankrupted Venezuela, hijacked the judicial system to throw political dissidents in jail, and counts Iran and Syria among its closest allies – rained down anti-Semitic rhetoric upon the state of Israel.

Ramirez went on to flatly ask whether Israel was “trying to impose a ‘final solution’ on the Palestinians in the West Bank.”

In making the obscene comparison between Israel and the Nazis, the Venezuelan delegate engaged in the ultimate blood libel, accusing the survivors of the Holocaust of having turned into the same monsters who exterminated 6 million Jews and millions of others. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon publicly rejected such a disgusting comparison, as did other UN member representatives including France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

(Ramirez has since apologized privately to Israel’s UN ambassador, but has yet to do so in public.)

The Venezuelan remarks, of course, were meant only to fuel hatred. Ramirez never had any intention of addressing the subject of the meeting: the protection of civilians affected by the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

Even worse, arguably, is the fact that these comments were made under the auspices of a process that is designed to increase dialogue and understanding, rather than boosting hatred and polarization.

I know this to be the case because I launched this process – and I am honored that it is officially named the Arria Formula. Its purpose is to enable members of the Security Council to discuss informally issues of critical importance to international peace and security.

Since it was introduced in 1992 in the midst of the genocidal war in Bosnia, at a time when I was serving as Venezuela’s ambassador to the UN, the Arria Formula has become a useful tool in the toolbox of Security Council proceedings.

Not once has it been used to promote racial hatred and anti-Semitism – that is, until Ramirez came along. His diatribe was a continuation of the policy of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who expelled the Israeli ambassador in Caracas during the Gaza war of 2009 during a national public broadcast, and spewed these words of hate: “From the bottom of my soul, I damn you Israel. You are a criminal and terrorist state that is openly exterminating the Palestinians.”

Be on high alert: All Venezuelan institutions, from the supreme court to the National Electoral Council, have been hijacked by the regime of Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, in order to give its ongoing assault on human rights the appearance of democratic legitimacy.

The scapegoating of Israel is by design – to distract Venezuelans and the world from what is a crime in progress.

Venezuela was among the first countries to recognize Israel, and we have had the good fortune of enriching our country with the talent and the work of thousands of Jews from all over the world.

While I was Venezuela’s ambassador to the UN, we were among the first states to sponsor a measure to revoke the infamous UN General Assembly resolution of 1975 that equated Zionism with racism. Twenty-five years later, my successor is behaving as though that resolution is still on the books.

Instead of shaming our people with its lamentable behavior, the Maduro regime should be more concerned with the magnitude of Venezuela’s unprecedented crisis. There is raging inflation, the world’s highest, that has destroyed worker salaries. Violent crime is out of control. The health care system is in a dismal state. There are blackouts and severe food and medicine shortages. People, understandably, are protesting in the streets.

And the Maduro regime is exploiting the emergency it created in dangerously authoritarian ways.

The regime has castrated the power of the National Assembly to legislate. Maduro just passed a decree that puts him and the armed forces in complete control, to rule without any kind of restrictions, as well as limiting the fundamental constitutional rights and guarantees of the people. In sum, he has created his own personal and dictatorial constitution.

The regime also ought to worry about judicial proceedings taking place in a New York court regarding two members of the Venezuelan presidential family who are facing federal narcotics charges. These proceedings are surely the first of many more to come.

The regime should focus more on its long train of abuses against the Venezuelan people and less on the horrific crimes it imagines Israel is longing to commit.

 

This op-ed originally appeared in the New York Daily News. Copyright Daily News, L.P. (New York). Used with permission.

Diego Arria

Facing Growing Protests, Venezuela’s President Declares ‘State of Emergency’

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has declared a 60-day state of emergency. The move came Friday night in response to what he claimed were domestic and U.S.-based plots to subvert him, and followed efforts by opposition lawmakers to raise a recall referendum against Maduro’s administration.

Protests in the country are gaining traction as nearly 70 percent of the population calls for Maduro’s ouster. The president was the hand-picked successor to the late president Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer while running for re-election.

Chavez was a close friend of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the two men cemented ties between their two nations while severing Venezuela’s ties with Israel. Venezuela has the largest oil reservoir in the western hemisphere.

After the partition of Israel was approved by the United Nations in 1947, more than 200 homes, shops and synagogues were destroyed in Venezuela, according to an article written by Rachelley Krygier, who wrote in June 2014 in the Caracas Chronicle about her mother’s family’s immigration experience when they arrived from Aleppo, Syria. Her father’s family, fleeing Cuba, also came to Venezuela.

“None of them could have foreseen what came next. The country was completely transformed from a refuge into a hostile, threatening place,” she wrote. Between 1990 to 2011, the Jewish community of Venezuela shrank from 25,000 to 9,000.

“Signs of anti-Semitism in the government became evident in 2009, when Chavez condemned the state of Israel, expelled the Israeli ambassador  and conducted meetings with Iran’s Ahjmadinejad. Our Holocaust survivors saw in the news how our president shook hands with a leader who denied what they and their loved ones had gone through,” Krygier wrote.

Meanwhile, on Saturday Maduro ordered military exercises for next weekend, vowing the government would take over idle factories. He did not provide details. Opposition lawmakers continued to lead protests.

“We’re talking about a desperate president who is putting himself on the margin of legality and constitutionality,” Democratic Unity coalition leader Jesus Torrealba told hundreds of supporters at a rally, according to Reuters.

“If this state of emergency is issued without consulting the National Assembly, we would technically be talking about a self-coup.”

Control over Venezuela’s National Assembly was won by the opposition in a December election that was fueled by voter anger over skyrocketing inflation, product shortages and crime, but the lawmakers have been consistently undercut by the country’s Supreme Court.

Hana Levi Julian

Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Apologizes to Ambassador Danny Danon

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Rafael Ramirez expressed his apology to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon following his comments last week at the UN Security Council where he asked if “Israel wants a final solution to the Palestinians?”

On Wednesday, Ramirez met with Edmund Mulet, the UN Secretary General’s chief of staff, and said he regretted his language and apologized to Danny Danon personally.

Rafael Ramirez compared Israel to the Nazis.

“What is Israel planning to do with the Palestinians?” asked Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez. “Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to disappear? Is Israel preparing a ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians similar to that which was perpetrated against them?”when he asked “Israel wants a final solution to the Palestinians?”

Shalom Bear

Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Compares Israel to Nazis

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Israel was accused in the United Nations on Friday by Venezuela of preparing a ‘final solution’ for Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.’

“What is Israel planning to do with the Palestinians?” asked Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez. “Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to disappear? Is Israel preparing a ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians similar to that which was perpetrated against them?”

Venezuela holds one of the ten rotating seats on the UN Security Council.

Ramirez was present at a meeting of the council where Michael Sfard, a member of the far-left Yesh Din organization, described ‘price tag’ attacks by Israelis against Arab targets and the response by law enforcement.

Sfard suggested that price tag attacks are an attempt by Jews to drive Arabs out of the country. Ramirez asked during his presentation whether the State of Israel had a similar agenda.

The comparison, drawing a link between Israel and Nazi Germany, drew immediate outrage from Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.

“This statement by the Venezuelan ambassador is straightforward anti-Semitism against the Jewish state,” said Danon,” according to a statement by the Israeli mission to the UN. “His remarks are a direct continuation to the Palestinian representative’s statement a few days ago comparing Israel to the Nazis,” Danon said, adding the remarks were “unequivocally condemned” by the U.S., the UK and France.

Ramirez subsequently apologized to the “Jewish People if they were offended by the remarks,” according to the statement.

“The Palestinians are bringing anti-Semitism into the halls of the UN and are legitimizing racists and crass language in the parliament of nations,” Danon noted.

Last month Palestinian Authority representative to the UN Riyad Mansour drew a parallel between the Jewish resistance fighters during the Holocaust and the Arab attackers in the current wave of terror.

The attempt to compare the two was roundly condemned at the time by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as “offensive, hateful anti-Semitism.”

Hana Levi Julian

The Age of Chavez May Be Over As Venezuelan Opposition Wins in Landslide

Monday, December 7th, 2015

(JNi.media) Venezuela’s opposition won control of the National Assembly by a landslide on Sunday, with at least 99 seats in the next 167-seat legislature, compared to the ruling socialist party’s 46 seats. The victory may change radically the future of President Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded the late president Hugo Chávez in 2013. The change may also bring a hopeful future to the Jews of Venezuela, who have been living in fear of the populist regime. In the last 15 years more than half of the country’s Jews have left Venezuela, with the local community’s numbers dropping from about 25,000 Jews in 2,000 to only 7,000 today.

Andres Beker, a Venezuelan Jewish expatriate in the United States whose parents still live in Caracas, told the Jerusalem Post last year: “There’s less hope about the future. My parents are huge fans of Venezuela. Until last year I thought they would stay no matter what. Now, for the first time, they’re talking about Plan B: leaving Venezuela.”

President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday night acknowledged his party’s defeat — the first one for the ruling socialists in 17 years. Maduro vowed to continue the socialist policies of his mentor, Chávez, despite the country’s triple-digit inflation and two-year recession, caused by economic policies that were only feasible as long as oil prices hovered around $100 a barrel. The sharp drop in oil prices pulled the rug from under the Socialists’ feet. As the post-election night wore on, the militant Maduro softened his tone. “In Venezuela, peace and democracy must reign,” Maduro said, adding, “I’ve said we’ll take the fight to the streets, but maybe I was wrong. We can’t go where we’ve always been.”

According to the AP, some opposition voices are proposing a recall referendum to kick Maduro out of office before his term ends in 2019. They could possibly do it if it turns out they’ve won a two-thirds majority of 112 seats. There’s also talk that the outgoing majority might pass a law granting Maduro special powers to effectively reverse the election’s outcome, before the new congress is sworn in next January.

The Jewish community of Venezuela was established in the 19th century, when Sephardic Jews from the Dutch colony of Curaçao began to migrate to the Venezuelan city of Santa Ana de Coro in 1824. David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, wrote 10 years ago: “They have developed an impressive communal infrastructure built around a central umbrella organization, La Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) … Fifteen synagogues (all but one Orthodox), and, perhaps most striking of all, a Jewish all-in-one campus, Hebraica. Combining Jewish nursery and day schools, a country club, cultural center, a verdant setting, and wide-ranging sports activities, Hebraica serves as the focus for much of the community.”

“The community is close-knit, an overwhelming majority of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, the level of participation is high, identification with Israel is intense, and intermarriage rates are low compared to the United States or Britain,” Harris continued, noting that “What is equally striking in talking with Venezuela’s Jews … is an obvious pride in being Venezuelan.”

However, as can be seen in a US State Dept. report on religious freedom in Venezuela, “in November 2004, after the assassination of well-known prosecutor Danilo Anderson, the Government used satirical comments made by journalist Orlando Urdaneta on a US television program to allude to possible Israeli participation in Anderson’s killing. The Israeli Embassy in Caracas denied any Israeli involvement in the assassination and warned that such representations by the Government were misleading. On November 29, 2004, members of the country’s investigative police searched the Hebrew Center of Caracas at the beginning of the school day as part of the Anderson investigation. Jewish community leaders expressed outrage and indicated doubt regarding the authorities’ explanation for the search. Newspaper reports suggested that rumors of Israeli involvement in the assassination might have been behind the investigation.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-age-of-chavez-may-be-over-as-venezuelan-opposition-wins-in-landslide/2015/12/07/

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