Friday, February 13, 2009


The Washington Post had an editorial yesterday entitled "Mr. Chavez vs. the Jews," about the plight of Venezuelan Jews after the attack on a synagogue in Caracas.

The attack on the synagogue was indeed unfortunate and indicative of anti-semitic forces in Caracas. But the WashPo went on to decry the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as a sign of displeasure with Israel's attack upon the Palestinians in Gaza.

Writes the WashPo editorial:

"Then there is the assault on Venezuela's Jewish community -- which seems to have replaced George W. Bush as Mr. Chávez's favorite foil. After Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip last month, the caudillo expelled Israel's ambassador and described Israel's actions in Gaza as "genocide." Then Mr. Chávez turned on Venezuela's Jews. "Let's hope that the Venezuelan Jewish community will declare itself against this barbarity," Mr. Chávez bellowed on a government-controlled television channel. "Don't Jews repudiate the Holocaust? And this is precisely what we're witnessing.""

First of all, Chavez is not alone in condemning the barbaric and cruel attack upon Gaza. Israeli war planes and tanks destroyed schools, mosques, police stations, and even shelled safe houses such as those run by the U.N. Many, including myself, think Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) perpetrated serious war crimes for which they should be punished. The constant screaming of war planes overhead day and night surely traumatized Gaza's children who make up more than 50% of the total population. Even homes and apartment buildings were not safe from Israeli bombs and tank shells. It did seem that Israel, not successful in killing off the Palestinians by a food and fuel blockade, decided to do the job with an outright military attack.

So the Washington Post should not blame Chavez for his stern reaction to "this barbarity." It is wrong to attack a synagogue in Caracas but Chavez's government has made timely arrests of those it believed executed the contemptible destruction. But it is equally or more wrong for Israel to attack Gaza, not allow any of its inhabitants to flee the fighting, and kill over 1,400 Palestinians in the process.

Hugo Chavez may be politically wrong for trying to amend the Venezuelan constitution to allow him to overcome term limits, but he is not wrong for condemning Israelis for their bombardment of Gaza.

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