by Roy Chaderton Matos

Monthly Review 0209.html
Feb 2 2009

Roy Chaderton, Venezuela's Ambassador to the Organization of American
States, speaks of numerous members of the Jewish community who have
supported the struggles of peoples against imperialism and Zionism,
and he rejects any attack against the Jewish people.

Watching television footage of one of the necessary and legitimate
protests against the Israeli Embassy in Caracas, I spotted a lone sign
with a slogan that left me thunderstruck. The slogan was something
like: "We condemn Hitler for not having completed his work of
extermination. . . ."

The frightening message, totally alien to the Bolivarian process and
the Chavista commitment to liberty, democracy, equality, and social
justice, shows that, every now and then in our struggles and protests,
"loose cannons" come dog us and that we have to detect them and
neutralize them and expel them like any foreign body.

Those hidden anti-Semites are much like other "loose cannons" such
as professional anti-clericalists who shout, "Get thee behind me,
Satan!" when they encounter a believer, incited by the undeniable fact
that a majority of the Venezuelan Catholic hierarchy refused to use
their potential capacity to become a bridge between Venezuelans in
the opposing camps and instead embraced the ultra-right-wing Creoles
and the immoral dictatorship of the media. What's lost on these
pseudo-Chavista infiltrators is the deep Christian foundation of our
socialist process and the social fact that most Venezuelan Catholics,
including nuns and priests at the grassroots, are committed to the
Bolivarian revolution.

None shall ever be permitted to use the recurrent crimes against
humanity committed by the mediocre and murderous militarist elite of
the State of Israel as justification for twisting the just rebellion
of the Palestinians and solidarity with them into anti-Semitic

No leftist has the right to forget that the Jews -- historically
persecuted, not by the Muslims who for centuries opened their doors
for them, but by first the Christian crusaders, then the inquisitors,
and finally the Nazis -- have a historical tradition of pioneering
solidarity with social rebellions and progressive thought. Never
forget such illustrious Jews as Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon
Trotsky, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Bob Dylan. Never forget
the participation of Jews, even at the cost of their lives, in civil,
labor, social, and anti-war struggles in the United States or struggles
against the ultra-Catholic military dictatorships in the Southern
Cone. Never overlook the fact that, in the United States, against
the organized anti-Chavista campaign supported by the "Israel lobby"
in that country, American Jewish intellectuals have spoken up: the
most famous intellectual in the world, Noam Chomsky, so often cited
by President Chávez, and Joseph Stiglitz, a winner of the Nobel
Memorial Prize in Economics, who has supported us in our struggles
against the dictatorship of neoliberalism.

But even if there had been no progressive Jew in history, which isn't
the case, it would still be a mortal sin to silence the Jews or call
for their extermination. What we must do is to discuss, openly and
face to face, the Zionist deviations and the systematic violations of
human rights of the Palestinian people. The killing of innocents or
righteous fighters in Gaza cannot be solved by applying the radicalized
lex talionis which is precisely the barbaric adventure undertaken --
with the cruelty of criminals and electoral opportunists -- by the
Israeli battalions.

Repeatedly during the Fourth Republic in Venezuela, crypto-Nazi
groups were established, which occasionally vandalized synagogues
and other Jewish buildings with anti-Semitic symbols and slogans
(e.g., "MSN," "Tradition, Family, and Property," etc.). In general,
those were ultra-radical Catholics -- of whom Hitler was one -- of
the upper-middle class, who, instead of setting up a vulgar corner
bar decorated with a bullfighting theme in their home, opted for a
Nazi corner with flags and swastikas, old editions of Mein Kampf,
Wehrmacht helmets or Gestapo caps, and sometimes also a fine Luger
awaiting an opportunity to kill a Jew. To my surprise, by the way,
some compatriots from the Jewish community in Venezuela, whether due
to anti-Chavista conviction or sheer lack of awareness, have ended
up marching in protest against our Bolivarian government side by
side with those crypto-Nazis, inflamed by the poisons spewed by the
media's dictatorship.

In those days, too, the Venezuelan diplomats, at the United Nations and
other international forums, supported the vast majority of decisions
in favor of the Palestinian cause. We just abstained, as in fact I
personally did more than once, from any draft resolution containing
untenable ultra-radical propositions. I especially remember that,
during my time as a member of the Venezuelan Mission to the UN, I
organized a meeting, in 1978 at the Tudor Hotel New York, between
a group of Venezuelan diplomats, recent graduates guided by the
director of our School of International Studies, Carlos Guerón,
a Jewish Venezuelan, and the head of the Washington office of the
Palestine Liberation Oraganization, Hassan Rahman.

In this international political battle, we, who have a balanced
attitude to the problem but are committed to the Palestinian people,
come across two manipulative visions that we must not accept. One
comes from those who insist on the Holocaust denial as if it were a
matter of statistics. One wonders: at what number does the Holocaust
begin? Six million? Four million? Two million? One million? Half a
million? The controversy would be laughable if it were not tragic. For
me there is no doubt that there was a policy of extermination of the
Jews in Christian Europe. To trivialize it is to disrespect the memory
of its victims and the truth, as it would be to deny the genocide in
Armenia, in Rwanda-Burundi, in Hiroshima-Nagasaki, or in Palestine,
including the genocide of the indigenous population in Latin America.

The other is the blackmail that gets imposed on us, through the
international media dictatorship, which accuses any persons or
organizations of being anti-Semites when we raise our voice for the
Palestinian cause and denounce the ghettos and concentration camps
in Palestine, whose inhabitants are being exterminated by those in
search of a final solution, with the First-World "Christian" support,
deliberately massacring Arab children in order to eliminate future

Familiar as I had already been with the suffering of the Jewish people
since my childhood, through my conversations with my family and my
readings, upon arriving at my first diplomatic assignment in Warsaw,
the first thing I noticed was the climate of terror sown, among the
already decimated Jewish community in Poland, by the anti-Semitic
purges designed by the then Interior Minister MieczysÅ~Baw Moczar in
1968, which affected even key Jewish leaders of the Polish Communist
Party. Familiar as I am since my adolescence, through my personal
dialogues and readings, with the suffering of the Arab-Palestinian
people who have been forced to pay for the crimes committed by the
Nazis, I cannot but recognize what has been done to the Gaza ghetto
as a policy of genocide.

There is much more to say about all this, but for now it's enough that
we are filled with spiritual oxygen, and we proclaim the brotherhood
of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists, all
who believe and pray, and all who don't believe and don't pray.

Meanwhile, the specters of historical anti-Semitism, particularly in
Europe, including the Vatican, are stirring again. . . .