New York, NY, January 31, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the violent attack on a Caracas synagogue and called on President Hugo Chavez to promptly and publicly denounce this heinous anti-Jewish hate crime and to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Just days after the international community commemorated the Holocaust in ceremonies of remembrance throughout the world, a synagogue in Caracas was the scene of a modern day Kristallnacht. For five hours, violent anti-Semites profaned and vandalized the most sacred space and objects of Jewish life, leaving behind graffiti that said “Get out,” “Death to All,” and “Damn Israel, Death.” This violent attack occurring on the Jewish Sabbath is reminiscent of the darkest days leading to the Shoah, when Jews were attacked and synagogues and Torahs vandalized and destroyed under the guard of the Nazi regime.

Sadly, this is not a random event in Venezuela; it is directly related to the atmosphere of anti-Jewish intimidation promoted by President Chavez and his government apparatus. The time has come for Mr. Chavez to abandon the official government rhetoric of demonization of Israel and Jews and to publicly denounce this wanton act of anti-Semitic violence. President Chavez must ensure that his government quickly brings the perpetrators to justice.

We call upon President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina to insist that Mr. Chavez live up to the commitments he made in the joint Declaration Against Racism he recently signed with them, which includes an obligation to combat anti-Semitism.

ADL stands with the Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela (CAIV) in these difficult times and we join in their appeal to the Venezuelan government to guarantee the protection of all of its citizens including the Jewish community of Venezuela.



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