WJC, Venezuela’s Jewish umbrella body CAIV has presented a new study in which an unusually high number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country is recorded for the year 2013. The analysis focuses on the mainstream media and on social networking sites such as Twitter.
CAIV President David Bittan, who also serves as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, noted that anti-Semitic expressions had spiked during the bitterly fought presidential campaign in the spring of 2013 which, following the death of Hugo Chavez, pitched the latter’s successor NicolasMaduro against opposition candidateHenrique Capriles, who has Jewish ancestry. Following Maduro’s victory, they subsided somewhat but remained on a high level.
“During 2013 we witnessed and recorded 4,033 anti-Semitic expressions through different media, in social networks, with an important increase in the months of March, April and May, and a decrease in October, November and December,” Bittan wrote in the foreword to the in-depth study, which is posted on the CAIV website in Spanish and English. The CAIVpresident urged the government of Venezuela to show more initiative in eradicating anti-Semitism, and said that compiling this annual study was one of the raisons d’être of CAIV. “This task will no longer be needed when the authorities show the initiative and the will to exert a policy to eradicate Judeophobia, and in our country’s specific case, there is still time to achieve this provided there is consensus.
“If the authorities truly became aware of the damage caused to the country’s reputation by maintaining a passive and accommodating attitude […] towards these aspects, I am convinced that the situation would be different here and I even dare to think out aloud and say that more damage is caused to Venezuela by the peculiar form anti-Semitism on display in our country than to the Venezuelan Jewish community.”
On the positive side, said Bittan, the Venezuelan parliament observed a minute of silence on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), the first time it had done so since 2009.