The regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela has promoted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic themes in an effort to distract from the damage it is doing to the country, a former Venezuelan diplomat wrote  Wednesday in the New York Daily News.
Diego Arria, Venezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations, cited a recent instance where the country’s current UN ambassador, Rafael Ramirez, asked rhetorically in a speech, “What does Israel plan to do with the Palestinians?” and whether Israel was “trying to impose a ‘final solution’ on the Palestinians in the West Bank.”
Arria criticized the envoy for making an “obscene comparison” between Nazi Germany and the Jewish state, where many survivors of the Holocaust found refuge. The false comparison was so egregious that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, and France publicly denounced it.
Arria charged that Ramirez’s comments on Israel, made during a session on the protection of civilians affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were meant “only to fuel hatred.” Making matters worse, Ramirez was speaking at a process “designed to increase dialogue and understanding, rather than boosting hatred and polarization.”
Ramirez’s diatribe was the first time the process had ever been hijacked to promote anti-Semitism, but it didn’t occur in a vacuum, Arria added. Venezuelan officials have engaged in such rhetoric since the rise of Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s predecessor.
During Israel’s 2009 war with Hamas, Chavez expelled the Israeli ambassador from Venezuela and said, “From the bottom of my soul, I damn you Israel. You are a criminal and terrorist state that is openly exterminating the Palestinians.”
This type of rhetoric is part of the Venezuelan regime’s efforts to distract from its tightening grip over of the country, as well as the massive failures it is presiding over.
Be on high alert: All Venezuelan institutions, from the supreme court to the National Electoral Council, have been hijacked by the regime of Chavez’ 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 one of the first nations to recognize Israel in 1948 and has benefited from the contributions of many Jews. Venezuela also was one of the first countries to sponsor a resolution revoking the infamous 1975 resolution comparing Zionism to racism, Arria wrote.
While Venezuela’s ambassador in New York was vilifying Israel, Venezuelans were in the streets protesting raging inflation and crime, a collapsing health care system, and shortages of necessities and medicine. Maduro has issued a decree giving himself and the army the authority to rule with no limits and curtail the civil rights of Venezuela’s citizens.
Maduro’s government, Arria concluded, “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.”
[Photo: Cancillería del Ecuador / WikiCommons ]