Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

There Is No Excuse for Anti-Semitism

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 1st February, 2009

200px-nicolas_maduro An armed gang has broken into the oldest synagogue in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, desecreating the building and calling for Jews to be expelled from the country. This follows the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador and his staff by President Hugo Chavez in protest at the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, but the Venezuelan government has been quick to denounce the synagogue attack, in which the walls were daubed with anti-Semitiuc and anti-Israel slogans. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro condemned this ‘criminal act of vandalism’, adding, ‘we call on all the Venezuelan people, the entire Venezuerlan community, to reject these actions, with the same moral force with which we reject the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.’

There has been a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the world, including Britain, since the Israeli assault on Gaza. But the one does not justify the other. Attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions now are as vilely inappropriate as assaults on Muslims and Islamic institutions were in the wake of 9/11. Only four days ago in the United Kingdom we marked Holocaust Memorial Day, reminding ourselves of the horrific extremes to which anti-Semitism can go and the obscenity of genocide against any people. I don’t often agree with the rhetoric of Venezuela’s radical socialist government, but in this case Minister Maduro got it right. Just as we should morally condemn killings and abuses against Palestinians, so we should decry assaults on Jews.

(photo of Nicolas Maduro)

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