Saturday, July 5, 2008

Antisemitism in Venezuela

It's a typical feature of antisemitism that personally directed violence grows more slowly than antisemitic rhetoric, with disagreement about the seriousness of the problem. Pointedly, Germans argued over whether antisemitism was either "the new Judenhass" or something innocuous. I think Shulamit Volkov's Germans, Jews, and Antisemites (see this review at HNet) is a pretty important book, for Venezuela and elsewhere, but I wonder if people are aware of it outside limited academic circles.

Engage links to this story at Commentary on Venezuelan antisemitism. I'm particularly disturbed by this:
On television, Mario Silva, the host of a popular pro-Chávez show called La Hojilla (“The Razor Blade”), has repeatedly named prominent Venezuelan Jews as anti-government conspirators and called on other Jews to denounce them. “Rabbi Jacobo Benzaquén and Rabbi Pynchas Brener are actively participating in the conspiracy in conjunction with the media,” Silva has said. “So as not to be called an anti-Semite,” he added, “I repeat that those Jewish businessmen not involved in the conspiracy should say so.”
Though Silva might really believe that he is willing to spare "good Jews" from condemnation, that effectively means only those Jews who are willing to become increasingly antisemitic anytime any gentile questions their loyalty to the state.

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