Venezuela state media is accusing the man who will challenge Hugo Chavez in October’s presidential election of everything from backing “international Zionism which threatens to destroy the planet” to being a being a member of a neo-Nazi sect.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has asked Chavez to ensure that state institutions don’t incite anti-Semitic attacks on his rival, Henrique Capriles Radonski.
Capriles, 39, is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. His maternal grandmother is Jewish, but the candidate was raised Catholic. “Because of my mother and grandmother, for Jews I’m Jewish, but I’m Catholic,” Capriles told JTA last year.
He is currently the governor of Miranda, Venezuela.
Chavez has denied being anti-Semitic, but his ties to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his disdain for Israel — he has called the Jewish state “genocidal” — trouble many of the nation’s 12,000 Jews.