RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Venezuela’s umbrella Jewish organization slammed the anti-Semitic cover of a weekly magazine, which associates Jewish icons with illicit activities, illegal money exchange and a governmental agency.
The Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela, or CAIV, sent a letter to the editor of “Las Verdades de Miguel,” or “The Truths of Miguel” to condemn the magazine, which pictured on its cover an Orthodox rabbi speaking on a cell phone with a Star of David made of dollar bills at the side, reported Radio Jai news service on Friday.
“According to our obligation to combat any anti-Semitic expression, we point out the cover is a replica of anti-Semitic pamphlets and lampoons,” CAIV said in its letter.
The headline on the cover of the magazine, released on Aug. 12, read in Spanish: “Foreign exchange to Israel: The rabbis of CADIVI.”
CADIVI is Venezuela’s Foreign Exchange Administration Commission, the government body that manages money exchange activities in the South American country.
“The use of the term “Israelite” referring to the alleged Jewishness of people and companies is simply defamatory and anti-Semitic. As an institution of our community, as Venezuelans, we wish that all illicit activities be investigated and eventually punished under the criminal law,” continued the CAIV letter.
“The misuse of terms associated with the Jewish people such as “rabbis”, “Israelite” and “Israel” has been dangerous and historically tragic and perverse. They reveal an anti-Semitic bias that we should note and denounce without hesitation for they can put at risk the physical integrity of our community’s members,” concluded the letter.
Venezuela is home to some 9,000 Jews, down from about 25,000 in 1999. Many Jews left, mainly for Florida and Israel, due to a deteriorating financial and social climate, along with a growing anti-Semitic environment established under the Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro regimes.