- By David RothkopfDavid Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017.
In case you think I overstate the point in my previous post, within just a couple hours of writing it, the following three stories hit my inbox:
Venezuelans have seen a dramatic deepening of Chavista anti-Semitic rhetoric. In the latest among many examples, a major Chavista web Site, from the Asamblea Popular Revolucionario, a lengthy new posting offers a chilling echo of the Nazi era.
After denouncing Israel as a false state and denouncing Zionist Jews and their "eurogringo" allies, they call for Venezuelans to take action against "saboteurs" in the media in Venezuela, specifically citing Conatel, the Venezuelan telecommunications agency for having employed two Jews at "key moments." They also call for members of powerful Jewish organizations to be denounced by first and last name and for people to boycott their businesses. Specific individuals are named and then it goes on to say that since these Zionist Hebrews care about their wallets more than anything else it is inappropriate to buy their products, patronize their businesses…or do business with those who associate with them. (Including, for example, recommending that people do not shop at supermarkets that sell kosher foods.)
Multinationals with ties to Israel are also called out. They question the rationale for Jewish schools and then call for massive demonstrations not just in front of the Israeli embassy but also in front of Jewish organizations and they go on to cite a particular synagogue to target. The site also urges identification of "Mossad" agents within Venezuela and the weeding out of "skinny students" of private and independent universities and "skinny bureaucrats", Jews in the government. (Well, I’m in the clear there. I have the perfect disguise.)
Chavistas being Chavistas, it wouldn’t be a party without nationalization, so they also call for the nationalization of Jewish companies and the confiscation of the goods of "Zionist Jews." In this regard they write, "if legal impediments to such actions exist, it will be necessary to modify the laws that going against this just aim." (For the record, while the site portrays itself as independent of any political party, as voluntary supporters of Chavismo, it is worth noting that the government advertises on the site. No surprise there, as deeply disturbing as the posting is, it is consistent with views articulated and promoted by key figures in the Chavez administration.)
Moments later I got an update from MEMRI noting that on Monday, "the day before International Holocaust Remembrance day, the Sunni Islamist Egyptian channel Al-Rahma (Mercy) TV aired a show featuring Egyptian cleric Amin Al-Ansari" in which the cleric stated that "the holocausts of the Jews in Germany were because of their own deeds — they were killing Germans, kindling civil strife, inciting the people against their rulers and corrupting the peoples." He then ran some film of the murder of Jews at Dachau, Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen and added, "This is what we hope will happen, but Allah willing, at the hand of the Muslims."
Meanwhile, another story noted that not to be outdone, the Iranian government also sought to commemorate the UN designated Holocaust Memorial Day which coincides with the anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz. According to an Agence France Presse story, "Iran’s government spokesman on Tuesday branded the Holocaust a "big lie" created to place the Islamic republic’s arch-foe Israel in the Middle East, the state IRNA news agency reported. "The Holocaust is a concept coming from a big lie in order to settle a rootless regime in the heart of the Islamic world," Gholam Hossein Elham told a conference on Gaza in central Iran’s religious city of Qom. "
Someone has got to explain to this growing network of hate mongers that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t deny the Holocaust and at the same time offer it up as the model for how to handle the Jews today. It’s just not consistent and might someday undermine their credibility.
And frankly, I don’t think Holocaust deniers ought to be able to celebrate Holocaust Memorial Day. Certainly, they shouldn’t be allowed to take it off from work.