(JNS.org) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was re-elected Oct. 7, beating his opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, a Catholic whose grandparents were Jewish and Holocaust survivors. Chavez won 54.4 percent of the vote to Capriles’s 44.9.
Radonski represented the Democratic Unity coalition, which combined 30 parties that oppose the Chavez government. During the election, the Jerusalem Post reported on a study by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, which found that Chavez insulted his opponent by directly referencing his Jewish roots.
“This is done in a variety of methods, such as defamation, intimidation and conspiracy theories, many of which portray Capriles as a Zionist agent, and by mixing classic and neo-anti-Semitism... A Capriles victory, it is claimed, will inevitably lead to Zionist infiltration,” said the report.
Chavez’s government is known to have strong ties with Iran, and severed its relationship with Jerusalem in 2009. The study found the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment in the country is widespread. The Jewish community of Venezuela used to number about 18,000, but shrunk to half of that by 2010.