politinfo

Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet

Why do totalitarian regimes love to hate Jews?

Echoes of the ’30s in Caracas

CHAVEZ’S CAMPAIGN against the Jews has three principal components. The first is the systematic stigmatizing of Israel as a “bloodthirsty,” “oppressive,” “genocidal” and “monstrous” country (quoted from Chavez and his officials) that disregards basic human decency and arrogantly defies international law. The second is the objectification of Jews as Zionists, seamlessly tying the Jews to the imagined evils and horror of the Israeli state. Statements such as “Zionism is Nazism” abound, both on the streets and in parliament.

All of this takes place in the context of anti-capitalist class warfare, in which “enemies of the people” are labeled by the government-controlled media to provide both justification and an outlet for bitter frustration and anger. This strategy was used to great effect in the national socialist movements of the 20th century, where Jews were specifically targeted as “elitist” to subject them to the anger and resentment of collectivist masses.

Hugo Chavez continues to deny any involvement in these incidents and claims to have no antipathy toward the Jews. Instead, he cunningly offers them a Faustian deal by demanding their support in publicly denouncing Israel for its alleged misdeeds. Yet even these statements clearly promote a climate where anti-Semitism is not only tolerated, but is encouraged by his government.

This reminds me the Soviet Union a few decades ago. As a rule, totalitarian regimes need enemies, real or imaginable – in order to threaten and manipulate their own population – and Jews under such regimes are a predictable and usually defenseless target. Also, it is easy to whip up the hatred against them and there is no need to invent new accusations: simply recycle old antisemitic canards – they never seem to die off.

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March 30, 2009 - Posted by | Antisemitism, Venezuela | ,

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