Reports that the Venezuelan intelligence agency is targeting and spying on the Venezuelan Jewish community as well as on Venezuelan companies and organizations with ties to Israel is deeply troubling, asserted the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
“We are deeply troubled by a recent news report alleging that the Venezuelan Intelligence Service (SEBIN) is spying on the Venezuelan Jewish community,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman.
“Venezuela under the regime of Hugo Chavez has a history of harassing the Jewish community in that country,” he said. “It is chilling to read reports that the SEBIN received instructions to carry out clandestine surveillance operations against members of the Jewish community, as described in detail in documents leaked by the Argentinean web site, Analisis24.”
The Analisis24 report, which has since been republished on at least one web site in Venezuela, included several documents, mainly from 2010, with specific, private and official information about Jewish Venezuelans. For instance, among the documents posted are the official passport information of members of an NGO related to Holocaust remembrance, including all entry and exits from the country and where the members traveled.
“In a country where the government and some of its followers have publicly accused the Jewish community of disloyalty and where the community’s institutions and houses of worship have been attacked, reports of this kind of surveillance add fuel to an already incendiary atmosphere inciting prejudice and hate,” said Foxman. “For more than a decade, elements of the Venezuelan government-run media and the so-called ‘alternative’ media operated by Chavez government supporters have regularly engaged in spreading anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes.”
“The Analisis24 article suggests there is an official government policy targeting Venezuela’s Jewish community,” Foxman added. “We strongly condemn these dangerous intimidation tactics and call on the current leadership of the Venezuelan government to immediately cease targeting the Jewish community.”
The League has monitored and issued reports on anti-Semitism in Venezuela in the past several years and criticized the government of President Hugo Chavez for promoting anti-Semitism in Venezuela for political purposes.