“Bolivarian” Anti-Semitism

Claudio Lomnitz and Rafael Sánchez

in Powers

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231560
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235537 | DOI:

Series: The Future of the Religious Past

“Bolivarian” Anti-Semitism

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This chapter discusses the use of religious symbolism to disempower others. It surveys recent cases of anti-Semitism in Venezuela that are directly related to Hugo Chávez's attempts to stabilize his position as the nation's leader. It argues that the attack on the Tiferet Israel Synagogue in Caracas on January 30, 2009, is part of a continuous stream of anti-Semitic statements and acts in Venezuela, which associate the Jews with Adolf Hitler and the devil through the symbolism of swastikas and the number 666, the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13:18. Such anti-Semitism, combined with populism, military uniforms, and homophobia, helps to construct the regime's opponents as enemies of the state by associating them with Zionist imperialism and the Jews. It thus legitimates either expelling these outsiders from the body of the nation or subjecting them to the will of the people. This ideology has a firm basis in the work of the Argentine Holocaust denier Norberto Ceresole, who acted as Chávez's adviser, rather than in the writings of the great liberator Simón Bolívar.

Keywords: Venezuela; anti-Semitism; Hugo Chávez; religious symbolism; Tiferet Israel Synagogue; Norberto Ceresole; Jews; Zionist imperialism; homophobia; populism

Chapter.  4713 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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