Officials of the leading organization of Venezuelan Jewry were preparing a letter this week to the center, complaining that it had misinterpreted Chavez's words and had failed to consult with them before attacking the Venezuelan president....Here's my favourite bit:
Officials of the leading organization of Venezuelan Jewry were preparing a letter this week to the center, complaining that it had misinterpreted Chavez's words and had failed to consult with them before attacking the Venezuelan president.
"You have interfered in the political status, in the security, and in the well-being of our community. You have acted on your own, without consulting us, on issues that you don't know or understand," states a draft of the letter obtained by the Forward. Copies of the letter are also to be sent to the heads of the World Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee, among other Jewish groups.
"We believe the president was not talking about Jews and that the Jewish world must learn to work together," said Fred Pressner, president of the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela. The confederation is known by its Spanish acronym, CAIV. He added that this was the third time in recent years that the Wiesenthal center had publicly criticized Chavez without first consulting the local community.
Complaints of American Jewish high-handedness have been aired by Jewish organizations in other countries, most notably in France. French Jews complained in 2003 that American groups were too vocal in criticizing the French government for not responding aggressively to incidents of antisemitism.We also had our own instance of the high-handedness of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre back in 2002 when they tried to have a British envoy to Israel recalled.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has written to the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, demanding that he recalls the British ambassador to Israel for "Holocaust revisionism"....Imagine, well you don't have to imagine, the main nazi-hunting organisation in America using the holocaust to stifle criticism of Israel.
In a letter to Mr Straw, the centre's international liaison director, Dr Shimon Samuels, accuses the ambassador of using even stronger language than that outlined in the Israeli press. He quotes Mr Cowper-Coles as saying: "Israel has reduced the West Bank and Gaza Strip into a vast concentration camp."...
British officials said that on instruction from London the ambassador had conveyed concerns to Gen Gilad about Palestinians under perpetual curfew, and the "unprofessionalism" of some Israeli soldiers. They said Mr Cowper-Coles had said he understood Israel's security concerns but that it was in danger of turning the occupied territories into a "vast detention camp".
The officials said the ambassador, who is a quarter Dutch, found Mr Samuels' accusations particularly offensive as members of his family hid Jewish children from the Nazis in the occupied Netherlands, and a great uncle had paid with his life for doing so.