ADL Asks Venezuela to Reconsider Moving Its Embassy from Jerusalem

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has asked Venezuela to reconsider its decision to move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The request — made by an ADL delegation at a Washington meeting with the Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States — was based on what the ADL called a “crucial admission” in the Venezuelan communique announcing the embassy shift. Abraham Foxman, ADL’s associate director and head of its international Affairs Division, cited a section of the communique issued on July 25. It said that the presence of Venezuela’s embassy in Jerusalem since 1958 “in no way has prejudged, nor does it prejudge, the rights of one or the other party over that city.”

“The correctness and logic of Venezuela’s stated position,” Forman said, “is as relevant today as when Venezuela established its embassy in Jerusalem. The move is therefore self-contradictory.”

CITES CONTINUED FRIENDLY RELATIONS

ADL representatives, Alvin Steinberg, a member of the ADL executive committee, and Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of the Latin American Affairs Department, were told by Ambassador Marcial Perez Chiriboga that the embassy shift does not mean a change in Venezuela’s traditionally friendly relations with Israel.

The ambassador, according to Steinberg and Rosenthal; read the July 25 communique reiterating Caracas’ desire to “maintain normal and friendly relations with the government of Israel” and recalled Venezuela’s support of Israel and its right to a secure” existence since creation of the State in 1948.

The world Jewish Community, Steinberg told Perez, is “dismayed by the move, particularly in view of the warm Venezuelan-Israeli relations for more than three decades.” The ambassador promised to convey ADL’s concern to Caracas, Steinberg added.

Rosenthal brought to the ambassador’s attention the recent anti-Semitic statements which Arab propagandists have injected into their pro-PLO campaign in Venezuela. Advertisements by the Venezuelan Committee of Solidarity with the Arab Palestinian People have been denounced by the Venezuelan Jewish community as “racist and undemocratic.”

The Venezuelan decision to shift its embassy, Foxman said, comes on the heels of indications that the Caracas government is being subjected to strong Arab pressures to permit the opening of a PLO office in Caracas.

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