CARACAS (JTA) — Venezuela’s main Jewish organization is protesting the upcoming visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“On behalf of the nation’s Jewish community, we are publicizing our displeasure and disappointment over the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela,” the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations said in a news release.
Ahmadinejad was scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has frequently cited Iran as his nation’s best friend, even calling Ahmadinejad a brother to the nation. The two oil-producing countries have signed scores of economic cooperation agreements in what Chavez has often described as efforts to build a counterweight to United States hegemony.
In addition to raising concerns about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear intentions and the government’s legitimacy following widely disputed elections earlier this year, the Venezuelan Jewish group highlighted the Iranian regime’s “attacks” against the Jewish community.
Along with denying the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of “the Zionist entity,” Ahmadinejad recently named Ahmad Vahidi, who is wanted by Interpol in connection with a terrorist attack against a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994, as defense minister, the Venezuelan Jewish group noted in its release.
“Receiving Ahmadinejad is to admit an ominous character, who represents the Dark Ages for the Iranian people and who in the future … could result in
greater misery for mankind.”
Meanwhile, on Monday in Brazil, Ahmadinejad said the United States and Israel are not bold enough to attack Iran.
At the end of his one-day visit to the South American country, where he was warmly welcomed by President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Ahmadinejad presented a challenge during a news conference.
"The era of military attacks has come to an end. Today it’s time for dialogue and thinking. Weapons and threats belong to the past. These ones that you mentioned are not bold enough to do it," he said, responding to a question about how he would react to a military offensive from the two countries.