WASHINGTON (JTA) — The political crisis in Honduras has given rise to anti-Semitic expression and anti-Israel conspiracy theories, the Anti-Defamation League said.
The ADL released a compilation of comments from Honduran public officials and media commentators from the past three months, as well as statements by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Venezuelan media pundits.
Among the statements cited by the ADL is Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s false accusation that "Israel mercenaries" were torturing him with radiation. Also in September, a commentator for Radio Globo in Honduras called Jews and Israelis "people that do damage in this country" and said, "After what I have learned, I ask myself why, why didn’t we let Hitler carry out his historic mission?"
"From President Zelaya himself down to media pundits and political activists, there has been a troubling undercurrent of anti-Semitism in the situation in Honduras,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of ADL. “We know from history that at times of turmoil and unrest, Jews are a convenient scapegoat, and that is happening now in Honduras, a country that has only a small Jewish minority.”
The ADL says fewer than 100 Jewish families are living in Honduras.
Zelaya was exiled from Honduras in June by the military days before a scheduled referendum on the Honduran constitution. The referendum, ruled illegal by the country’s Supreme Court, could have enabled Zelaya to run for a second consecutive term as president, which now is not permitted. His term ends in January.
The United States and other countries have condemned the exiling of Zelaya, who last month snuck back into Honduras. He has been holed up since at the Brazilian Embassy in the capital, Tegucigalpa.