Tel Aviv has accused the administration Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of cooperating with Israel’s enemies and supporting anti-Semitism.
On the last leg of his South American tour, hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed concern about the collaboration between Chavez and what he called “radical branches of Islam”.
The remark follows Israel’s claim that Venezuela hosts cells of Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah – an allegation that that Tel Aviv has so far failed to prove.
Dorit Shavit, who accompanies Lieberman on his 10-day visit, made the same claim in Argentina, which is home to the largest Jewish community in the region.
On Saturday, Lieberman attacked Chavez for his comments warning Washington against changing Colombia into the “Israel of Latin America” by building a military platform there from which to “attack” its neighbors.
“It is regrettable that it exists in the 21st century after the Holocaust: terrorism against the people of Israel, and the use of such anti-Semitic language,” he said.
Speaking to El Espectador newspaper, the ultra-nationalist minister said he saw no reason for Tel Aviv to resume its diplomatic ties with Venezuela as far as Chavez maintains relations with Islamic resistance groups in Lebanon and Palestine.
Caracas severed ties with Tel Aviv in January in response to Israel’s three-week-long all-out offensive on the Gaza Strip which left over 1,400 Palestinians killed and thousands of others injured.