Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chavez antisemitism at the Boston Review

An editor at the Boston Review thinks of this blog highly enough to point out to me an article about Chavez antisemitism, and to the replies that the writers felt compelled to give to their readers.

It is indeed an interesting set, and a very useful read, if anything for the practical advantages one gets out of it.

The article by itself brings back to our attention many of the things that I wrote already here as to the attacks of Chavez and chavismo on Jews. What makes it noteworthy is that the authors, Claudio Lomnitz and Rafael Sánchez, manage to tie it all in what could call a model of neo-antisemitism. And they go further integrating into the model two features of chavismo discourse, the routine insults to anyone dissenting and the clearly expressed
homophobia. They understand this very well, as we can read from this paragraph:
While Chávez’s political vocabulary often portrays Jews as inordinately influential and manipulative, he does not restrict himself to the trope of the Jew as master conspirator. Instead, he enacts the classic double move in anti-Semitism, used from the time of the Dreyfus Affair to Nazism and beyond: the powerful, exploitative Jew who is also inherently weak and contemptible. Chávez thus refers to his opponents as “escuálidos” (squalids), a Spanish term that connotes not only dirtiness and abjection, but also flimsiness, wimpiness, and scrawniness. Not surprisingly, figures conventionally associated with degradation are important in the imagery. Homophobia is a key element in that repertoire; although unlike Cuba (Castro is Chávez’s admired “father”), which bans homosexuality and persecutes homosexuals, Chavismo relies on homophobia as invective rather than state policy.
They probably have read my blog where long ago I made a connection between the imagery of Florentino and chavismo homophobia, in 2004.

However these authors are probably not familiar with the routine attacks that opposition bloggers have been subjected to since 2003. In fact, we are so used to the pro Chavez camp methods that we have learned to ignore them, or ban then outright from our pages when they become mere trolls. The 19 comments (as of today) they got must have surprised them enough that they felt compelled to write a full reply. I felt sorry for them at first as I started to read their replies, but then again I switched to a praise mode because they simply wrote what should be a standard of how to reply to chavismo. The comprehensiveness with which they demolish 11 criticisms addressed to them is simply a read to behold. Not necessarily because of what they wrote, but because one senses that they could have gone further in their very educated rebuttal and could easily pare any other criticism that is thrown their way.

From now on, I just need to refer to this piece of work from them to silence any chavista that dares to pretend Chavez is not antisemitic, or homophobic, or insulting, or simply not a nice person at all.

Of course such a complete rebuttal is pearls to swines since from long experience I know that those who wrote those criticisms are not going to bother to read the replies. To give you an example, I noticed that comment #15 in the major article by a certain lobo is the same repetitive argumentation by one of the hired pens of Venezuelanalysis, the pro Chavez news site. This character, who changes names according the the site he comments on, also has this key signature motto of "ad hominem attacks" which he uses whenever he is duly confronted. He has overstayed his welcome in more pages than one cares to count. What is interesting here is not that this kid harasses Lomnitz and Sánchez, but that he has so much time in his hands to harass anyone criticizing the Bolivarian fraud. I let you speculate on the reasons why lobo and other keep popping everywhere, as if it were they day job.

Anyway, I recommend you bookmark at least the reply article of Lomnitz and Sánchez as I am sure you will be able to use it someday. And pass around their first article to your pro Chavez acquaintances.

-The end-

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