Times: Venezuela's Jews, the Pope and the Jews, Geert and the Muslims

The Times puts three loosely related stories on page A8 today, all three of concern to us, in particular the first. My daughter-in-law's sister and her family are living now in Venezuela.
A break-in at a Caracas synagogue on Jan. 31 heightened the concerns of the country’s Jews.
Venezuela’s Jews, Already Uneasy, Are Jolted by Attack
The Jewish community is apprehensive amid attacks on Jewish institutions following President Hugo Chávez’s expulsion of the Israeli ambassador....

The warm welcome that Mr. Chávez has extended to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has also troubled Jews.

The tensions intensified last month when Mr. Chávez expelled the Israeli ambassador to protest the war in Gaza, and senior officials attended a rally at the Sheik Ibrahim Mosque here in Caracas. “Our revolution is also the revolution for a Free Palestine,” Tareck El Aissami, the interior minister, said at the rally.

On the sidelines of the televised rapprochement on Thursday at the synagogue, one observer, León Benaim, summed up his view of the attack and the government’s reaction to it.
“The motive was simple,” said Mr. Benaim, 73, a Moroccan Jew who moved to Venezuela three decades ago. “It is to threaten and frighten the Jewish community so that we leave.”

Pope Calls Any Denial of Holocaust ‘Intolerable’
The remarks to a Jewish group were among the pope’s strongest since a bishop’s comments set off outrage....

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who also attended the audience, said he had hoped the pope would go even further, and excommunicate Bishop Williamson once again.

“You can’t condemn anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and then reinstate someone who’s a Holocaust denier,” Mr. Foxman said. He called the pope’s statements “significant and very important,” but said they “did not bring closure.”
Geert Wilders, who has compared the Koran to “Mein Kampf,” was ordered to leave Britain on the grounds that his presence endangered public security....

Officials said they were acting under immigration rules adopted last year to screen out visitors who posed a security threat. In a letter handed to Mr. Wilders at Heathrow, the Home Office said he posed “a genuine, present and sufficient threat to the fundamental interests of society.” But he told reporters that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was “the biggest coward in Europe.”

“Democracy means differences and debate,” he said. “Of course I will come back.”

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