Same playbook, different pages. Bashir’s playing defense: having obtained the power he wants and embraced mass murder as an instrument of governance, all he needs now is to keep the west off his back. Enter the Jew card, always a surefire way of rallying Muslim opinion to one’s side. He’s done it before and now he’s done it again:

In statements that appeared to be more in keeping with 1920s anti-Semitism than statesmanship, Field Marshal al-Bashir added that Israeli influence was at the center of the conflict, and all the world’s disputes.

“You cannot at all rule out the Israeli role in any problem that any Arab country is facing because the security of Israel is based on weakening Arab states,” he said.

“Israel would do everything through their media and their different mechanisms – you can’t deny they have such influence in circles all over the world so they can do what they want.”

He also praised Saddam’s regime as a model of “stability.”

Chavez is playing offense. He’s been relying on “soft thuggery” with economic threats and a carefully cultivated “dependency culture”, but he wants more power and could use an issue to demagogue. Enter the Jew card, which not only gives him an easy scapegoat but no doubt pleases his pals in Tehran to no end:

When Nathalie Mizrahi left Israel to visit her hometown in Venezuela, she found something entirely new: widespread anti-Semitism.

Rhetoric attacking Israel abounded in public demonstrations and the media. On walls she saw scrawled “Death to the Jews!” “It’s disturbing, because it didn’t use to be like this at all,” said the 26-year-old Hebrew University student…

Examples [of anti-semitism] included the vandalizing of Jewish buildings in Caracas, including those of the Israelite Association of Venezuela and the Hebraica community center, on at least four recent occasions…

Chavez himself was quoted as making statements such as: “Israel was committing a genocide in Lebanon and its leaders should be held responsible and should be judged by an international tribunal… The Israelis criticize Hitler but have done something worse.”

Melanie Phillips pointed today to this editorial in a pro-Chavez Venezuelan paper from early September. Quote:

The genocide they executed in Palestine and Lebanon is similar to the Holocaust which the Nazis executed against them, and they will undergo another Holocaust because of the global hatred they are accumulating…

Israelis are lying when they say they are the favored people of God; on the contrary, because they are always at war and without their own land, it seems that they are marked for having destroyed Jesus Christ.

Anti-Chavez forces are so worried about him fixing the vote of the upcoming election that they persuaded the authorities to add paper receipts to the voting machines. Which brings us to the exit question. Which is more depressing: that Chavez might win by rigging the election? Or that he might win without having to do so?

Tags: Israel