This post is intended as a companion piece to my article, Destabilizing Venezuela: Exploring the Zionist Connection. In that article I offered the following observation regarding former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:
There are some admirable leaders on the world stage today. By and large they are the same ones most heavily demonized by the mainstream media. But for standing up and speaking truth to power, Chavez was in a class by himself.
Chavez was a devout Catholic and had at one time intended to become a priest. Yet during his lifetime, he also criticized church leaders in Venezuela for favoring the rich over the poor, and he once referred to Jesus as “the greatest socialist in history.” You can go here to read an article about Chavez’s religious beliefs. It mentions that Chavez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro used to have conversations about religion, and even supplies a quote from Chavez to that effect: “I talk to [Castro] a lot about Christ each time we see each other, and he told me recently, ‘Chávez, I’m Christian in the social sense.’”
It’s an interesting comment. One can almost imagine the conversations between the two heads of state, both, in their own respective manners, champions of justice for the poor. But what I’d like to do in this article is to take some quotes from Chavez and some quotes from Jesus and compare them to each other. Jesus, as all Christians know, was a forthright and outspoken critic of the Pharisees. Chavez was a forthright and outspoken critic of the state of Israel. And if you put their quotes together, you immediately notice some striking similarities.
The quotes from Chavez which you will read below are taken from the following video:
The video apparently was recorded in 2010 some time after Israel’s attack upon the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. This was a flotilla of six ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, which at the time had been under Israeli blockade for several years. Using speedboats and helicopters, Israeli forces, on May 31, surrounded the vessels and forcibly boarded them. On one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, nine people were killed (a tenth later died), all of this taking place in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The quotes from Jesus, on the other hand, are drawn from Chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew. The chapter records a particularly contentious episode between Jesus and the Pharisees, with Jesus accusing the Jewish religious leaders of hypocrisy and murder. As you read the quotes from Jesus and the quotes from Chavez, you might find an odd thought or two popping into your head from time to time…such as, maybe, “Gee, I wonder if they’re talking about the same people!”
At any rate, the comparison makes for an interesting exercise. And if you haven’t yet read my article, Destabilizing Venezuela: Exploring the Zionist Connection, you might consider reading that as well. It discusses, among other things, a 2012 trip to Israel by a Venezuelan opposition figure who held a closed-door meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, as well as attempts by Israeli media, when Chavez was still alive, to brand the Venezuelan leader an anti-Semite.
Chavez: “Imagine Alcala–may God preserve us from it–that it would have happened in Venezuelan waters. We would be already invaded. Be sure that they would have already invaded us! But no, as it’s Israel, they can do anything! So it’s an example of double standards.”
Jesus: “The teachers of the law and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat, so you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
Chavez: “Don’t you see the massacre that the genocidal state of Israel has committed against a group of pacifists, which brought an aid convoy to the Palestinian people, which is at Gaza, encircled from all sides by Israel, who doesn’t even allow them water! They slaughtered people. You saw, didn’t you?”
Jesus: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
Chavez: Now look: the Venezuelan opposition didn’t say anything against Israel! No! Because Israel funds the Venezuelan opposition! Israel funds the counter revolution!
Jesus: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves!
Chavez: I seize this opportunity to condemn one more time, from the bottom of my soul and of my viscera, the state of Israel. Damn you, state of Israel! Damn you, terrorist and assassin!
Jesus: You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
Chavez: In the middle of the night they came down on them with helicopters, with submachine guns, on persons who certainly were sleeping, the majority of them, in international waters. It is a war crime!
Jesus: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
Chavez: They accuse us, us, me; they accuse me of sponsoring terrorism. They are those who sponsor terrorism!
Jesus: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean!
Chavez: Well look at the United States. They said they were ‘preoccupied.’ They are ‘preoccupied.’
Jesus: You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
The name “Pharisees” means “separated ones.” While no Jewish sect today continues to go by that name, it should be noted that the Pharisees of Jesus’ time were purveyors of the so-called “oral law,” which later became the basis for the Talmud. Moreover, the comments of Jesus and Hugo Chavez, 2000 years apart, would seem to point to certain traits and characteristics shared in common between the pharisaic rabbis of old and the Jewish leaders of today.
Yet even so, we should keep in mind that just as there were Jews who followed Jesus and who became instrumental in spreading his teachings (and who were persecuted for doing so), so today there are Jews who have denounced the crimes of the state of Israel and who, likewise, have faced attacks, ostracism, and in some cases, paid an extremely heavy price.
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