Friday, May 27, 2016

Fidel Castro and the Jews: Two Views

The first view sees a scribbler over at the Brit-Jewish site, the Jewish Chronicle, raving about "vintage" Havana. ("Vintage" is a great way to spin it if you want people to think the shabby-chic of crumbling buildings and Eisenhower presidency-era automobiles is there to make a style statement instead of being a clear indication of the failure of the Communist M.O.) Re the ex-jefe, the scribbler writes:
Fidel Castro extended a friendly hand to the 1,500-strong Jewish community in Cuba. He even attended a Chanucah {sic) celebration once.
Emphasis on the "once".

Here's the second view, which details Fidel's  longstanding efforts to negate the Jewish state:
The recent launch of two colognes, “Ernesto” and “Hugo” (named after Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Hugo Chavez), may bring much needed foreign currency to Havana, while helping to remind the world of the Castro regime’s role in the making of the “Terrorist Internationale.” But no amount of cologne would be able to mask the stench of Cuba’s involvement in anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, anti-Semitic propaganda, and support of global terrorism. 
During and after the Gaza War, Cuba lost no time in reiterating its long-standing support for armed aggression by the Palestinians against Israel.  Most outrageous was the speech given at the UN by the Cuban representative on September 5, which should be watched by our readers. 
This was preceded by Fidel Castro’s lead in signing an August 10 manifesto from international left-wing “dignitaries” supporting Palestine, which demanded that Israel withdraw from “Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.” 
Castro also slammed what he called “Gaza genocide” in the operation, terming Israel “a nuclear power that is at once sophisticated and irresponsible.” 
Israel is frequently reviled by the Latin American left with Cuba in the lead. During the Gaza War with Hamas, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and El Salvador recalled their ambassadors to Israel for consultations, and Bolivia placed Israel on a list of “terrorist states”. On September 2014, Cuba sent six tons of drugs and medical supplies to Hamas in Gaza, and said it was willing to receive Palestinians injured during the fighting. 
Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli demonstrations have been commonplace in Cuba. For example, in January 2014 a “political and cultural event” organized by the embassy of Palestine and the Arab Union of Cuba commemorating the launch of Palestinian armed struggle against Israel in 1965, founded by Yasser Arafat through the establishment of Fatah.  In short, Cuba has long been a supporter of armed struggle against Israel, treating the Palestinian cause as anti-colonial like communist Castro’s own. 
Cuba’s support of Palestinian terrorism and efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state through virulent anti-Semitic propaganda goes back to the 1960s. Palestinian terrorists were identified in Havana as early as 1966, when Castro introduced the PLO at the Tri-Continental Conference in that year, and voted for the resolution passed by the conference to break off all treaties with Israel, for the total economic and cultural ostracism of Israel, and expulsion of Israel from all international organizations...
Given all that, I'm afraid that I'm immune to Havana's "vintage" charms.


Carlos Perera said...

In 1959 (the year that Castro came to power, but before the Communist "reforms" were instated), the Jewish population of Havana alone was 15,000, with appreciable Jewish populations in most Cuban cities. Jews owned many prosperous businesses, large and small, and were overrepresented in the learned professions (as is almost always the case where Jews settle). 95% of the Island's Jewish population fled Cuba in the first few years of the Revolution, so "hospitable" did the Castro government prove to be to Cuba's Jews.

Personal note: When I was a student at the University of Florida in the early 1970s, I got to know several Cuban-American Jewish students. Almost all confessed that they tended either to hide their Cuban origins--not as hard to do as it might seem at first glance, since most Cuban Jews were Ashkenazi immigrants or their descendants, with Central or Eastern European last names--or, if that was not possible, to avoid at all costs sharing their views of the Castro regime with Southeast Florida American Jews, as this would almost invariably result in a heated and rancorous argument that would leave hard feelings all around.

scaramouche said...

Very interesting, CP. Most Canadian Jews I know think Cuba's not so bad--a great place for a cheap vaca and who cares about the communism?

Then again, most Canadian Jews vote Liberal, so I wouldn't say that they were politically astute...