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Vol. 81/No. 3      January 16, 2017


Fidel Castro: Israel has the right to exist as Jewish state

Since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Party have made sharp distinctions between the policies of the capitalist government of Israel, the right of the Jewish state to exist, and the rights of the Jewish people, both there and in Cuba.

“I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews,” Fidel Castro told Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for the Atlantic magazine, in a September 2010 interview. “The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust.”

In the interview, Goldberg wrote, Castro criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then-president of Iran, for denying the Holocaust and “explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the ‘unique’ history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.”

“Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms,” Castro said, referring to waves of bloody anti-Jewish riots in Russia and eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation.”

Cuba’s revolutionary government has strongly opposed Tel Aviv’s assaults and discrimination against Palestinians. But Castro responded, “Yes, without a doubt,” when Goldberg asked if he thought Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state.

A few days after the interview appeared, Castro spoke at a presentation of his book The Strategic Counteroffensive at the University of Havana. The Cuban leader responded to criticism he had received for meeting with Goldberg, praising Goldberg’s journalism and reconfirming his statements condemning Jew-hatred.

Castro’s position stands on the continuity of Cuba’s revolutionary leadership. In June 1967, Ricardo Alarcón, Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations, condemned Israel’s military capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights at a special General Assembly session. Alarcón opened his remarks by saying that Cuba “objects to any political proclamation which advocates the destruction of any people or state. This principle is applicable to the Palestinian people … unjustly deprived of its territory, as well as the Jewish people, which for 2,000 years have suffered racial prejudice and persecution, and during the recent Nazi period, one of the most cruel attempts at mass extermination.”

“True revolutionaries never threaten to exterminate a whole country,” Castro said a few months later, referring to statements by the Arab regimes in the 1967 war. “This kind of propaganda … helped the Israeli leadership to mobilize the patriotism of their people,” he said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde.
Related articles:
Obama’s attacks on Israel boost Jew-hatred
Capitalist rulers in Mideast shift allies while toilers face catastrophe
Changes in Jewish population of select countries since 1933
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