Chilean mayor under fire for calling Judaism ‘supremacist’
JTA – The mayor of a Chilean municipality is under fire for calling Judaism a “supremacist” religion and comparing it to Nazism.
Daniel Jadue, the mayor of Recoleta outside of the capital of Santiago, made the comments last week while attending an event centred on Chilean journalist Pablo Jofré Leal’s book, Zionism: The ideology That Exterminates. His comments were recorded on video, which he shared on X, formerly Twitter, last week.
“Being Jewish starts from a conception that has to do with the supremacist conception of being part of a chosen people, so, if you’re already part of a chosen people you don’t believe in the equality of all human beings before anything, right?” he said. “Well, here we are faced with an ideology that I believe is the most Nazi thing I have seen in my life.”
Jadue, who is of Palestinian descent and is a Marxist politician and self-declared communist, also said it was a “contradiction” to be both Jewish and a leftist, though he also said he had “many friends” who are leftist Jews.
In an opinion piece written in a local publication, Carmen Hertz, a Chilean communist Party politician and human rights lawyer, and Miguel Lawner, a prominent architect who worked for Salvador Allende’s leftist Popular Unity government until Allende’s 1973 assassination and the coup d’état by Augusto Pinochet, criticised Jadue’s comments and called it “inconceivable” that Judaism and leftism were incompatible. The authors, who are both of Jewish descent, demanded that he apologise for his comments.
“You will understand that it is paradoxical, extraordinarily contradictory, and aggravating for us to hear the words uttered by our comrade, Daniel Jadue, stating that he considers it a contradiction to be Jewish and hold left-wing ideas,” Hertz and Lawner wrote.
They also pointed out that Jadue had recently signed a declaration by Chileans of Palestinian and Jewish origin condemning the war in Gaza. Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East.
“I respect Carmen and Miguel, but they are wrong,” Jadue responded in a post on X. “At the presentation of the book, I commented on the type of discussion I have had with left-wing Jewish friends. The allusion to the Nazis is not to them but to the ideology that the book breaks down.
“I regret this false controversy, and I don’t accept the cancellation that is sought through a right-wing media, widely replicated, while thousands of innocents continue to be murdered by Israel in the midst of a genocidal occupation.”
Jadue has been accused of making antisemitic remarks in the past. In 2021, his high school yearbook page was unearthed, in which classmates wrote that the best gift they could give him was “a Jew to target”. Other notes in the yearbook described him as an “antisemite”, and said he was destined to become “chief of the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organisation], to clean the city of Jews”. He has also referred to the country’s Jewish community as the “Zionist community”, and has said, “I get along very well with Jews … I have some problems with Zionists.”
In response to the yearbook affair and a demand from the Chilean Chamber of Deputies at the time that he deny the allegations of antisemitism, Jadue posted “Get serious” on Twitter, and portrayed the controversy as a distraction ginned up by right-wing politicians.
Last week, Jadue drew a parallel between Israel and Nazi Germany, posting a clip in which someone tears down a poster of Adolf Hitler to reveal Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his place, giving a Nazi salute. The text accompanying the post read, “Never again!”