Maduro, who has succeeded the late Hugo Chavez, said that his grandparents were Sephardic Jews and that his government is critical of Israeli policy rather than the Jewish people.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
Chavez himself also stoked controversy after state media and Chavez supporters tried to discredit election challenger Henrique Capriles last year for his Jewish heritage. Capriles, who ran against Chavez in last year’s presidential election, is the grandson of Holocaust survivors.
A director for the Anti-Defamation League said Chavez and his government used anti-Semitic rhetoric as a divisive political tool to scapegoat Jews, with Chavez holding a number of conspiracy theories, among them accusing Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency of trying to kill him.