BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Venezuelan actress and model Catherine Fulop compared supporters of President Nicolas Maduro to Jews who helped the Nazis during the Holocaust, and later apologized for her remarks.
Jews were “the fierce torturers of their own people” Fulop said on Thursday during a radio interview. The interview was held on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In explaining the support given to the Maduro regime by some Venezuelans she noted that also Jews collaborated with Adolf Hitler, calling them “sapos” instead of the correct term, kapos, or collaborators.
“Why do you think Hitler survived, because he did it all alone? No, because among the Jews there were the worst, the torturers inside the concentration camps. The ´sapos’ were the Jews themselves who tortured their own people. This is happening in Venezuela,” Fulop said during an interview with Marcelo Longobardi on Radio Mitre, the most listened-to news program on AM radio in Argentina.
The phrase triggered strong criticism on social networks on Thursday.
Meanwhile, senior journalist Samuel “Chiche” Gelblung cried Thursday during a live television broadcast of a show where celebrities meet at a cafe bar and discuss current issues, where Fulop’s statement came up. “It is the greatest offense that can be done to the Jews, shitting on the Holocaust,” Gelblung, who is Jewish, said. “It is unbearable… it is unbearable”
The Argentinean Jewish political umbrella DAIA condemned Fulop’s statement. “It is a despicable comparison, the Shoah is the paradigm of all genocides, which is why we ask that no dictatorship be compared with it, without minimizing what happens in Venezuela,” DAIA president Jorge Knoblovits said.
The actress and model has more than 1.6 million followers on Twitter. She wrote an apology that remains her pinned tweet. “I want to express my deepest apologies to the Jewish community because my expressions of today could be considered offensive or misinterpreted. Without ambiguities, my respect and admiration to the Jewish people, even more so on the day of today’s anniversary of the Shoah #NeverAgain.”
Fulop was accused by attorney Javier Monastersky at the Federal Justice Department of violating Argentine’s anti-discriminatory law.
Also on Thursday, the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires in a statement condemned Fulop’s statements and invited her to visit the museum to understand the importance of not banalizing the Holocaust.