Daniel Jadue, Communist Party Frontrunner in Chile’s Presidential Election, Unmoved by Parliamentary Resolution Denouncing Him as ‘Antisemitic’
The Communist Party frontrunner in the current polling for November’s presidential elections in Chile, Daniel Jadue, has been denounced in a parliamentary resolution on antisemitism, as details emerged of a high-school year book entry that appeared to celebrate his antisemitic convictions as a teenager.
The motion censuring Jadue — the 54-year-old grandson of Palestinian immigrants to Chile — was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, with 79 votes in favor and 47 against. Introduced by members of the conservative Independent Democratic Union (UDI), the resolution specifically called on “the candidate for the presidency, Mr. Daniel Jadue, to publicly and categorically refute the statements made in the biographical sketch in his school yearbook, which classify him as antisemitic.”
A yellowing copy of the 1983 year book containing Jadue’s entry was published on Twitter last week by Prof. Gabriel Zaliasnik, a former head of the 20,000-strong Chilean Jewish community.
“His own classmates defined him as an ‘antisemite,'” Zaliasnik remarked.
Written in a humorous and affectionate style by Jadue’s fellow students, the year book entry noted his desire to “cleanse the city of Jews,” and suggested that a suitable gift would be “a Jew for to him to use as target practice.”
Jadue was defiant following the Chamber of Deputies resolution excoriating him, declaring on Twitter: “A country in the midst of a health and economic crisis, hundreds of deaths a day, families can’t make ends meet, but right-wing deputies vote for me to explain what others wrote [about me], in a school yearbook, 35 years ago! Get serious!” He did not discuss, much less apologize for, the antisemitic content of the entry.
Separately, the Chilean news outlet Infinita posted a video of Jadue commenting on the controversy on Wednesday evening. Wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, a relaxed-looking Jadue claimed that the text in the yearbook had been written by a “schools inspector,” and that he had been offended by it at the time.
An election poll published at the end of May in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio showed Jadue emerging as the winner in November’s presidential contest in several different scenarios. In terms of voting intentions, Jadue had the support of 38 percent of those polled, while his nearest rival, UDI candidate Joaquín Lavín, scored 33 percent.
With up to 500,000 citizens of Palestinian origin living in Chile, the Latin American country is home to the largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world. Over the last decade especially, Chile has emerged as a key center of anti-Israel activity, as well as the site of broader concerns about rising antisemitism that have crystallized around Jadue’s candidacy.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) included Jadue on its “top ten” list of global antisemitic incidents in 2020.
The SWC cited Jadue’s record of antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric targeting Chilean Jews. Past comments include accusing Chilean Jewish leaders of being “agents of Israel … importing the strife” and remarking, “I get along very well with Jews, it’s Zionists I have certain problems with.”