Buenos Aires (Dec. 7)
If one wished to indulge in hyperbole one might at this time exclaim: At last the Jewish colonists in Argentine are coming into their own. In fact, there is a great deal of truth in this, if one stops for a moment to consider the strange predicament under which the Jewish colonists here have labored for years.
Ever since the Ica has been doing its work of colonizing Jews as farmers in Argentine it has followed the policy of belittling the very men whom it helped settle on the land, so that whereas the Jewish colonists have achieved wonders in their work of building up splendid colonies, which excel in beauty, efficiency and productivity the non-Jewish colonies in the country, public opinion and, particularly, the government have always regarded them with a deprecating attitude. This is not the place to describe the reasons for the policy of the Ica in spreading the impression that its colonists were unreliable, inefficient, etc. But such was the fact and the colonists suffered in consequence. They made attempts to explain their case in the press, they sent memorandums to the Minister of Agriculture and even delegated their representatives to see the Minister personally on this matter, but all their efforts were in vain. The word of the Ica went further.
Now, however, something has happened which has helped to vindicate the cause of the Jewish colonists better than any memoranda or delegations could have done.
No doubt you have read in the newspapers about the Agricultural Exposition which was opened here recently. This is not the first exposition of the kind in Argentine. Every year there in such an exposition here. But this is the first time that the government permitted the exposition to be held in a Jewish town, Bassal Vibosa. The significance of this for the Jewish farmers cannot be overestimated. Bassal Vibosa is situated in the very heart of the Jewish colonies and its population is composed of about 90 per cent Jewish. So that the exposition this year bears almost a Jewish character, one might say. It gave the Jewish colonists the first real opportunity to show Argentine, the people and the government, what they have accomplished in the field of agriculture. And it cannot be denied that they have made a very favorable impression.
The exposition is like a Jewish celebration. The Governor of the province attended the opening ceremonies and there were representatives from the Ministries of Justice and Agriculture, who delivered addresses in which the Jewish colonists and their achievements in the field of agriculture were praised very highly. The official representative of the Argentine government pointed out very emphatically that the Jews have proven by their splendid accomplishments that they are capable, industrious farmers. Following the address the government’s representative and his entire staff visited the synagogue of Bassal Vibosa atop of which swayed in the breeze the Jewish flag. The governor of the province made a prolonged tour of inspection of the Jewish colonies, in the course of which he visited a number of well known Jewish farmers.
No wonder the Jewish colonists are celebrating this occurrence as one of the historical events in their lives.