BUENOS AIRES (Oct. 13)
A three-day seminar on human relations was held here with the participation of delegates representing Jewish organizations in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and the United States. The gathering, organized by the Argentine Jewish Institute for Culture and Information, was the first of its kind on the continent. Its opening session took up a problem that has been the source of growing concern among Latin American Jewry — anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments.
Participants from the U.S. included Dr. Bertram Gold, executive vice president of the American Jewish Committee, and Dr. Simon Segal, director of the AJ Committee’s foreign affairs department. Another speaker was Father Jorge Mejia, chairman of the department for ecumenism of the Latin American Ecumenical Council. Father Mejia’s group is interested in furthering Judeo-Christian dialogues and is studying revisions in Christian religious texts where anti-Jewish bias is found. He urged patience and understanding on the part of Christians and trust on the part of Jews.
The seminar was told that anti-Semitic incidents in Argentina have declined sharply in the past two years despite recent swastika daubings on Jewish cemetery walls and a fire, attributed by Jewish organizations to terrorists, that destroyed the $2 million Israel pavilion at the international trade fair in Buenos Aires on Sept. 24. During the past year of President Juan Ongania’s regime, only a half dozen serious incidents have been recorded compared to more than 100 during the regime of his predecessor, President Arturo Illia. But, Dr. Segal noted, “under the Illia Administration there were a few Jews holding Government positions and now there do not seem to be any.” Delegates from Chile reported that Jews there are concerned with an alleged increase of anti-Israel commentary by the Marxist press. Uruguayan Jews said they were worried about political upheavals in their country because “as a minority we are the first to suffer whenever there is turmoil.”