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Anti-semitic Play by Jews Scored in Argentina

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A play with serious anti-Semitic implications, written by two Jews and staged by two others, has aroused a storm of controversy here. Titled “Jew or Innocent,” it is being performed by the “Xirgu” Theater. The critic of La Prensa, one of Argentina’s leading newspapers, called it “a rapid training course in anti-Semitism.”

As the title implies, the play presents a fictitious courtroom proceeding in which the prosecutor accuses Jews of being God-killers, usurers and racists. The case for the “prosecution” lasts three times as long as the “defense,” and the lines given the “defense” attorney are weak and apologetic, according to persons who have seen the play. The Jewish School Committee, which booked a benefit performance of the play on the basis of its Jewish authorship, Issued a statement claiming it was duped.

The play was written by Matilde Bensignor and Ricardo Halac, both Jews. The choreography and scenery were the work of two other Jews, Lia Jelin and Carlos Cyntrynowski. Critics of the play pointed out that the very title indicates presumption of guilt. The “defense” counsel has lines mentioning the Nazi holocaust and the Vatican II injunction against anti-Semitism. But he also states at one point, “The vampires are not only Jews”; at another he asks, “Why is it that if a Jew goes to Israel all Jews are called traitors?” The implication is that Jews who go to Israel are ipso facto traitors.

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