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Jews Made Scapegoats for Chile’s Economic and Political Troubles

Chilean Jews, because of a few in sensitive government positions, are finding themselves increasingly involved in the strife between the Marxist regime of President Salvador Allende and the powerful opposition factions which are making Jews scapegoats for the nation’s economic and political troubles.

The opposition is using the Jewish ancestry of certain government officials to exploit the mistakes and failures of the regime although the Chilean Jewish community has always maintained strict neutrality in political matters. That neutrality was recently reaffirmed in a statement signed by Dr Gil Sinay, president of the Representative Committee of Chilean Jews.

(The attacks on Jews and Sinay’s statement occurred prior to today’s military coup which toppled the government of President Salvador Allende Gossens, bombed the Presidential palace and the President’s home. There was no immediate indication as to the political fate of government officials–Jewish and non-Jewish.)

The targets of opposition criticism have been Jews in such controversial offices as assistant secretary of transportation which recently faced a strike of transport workers; the director of electric services which interrupted opposition broadcasts; and managers of the state-owned copper mines who have been in conflict with mine workers.

CHARGE JEWS MADE WAR AGAINST ARAB COMMUNITY

The newspaper, La Prensa, organ of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, recently published an article under the anonymous signature, “Historiada” which charged that “a cell of Jewish and Communist extraction has made racial war against the Arab community, especially their textile companies.” The article was strongly protested by Sinay. The newspaper explained that it had not intended to make political-racial generalizations but to point out “the contradiction of persons who belong to a race that is attacked and persecuted in the Soviet Union standing for this (Communist) credo in Chile.”

The newspaper, El Siglo, organ of the Communist Party, attacked the opposition paper and published the Jewish community protest. Dr. Allende himself publicly denounced the anti-Semitic campaign and pledged his government to fight racist manifestations. Fernando Sanhueza, a past president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the Christian Democratic Party, protested to La Prensa. The paper, however, repeated the explanation it gave previously.

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