56 House Members Urge Argentine President to End Anti-semitism

Fifty-six members of the House representing both the Democratic and Republican parties have signed a letter calling on President Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina “to make every effort to end anti-Semitic terrorism in your country.” The letter, initiated by Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY), was signed by 49 Democrats and six Republicans and others may sign it before it is actually transmitted, probably tomorrow, to Buenos Aires.

Expressing their “deep concern” about the “shootings and bombings of Jewish institutions and businesses in Argentina” and the kidnapping of several prominent Jews, the letter says that these “incidents of violent anti-Semitism” are “repugnant to Americans and people of good will everywhere.” It noted that Videla himself had “expressed opposition to these actions.”

In their letter, the legislators said the attacks “have reportedly been condoned and even encouraged by some groups within the Argentine military and police forces.” It also stated that “the distribution of Nazi literature within Argentina has increased sharply in recent months.”

LODGE PROTEST WITH ARGENTINE ENVOY

In a related action, a group of prominent Americans concerned with civil liberties in Latin America lodged a protest last Friday in New York with the Argentine Ambassador to the United Nations against what they termed the Argentine government’s inaction in countering anti-Semitic assaults. The delegation was led by Prof. Richard Falk of the Institute of International Affairs at Princeton University, and Peter Weiss, a New York civil liberties attorney.

Argentine Ambassador Carlos Ortiz de Rozas told the delegation that his government deplored anti-Semitism and denied that the government had an official or unofficial policy tolerating the attacks although he did not indicate what steps had been taken to apprehend those responsible. A group calling itself the Argentine National Socialist Front has taken public responsibility for the anti-Semitic assaults as part of a campaign of extermination against “the Jewish-Bolshevik plutocracy” which it holds responsible for Argentina’s current economic and political difficulties.

Other members of the delegation included: Dore Ashton, professor of art history at Cooper Union; Bernard Rifkin, vice-president of the Distributive Workers of North America. District 65; Don Luce, director of Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC); and Elizabeth Lang, an aide to Congresswoman Holtzman.

Following the meeting with the Argentine Ambassador, the delegation met with Marc Schreiber, director of the Human Rights Division of the UN Secretariat. Schreiber asked the delegation to submit a detailed brief concerning the violations of the Declaration of Human Rights of the UN Charter involved in the Argentine incidents and promised to initiate inquiries into the situation.

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