BUENOS AIRES (Sep. 30)
Interior Minister Gen. Albano E. Harguindeguy has assured the Jewish community that “adverse opinions” regarding its solidarity and devotion to Israel are not shared by the Argentine government and people. “I am convinced that the Argentinian Jews are very much aware which are the limits between filial devotion (to Israel) and our duties as Argentine citizens and only a mischievous reading of these limits could cause critical judgements,” he said.
Harguindeguy’s comments were published in the Jewish weekly, Mundo Israelita, in the form of responses to written questions submitted to the Minister by the editors. The interview was clearly intended to elicit the government’s attitudes toward the Jewish community which has become increasingly concerned over the upsurge of anti-Semitic propaganda and vandalism by right-wing groups and charges of dual loyalty levelled against Argentine Jews who support Israel.
Asked if the government agreed with the “calumny” that Argentine Jews are outside the mainstream of the country, Harguindeguy replied: “The government has at no moment whatever questioned the Jewish community. The only enemies of the country are corruption and subversion. If I may make a suggestion, I would say the Jewish community should show and make known the freedom within which they develop. Thus, they will counteract tendentious reports from abroad which attempt to insist on nonexistent racial persecution.”
PRAISES CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATION
The Minister implied that the relatively small rate of Jewish emigration from Argentina to Israel indicated the Jewish community’s strong integration into national life. “I have the impression that your community, in comparison with the communities in other nations, is one of those who have contributed less in terms of human potential in the formation of the State of Israel,” he told Mundo Israelita. “This shows not only their rootedness within the Argentine nation but also that the conditions in which they develop their social, religious and economic life are very favorable,” he said.
Harguindeguy defended the government against charges in the daily La Prensa that it had taken only half-hearted measures to fight racism when it recently suspended publication and distribution of anti-Semitic periodicals put out by Editorial Milicia. La Prensa claimed in an editorial that some of the paragraphs in the suspension Jewish were restrained rather than openly condemnatory of Milicia’s hate literature.
Questioned about this by Mundo Israelita, the interior Minister said: “I think La Prensa is unjust. Condemnation has been express and categorical regarding banning of distribution, sale and circulation of the publications questioned, confiscation of copies and closure of publishing houses. The government took this step fully convinced of its need in order to preserve the moral and political health of the nation.”