ADL Reports Record Levels of Anti-semitism in Argentina

The B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League has advised a Congressional body that its independent monitoring has revealed “record levels of anti-Semitism” in Argentina and “an organized campaign designed to discredit and intimidate the Jews” of that country. Burton S. Levinson, chairman of the ADL’s Latin American affairs committee, offered that testimony last week before the House International Relations Committee’s subcommittee on international organizations.

Levinson said his agency felt the “responsibility to speak, even if unasked by the Jews of Argentina.” He noted that there have been at least 50 incidents of violence, terror, bombings, murder and abduction during the past 18 months aimed against Jews or Jewish institutions in Argentina. He claimed that “a massive propaganda effort” was launched about March, 1975 to persuade the Argentine people “that Jews are a threat to the economic, social and political life of the country.”

Levinson said the campaign included reviving the notorious “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” forgery and the spurious allegation that Jews planned to establish a separate state in part of Argentina. He quoted “an inflammatory poem” published in the Argentine hate magazine, El Caudillo, which, he said, was a clear-cut call for physical violence against Jews.

Levinson told the subcommittee that the ADL had raised these matters at a resent “cordial and constructive meeting” with the Argentine Ambassador to the U.S., Arnaldo T. Musich. He noted that shortly after the meeting, the Argentine government took “a significant first step” by closing down Editorial Milicia, a publishing house that produced anti-Semitic periodicals and was the principal source of Nazi books in Argentina.

DENUNCIATIONS AIRED IN BUENOS AIRES

Meanwhile according to reports from Buenos Aires, the ADL and others were angrily denounced by the morning newspaper Prensa Libre for interfering in Argentina’s internal affairs and making unfounded charges that Argentine Jews suffered persecution. The newspaper, described as a small circulation daily, named Levinson and Father James Weeks, a representative of the United States Catholic Conference, who also testified on conditions in Argentina before the House subcommittee.

Prensa Libre demanded that the B’nai B’rith ADL be declared “non grata” in Argentina and that all of its activities in that country be suspended. “The United States, moved by who knows what interests, interferes in internal matters of a nation it considers weaker,” Prensa Libre charged.

“Burton Levinson stated that 400-500,000 Jews living in Argentina are the objects of an increasing anti-Semitic campaign….Those who live here know exactly that it is not true that in Argentina anybody is persecuted for his religious ideas and even less the Jewish community, which always has received equal treatment given to all Argentines, and has received all manner of dignities and functions, like the rest of the citizenry.” Prensa Libre stated. It declared that the U.S. House of Representatives “has no right to patronize any investigation against our country and even less regarding human rights.”

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