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Argentine Jewish Leadership Dealing Responsibly with Current Situation

An American Jewish leader who participated in the 13th plenary meeting of the Latin American Jewish Congress here, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his talks with local community leaders indicated that Jews are aware that they are living in an abnormal situation in Argentina today.

According to Philip Klutznick, chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress and an honorary president of B’nai B’rith, “the Jewish leadership here is viewing its problems without hysteria and with a high degree of thoughtfulness and responsibility” (See related story P. 4.)

Klutznick, who left for Santiago, Chile following the three-day LAJC meeting, acknowledged that he had no time to make an extensive personal study of conditions in Argentina. He said he based his views on talks he had with the leaders of the DAIA and the Buenos Aires Jewish community. “As one of the principal officers of the World Jewish Congress I am bound by our commitment not to interfere in domestic affairs where there exists an organized and operating Jewish community.” Klutznick told the JTA.

Beyond that, however, he said that “everyone abroad knows that there is concern about the conditions in this country and this is more than a mere, narrow view of what is a very broad political and economic problem. I find that the Jewish leadership here is viewing its problems without hysteria and with a high degree of thought fulness and responsibility. As in all matters of this consequence, there are understandable shades of differences of evaluation among the people I spoke to.” Klutznick said.

He said that when he completed his visit to Chile he would have “a more comprehensive understanding of conditions prevailing not in Argentina alone but also in a number of other Jewish communities affected by what happens in Latin America.”

DELEGATES FROM NINE COUNTRIES

Klutznick, a former member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations with the rank of Ambassador, and Sol Kanee, of Winnipeg, Canada, treasurer of the World Jewish Congress, were among the guests from North America invited to participate in the Latin American Jewish Congress plenary. The meeting was attended by about 60 delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Ghile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

They represented Jewish communities, Zionist federations, youth groups, women’s groups and the Latin American Sephardic Federation. The topics discussed included Third World programs, youth activities and anti-Semitism. There was a round-table discussion on the future of Latin American Jewry and a special session was devoted to “40 years of the World Jewish Congress.”

The question of anti-Semitic publications in Argentina was raised at one session. It was noted that although the government has closed down Editorial Milicia, the leading propagator of anti-Semitic hate literature in the country, a new publishing house called Ediciones Odal reproduced a booklet originally put out by Editorial Milicia, but with a modified cover.

The LJC unanimously resolved to award its Human Rights Prize to Dr. Alberto Lieras Camargo, two-time President of Colombia and a former secretary general of the Organization of American States.

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