Drinan Expresses View That Anti-semitism is Rife in Argentina

Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D.Mass.) believes that anti-Semitism in Argentina may be a good deal worse than the Jewish community there dares to acknowledge. He made that assessment in an article published in the Jewish Advocate this week. The article was based on his visit to Argentina last month as a member of a three-person study team commissioned by Amnesty International to investigate the state of political prisoners and religious persecution in Argentina.

Drinan, who is a Roman Catholic priest, wrote that many observers hope that the recent wave of synagogue bombings, attacks on Jewish students and anti-Semitic graffiti are only incidents “reflective of the unstable political and economic conditions in Argentina. But their hopes may not be well founded.”

Asserting that “anti-Semitism has almost been endemic in Argentina over the past several decades,” he said its most recent manifestation has been the flood of anti-Semitic literature over the past 18 months, much of it originating with neo-Nazi groups in West Germany. He said that the West German Ambassador “has expressed acute embarrassment at the broad dissemination of anti-Semitic books originally published in his nation.”

Drinan wrote that despite disclaimers, “I received the impression in Argentina that perhaps overt and covert anti-Semitism might well be a good deal more severe than members of the Jewish community ordinarily reveal. Jewish citizens in Argentina are understandably reluctant to say or do anything which would identify the Jewish community as involved in any way in criticism of the present regime.”

According to Drinan, while Argentine officials point to constitutional bans against religious persecution, “one cannot avoid the impression that there are forces and factions in Argentina which would be prepared to blame the nation’s economic and political problems on the tiny minority of Jews in a nation of 25 million citizens.”

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