Organization of Children of Holocaust Survivors Condemns U.S. Involvement in El Salvador

The Generation After TGA), an organization of predominantly children of Holocaust survivors, today condemned United States involvement in El Salvador and offered what it saw as the “Jewish stake in the El Salvador question”

Mark Isaacs, TGA spokesman, said he believed his organization is the first to break “the silence in the Jewish community over the question of El Salvador and the first organization in the community to officially oppose U.S. involvement in that tiny Central American country.”

A resolution adopted by TGA declared: “The time has come for concerned Jews to express solidarity with the plight of the people of El Salvador. In the name of justice, we call for a cessation of all military and economic aid from the United States to the Duarte junta of El Salvador.”

Isaacs cited the domestic plight of El Salvadoreans, not Communist infiltration, as the major source of violence: infant mortality rate is the highest in Central America; the top five percent of the population has 38 percent of the income; less than two percent of the people own more than half of the arable land; workers and peasants earn $90 a year on the average.

“El Salvador,” Isaacs said, “is characterized by a particularly savage history of political repression. An oligarchy–’The Fourteen Families–has owned the land for a century and has used the armed forces to keep the peasant in line.”

Shirley Ranz, a member of TGA, said she has evidence that members of El Salvador’s National Guard “study training manuals originally used to drill the Nazi Wehrmacht” to perpetrate atrocities daily against its citizens. “Why hasn’t a meeting of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council been convened to condemn the U.S. backed genocide in El Salvador?” she asked. “This, along with its silence on Nazi war criminals, makes me feel, as a daughter of Holocaust survivors, embarrassed by and angry at the Council.”

THE JEWISH STAKE IN THE ISSUE

Isaacs and Ranz outlined what TGA saw as the “Jewish stake in the El Salvador Question”:

“A major lesson of the Holocaust is that Jews must actively oppose fascism and totalitarianism everywhere if they are to be safe anywhere; the Reagan Administration is sending millions of U.S. citizens’ tax dollars to the junta which practices genocide against its people, while enacting budget cuts that are hurting the Jewish poor and elderly, among others, in the U.S., and proposing to sell AWACS to Saudi Arabia; by sanctioning the Reagan Administration’s policy, Jews can not expect anyone to take seriously their own demands to stop the persecution of Jews in Ethiopia, Argentina, Russia, and elsewhere; by getting involved early in the growing activist movement against U.S. involvement in El Salvador as an audible Jewish voice, Jewish organizations can prevent pro-PLO groups (should they exist in the movement) from turning that movement into an anti-Israel circus.”

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