World Synagogue Council Affirms Anti-semitism in Argentina

The World Council of Synagogues has adopted a resolution affirming reports of serious anti-Semitism in Argentina. The resolution, adopted at the annual board meeting of the international organization of Conservative synagogues, observed that while “there may be a valid discussion as to the best method of combating anti-Semitism, there cannot, however, be a minimization of the existence of anti-Semitism in Argentina.”

The resolution expressed “great concern that the fundamental problems relating to the Jews in Argentina are being obscured by the debate over a single individual who, in contravention of any standard of human rights, was subjected to great torture.” The reference was apparently to Jacobo Timerman, former editor and publisher of the Argentine daily La Opinion, whose book “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number” describes the torture and indignities he experienced during 30 months of incarceration in Argentina without trial or any charges being brought against him.

Timerman has charged in his book and in public statements since his release last year that he and other Jews held by the Argentine authorities were subjected to greater cruelties than non-Jewish political prisoners because they are Jews. But the organized Jewish community in Argentina and conservative Jews in the U.S. who support the Reagan Administration’s policy of not publicly condemning “friendly authoritarian” regimes for human rights violations, have disputed Timerman’s contention the military junta ruling Argentina condones anti-Semitism.

The World Council of Synagogues noted however that a delegation of about 40 of its representatives who visited Argentina last year and spoke to all segments of the Jewish community there reached “the inescapable conclusion … that anti-Semitism is part of the fabric of life in Argentina.”

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