New York (Nov. 8)
Nehemiah Resnizky, immediate past president of the DAIA, the central agency for Argentine Jewry, asserted here Thursday that the DAIA, in cooperation with the then Israeli ambassador, Ram Nirgad intervened with the Argentine government after the arrest of publisher Jacobo Timerman and that the intervention “was the initial impulse of the movement that finally brought about Timerman’s release.”
Resnizky made the statement to a meeting of the plenary council of the World Jewish Congress American section. Timerman was arrested in 1977 and kept in prison, where he reported he was regularly tortured, and was kept under house arrest for 18 months, before being stripped of his citizenship and put on a plane to Israel, where he now resides.
Resnizky asserted that after his release, Timerman, “for reasons of his own, launched a defamation campaign against the Jewish leadership in Argentina,” in articles and in his book,” Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without a Number.” Timerman has since made similar charges in speeches.
Resnizky said Timerman’s charge that the DAIA failed to denounce anti-Semitic activities reported on in “La Opinion,” Timerman’s newspaper, was simply untrue and that Timerman’s charge that the DAIA was “not ready to discuss publicly the meaning of Zionism” was also false.
Resnizky said, contrary to Timerman’s charges that the DAIA had ignored the publisher’s arrest, “we mobilized ourselves,” in cooperation with Nirgad, “from the very moment of Timerman’s arrest,” in a “relentless effort to achieve Timerman’s release and to preserve his personal security.”
Critics of Timerman’s charges of widespread anti-Semitism in the Argentine government have raised the matter of Timerman’s association with David Graiver, a dubious Argentine Jewish financier who had helped finance “La Opinion.” Graiver died in a mysterious plane crash.
Resnizky asserted that DAIA officials “were aware of the fact that the anti-Semitic groups that tried, in 1977, to exploit the Graiver case would also try to make Timerman the target of their anti-Jewish hatred. We believed that, in addition, Timerman was entitled to our help and protection for having defended Jewish interests and opposed anti-Semitism” in “La Opinion.”
TIMERMAN ACCUSED OF DEFAMING ARGENTINE JEWRY
In charging Timerman with defaming the Argentine Jewish community and its leadership, Resnizky declared that “the third day after Timerman’s detention, I personally was received by the then chief of the army and today’s President, General Viola, to whom I conveyed officially the preoccupation of Argentine Jewry regarding the freedom and personal security of Timerman.”
In further rebuttal of Timerman’s charges, Resnizky declared that “we have made public our identification with the State of Israel and the Zionist movement, stating clearly that ‘The Government (of Argentina) knows unequivocally that for Jews there is no difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism’.”
He said “we conveyed to the authorities our concern for Jews who disappeared or were arrested, without opening any judgement on existing or not existing responsibilities.” He added that the issue was raised publicly at a DAIA conference in Cordoba, in May 1979, “when we stated” that “clarification of the delicate problem of the disappeared people ‘would contribute to the pacification’ of the Republic” of Argentina.
He said the DAIA had never remained silent about anti-Jewish incidents, “which we always denounced publicly, within the country and assuming full responsibility and all the risks involved.”
There will not be a JTA Daily Bulletin dated Nov. 11 because of the postal holiday.