WASHINGTON (Jul. 25)
President Reagan has deplored anti-Semitic acts in Nicaragua, citing the fact that “virtually the entire Jewish community has been frightened into exile” by the Sandinista regime.
The President made the comment last week at a White House briefing addressed by Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of the Latin American Affairs Department of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and Isaac Stavisky, a member of the Nicaraguan Jewish community who was forced into exile.
According to Rosenthal, Reagan told the briefing organized by the White House Outreach Group on Central America that the repressions against the Nicaraguan Jewish community is the consequence of a “self-proclaimed blood unity between the Sandinistas and the PLO” whose “results are evident for all the world to see and are an evil echo of history.”
TEXT OF REAGAN’S REMARKS
The text of the President’s remarks on anti-Semitism in Nicaragua was as follows, according to Rosenthal:
“The results of the self-proclaimed blood unity between the Sandinistas and the PLO are evident for all the world to see and are an evil echo of history. Virtually the entire Jewish community of Nicaragua has been frightened into exile. Their synagogue, which had its doors torched by Sandinista supporters in 1978, has since been confiscated and turned into offices of a Sandinista organization.
“Please share the truth that Communism in Central America means not only the loss of political freedom but of religious freedom as well.”
The President’s remarks followed statements on the Nicaraguan Jewish situation by Rosenthal and Stavisky before an audience of 250 persons representing various organizations invited to the White House briefing.
NO PRIOR ANTI-SEMITIC PROBLEMS
Stavisky, speaking in behalf of the Nicaraguan Jewish community, asserted that Nicaraguan Jews had no anti-Semitic problems until the Sandinistas started their revolution. He said that a favorite tactic was to anonymously phone Jewish homes with warnings that “We are going to get you Jews.” The clandestine Sandinista radio announced that the Honorary Consul of Israel would be executed, forcing him to flee one year before the Sandinistas came to power.
The clearest message of Sandinista intentions against the Jewish community, said Stavisky, was the arson attack on the synagogue, in 1978, while Jews were worshipping inside. “This was an especially traumatic experience for members of the Jewish community who were survivors because it evoked terrible memories which they thought they had put behind them when they fled from Nazi terrors and found refuge in Nicaragua.”
Rosenthal asserted that the “government dissembled when it justified the confiscation of the synagogue by claiming that it was the property of an individual.” Rosenthal produced a deed to the synagogue property showing that the Congregacion Israelita de Nicaragua held title.