Menu JTA Search

B’nai B’rith Leader Denounces Anti-jewish Incidents in Argentina

A world Jewish leader decried what he described as a new wave of violence and anti-Semitism in Argentina. Dr. Daniel Thursz, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, said here that his organization “condemns these crude expressions of hatred” that he indicated may have been inspired by “rightwing extremists seeking to thwart Argentina’s return to democratic rule.”

Thursz was responding to reports of rising sales of virulently anti-Semitic publications, anti-Jewish radio broadcasts — including one on a government-owned station — and sporadic, but increasing, incidents of mob violence. In one such attack, which occurred this year two days before Rosh Hashanah, more than one dozen people carrying axes and other sharp instruments, vandalized a synagogue in the town of Commodore Rivadavia on Argentina’s southeast coast.

RISING SALES OF ANTI-JEWISH TRACTS

The most visible signs of rising anti-Semitism are the increasing sales of anti-Jewish publications, which have stepped up their attacks on Jews, according to reports from Buenos Aires. Nazi and extreme rightwing tracts are openly sold in newspaper kiosks throughout downtown Buenos Aires. One book, “The International Jew,” sold out within a few weeks of hitting the stands, kiosk owners reported.

In addition, several radio programs in Buenos Aires and the provinces recently have featured avowedly racist and Nazi speakers, assailing Argentina’s Jewish community and Israel and praising Adolf Hitler,

Jews have also been the target of a stepped-up campaign of telephone threats. Last month the far-right Giacchino Commando Group issued a communique calling on Argentines to arm themselves and fight the “traitors.”

SAYS DEMOCRACY IS BEST SAFEGUARD

Thursz said that “B’nai B’rith recognizes that the political situation in Argentina is fluid and that the government is in a state of transition. We offer our fullest support for the coming elections of October 30th, which will install the first democratically elected government in a decade. We firmly believe that democracy is the best safeguard of the rights of Jews, other minorities, and all Argentinians.”

All eight of Argentine’s major political parties, including the Peronists, have publicly condemned the anti-Semitism and committed themselves to fighting against it. Thursz said that B’nai B’rith “welcomes their support”.

“We hope and expect that the next President of Argentina will fulfill this pledge by proposing, enacting, and enforcing appropriate legislation to outlaw all forms of discrimination and to provide penalties for any incitation to racial, religious, or ethnic hatred. We believe such action will put the new government on a firm moral footing by warning bigots that their actions will not be tolerated.”

NEXT STORY