Latin American Jewish Leaders Adopt a Political Declaration

Leaders of all the principal Jewish communities of Latin America ended their recent two-day plenary conference here by adopting what was characterized as an unprecedented political document, the “Declaration of Buenos Aires,” which proclaims open support for the democrat is process,, respect for human rights, and favors the peaceful resolution of international conflicts.

The 10-point declaration is of an unprecedented character, according to Manuel Tenenbaum, executive director of the World Jewish Congress Latin American Branch, because it places the Jewish communities of the region on record in explicit support of political, ethical, and humanitarian objectives. Under its terms, the Declaration of Buenos Aires commits the Jewish communities to:

* Support “the processes of political democratization which are taking place In the present institutional evolution of Latin America.”

* Adhere to the “fundamental rights of man and idea of humanist pluralism.”

* Fully agree “with the principle of peaceful solutions for international disputes. “

* Express total solidarity with the State of Israel and denounce those who “libel Israel and the Zionist movement which gave it birth.”

Describing terrorism as “a scourge which afflicts all mankind, ” the declaration also committed the Jewish communities to alert all public opinion against “extremist elements” who, “using the mass media, and in deeds have launched the most deplorable attacks against synagogues and headquarters of Jewish institutions.”

In other provisions, the declaration praises efforts at Jewish-Christian rapprochement on the continent, denounces the treatment of Soviet Jewry and that of Jewish minorities in various countries of the Islamic world. and “calls upon its affiliated bodies to increase all mutual assistance and inter community cooperation encouraging the spread of Jewish education and all means of enriching community life intellectually.”

The Declaration emerged following discussions at the Plenary Assembly of the Latin American Branch of the WJC and issued in its name, as the representative organ of the Jewish communities in the continent. Participants included the leaders of Jewish communities of the nations on the continent as well as the representatives of the Zionist federations, Jewish Agency, Latin American Sephardi Federation, B’nai B’rith, Latin American WIZO, International Council of Jewish Women, HIAS, and the Joint Distribution Committee.

Gregorio Faigon of Buenos Aires is the chairman of the WJC Latin American Branch. The vice chairman are the leaders of the six largest Jewish communities In the region. They are: Sion Cohen Imach of Argentina, Jose Meiches of Brazil, Werner Apt of Chile, Bernard Weitzner of Mexico, Nahum Bergstein of Uruguay, and Ruben Merenfeld of Venezuela.

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