Anti-semitic Propaganda in Argentina

Despite Argentina’s shift to a democratic regime, anti-Semitic propaganda is still prevalent and used by rightwing elements as a tool to undermine the new government, according to a report released by the American Jewish Committee.

Jacob Kavadloff, author of the report titled “The Jewish Invasion — A Case History of Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Argentina,” states that the Argentine media have disseminated many “bizarre falsehoods” about alleged international Jewish conspiracies against Argentina.

Kavadloff, who is director of South American Affairs of AJC’s International Relations Department, cited a recent example involving a supposed “Jewish plot” to colonize Patagonia, Argentina’s sparsely populated southern region. He chronicles the following events:

Last January and again in March, a major Argentine news agency distributed a story saying that disguised Israeli explorers were surveying a region of Patagonia for the settlement of 10,000 Israeli and 30,000 Soviet Jews over the next 10 years. The story alleged that this project was approved by the national and local governments.

Several influential papers, some well-known vehicles for rightwing anti-Semitic propaganda, publicized the story, using headlines such as “Patagonia — the New Palestine.”

‘ONE OF THE MANY LIES’

Representatives of the Delegacion de Asociaciones Israelitas de la Argentina (DAIA), the umbrella organization of Argentina’s Jewish community, were unable to uncover any information regarding the source or the validity of the original report.

Dr. David Goldberg, president of the DAIA, called the story “one of the many lies spread by certain organizations with clearly anti-Semitic leanings and a general antidemocratic stance.” Last August, the DAIA published a 46-page booklet titled: “The Jewish Invasion — A New Anti-Semitic Fraud.”

Despite all efforts, Kovadloff adds, the story of this Jewish Invasion remained intact.

The Patagonia controversy was not new, the AJC report pointed out. It dated back to 1939, when it was believed Nazi Germany planned to detach Patagonia from Argentina as a site for future colonization. This idea was revived in 1971 by Walter Beveraggi Allende, who wrote a highly publicized article revealing a supposed Jewish plot to establish a Jewish state in Patagonia.

Beveraggi recently sued Goldberg for libel over the DAIA’s claim that he is an anti-Semite. He has admitted, however, to being anti-Zionist, the report states.

A two-year-old anti-discrimination bill, which would have subjected Beveraggi to prosecution, is still pending in the Argentine Senate, and the Jewish community there is waiting anxiously to see how his case will be handled, the report concludes.

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