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Argentine Public Shocked by Catholic Cleric’s Anti-semitic Statements

Blatantly anti-Semitic statements made by a ranking member of the Catholic hierarchy in the course of an attack on the democratic regime of President Raul Alfonsin have shocked the Jewish community and the general public.

Msgr. Antonio Plaza, former Archbishop of La Plata, charged that “The government is full of Jews.” He went on to say, “Those people of the government made us squander three years discussing those issues (human rights) and mistreating the people. There are many Jews in the government of Alfonsin and I do not know whether there is anyone left who is not Jewish.”

Plaza was obviously referring to the efforts to prosecute members of the former military junta responsible for the disappearance of some 30,000 Argentines, many of them Jews, including teenagers, and the torture of countless others perceived to be political dissidents.

Plaza, who left his post in La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires Province, a year ago because of his age, apparently justifies the crimes of the military regime. David Goldberg, president of the DAIA, the umbrella body of Argentine Jewish organizations, said his remarks would be protested to the Church.

Cesar Jaroslavsky, majority leader in the Argentine Parliament, suggested that the archbishop should be brought to court. Alluding to his Jewish origin, he said “If I had been in his hands I would be soap by now.”

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