NEW YORK (Aug. 26)
The Iranian Embassy in Brazil has been circulating a reprint of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the notorious anti-Semitic hoax, on paper bearing the Embassy’s imprint, the American Jewish Committee reported here Wednesday.
The Committee noted that the distribution of the “Protocols” has prompted a series of articles in the Sao Paulo daily, Folha de Sao Paulo, the first of which appeared on July 4, headlined “Iranian Embassy Publishes Anti-Semitic Work in Brazil.” This anti-Jewish Iranian campaign is described in a report of the AJC’s International Relations Department, prepared by Jacobo Kovadloff, AJC director of South American Affairs.
The article, the AJC stated, discussed the history of the “Protocols,” from their mid-nineteenth century origin until the present day, focusing on recent local developments.
Interviewed by Folha, Francisco Morena de Carvalho, a young Jewish physician and leader of the Friends of Peace Now Movement, commented that “the reappearance of the ‘Protocols’ in Brazil coincides with the current need for scapegoating.” Also quoted was “Geraldo,” a member of a Nazi-oriented Sao Paulo group, who declared that the “Protocols” were still valid today.
IRANIAN DEFENDS DISSEMINATION OF ‘PROTOCOLS’
In response to a query by the newspaper, the Iranian Embassy confirmed the publication of the “Protocols,” and Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil, Itzhak Sarfaty, was said to be preparing a protest for submission to Brazil’s Foreign Office.
In another article, Folha quoted Mouhmud Emtiaz, Iranian Charge d’Affaires and Acting Ambassador in Brazil, as saying that no racism of any kind was involved in the “Protocols.” He added that he was “perplexed” at the possibility of having its publication banned in Brazil since “this is a part of history, and the dissemination of history cannot be forbidden.”
The newspaper also quoted Jose Knopflich, president of the Jewish Federation of Sao Paulo, as declaring that the dissemination of the “Protocols” and the sentencing of Klaus Barbie were not simply a coincidence, that anti-fascist groups used the Barbie indictment to spread anti-Semitism. Knopflich asserted that organizations representing the Jewish community of Brazil were always on the alert for anti-Semitic literature.
Benno Milnitzky, president of the Jewish Confederation of Brazil, said there was no need to prove the racist or anti-Semitic nature of the “Protocols” because its forgery has been established in several parts of the world. He said the Jewish community would “avail itself of every legal means” against the dissemination of such material as the “Protocols.”
Kovadloff recalled that on a trip to South America in 1984, he and Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, the Committee’s director of international relations, had met with Dr. Vivaldo Barbosa, Secretary of Justice of the State of Rio, and with Dr. Arthur de Castilho Neto, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice in Brasilia, and that both officials declared: “We will not allow bigotry to spill over from the Middle East conflict into Brazil.”
Existing legislation, the two officials explained, enable them to take appropriate action to suppress the distribution of anti-Semitic material.