Argentine Jewry Alarmed at Drive to Register a Nazi Political Party

The Jewish community here has expressed alarm at an escalating campaign to establish a neo-Nazi party in Argentina.

On Monday, a federal judge here quashed a neo-Nazi group’s request to register itself as the Workers’ Nationalist Socialist Party and use the swastika as its symbol, the Latin American Jewish Congress reported.

Judge Maria Servini de Cubria turned down the bid by the Workers’ Nationalist Party to add the word “Socialist” to its name, which would more closely approximate the name of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party.

Hitler’s party, too, changed its name from what originally was called the German Workers Party.

Argentine Jewry was shocked to hear of the official bid by the neo-Nazi group, which is led by Alejandro Biondini, a veteran right-wing extremist who has unabashedly threatened Jews in public.

Biondini told the influential magazine Noticias, in an interview published Sunday, that he will assemble followers on June 21 in front of the National Congress to swear allegiance to an Argentine flag with a swastika in its center.

The DAIA, the representative body of Argentine Jewish organizations, issued a statement expressing “its forceful repudiation and condemnation of the publicized attempt to organize in our country a Nazi party, whose emblem, the crossed swastika, is the sinister symbol of degradation and death.”

VENERATION FOR HITLER

Argentine society, “which is moving forward in its consolidation of democracy, does not deserve the insult of this crazy initiative,” the statement said.

Biondini has claimed that David Goldberg, president of the DAIA, in fact governs Argentina.

In 1988, Biondini led chants of “Death to traitors, cowards and Jews!” at a gathering of some 200 extreme-right-wing demonstrators in Buenos Aires. At that time, Biondini’s group was called the National Alert, reminiscent of the cry “Germany, awake!”

The Workers Nationalist Party uses the theme “One Nation, One People, One Leader” and a symbol that looks like a crossed number 7, which, on its side, closely mirrors the swastika.

On the group’s letterhead, that symbol is on top. At the bottom is an actual Nazi swastika.

Biondini argues that the swastika is “a thousand-year-old solar symbol” that has been unjustly defamed. He wore it in his lapel recently, on a popular political television program, where he spoke of his veneration for Hitler.

The program host was visibly taken aback and left the stage, leaving Biondini alone with the cameras, the Latin American Jewish Congress said.

The congress said that Buenos Aires is now “accustomed to having on its main pedestrian thoroughfare, Florida Street, the presence of stands of neo-Nazi groups.”

The Argentine daily newspaper Clarin ran an article Monday describing the ascendancy of neo-Nazis in the country and the burgeoning phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism.

Clarin identified these “native nationalists,” who are grouped into four factions, as the National Workers Party of Biondini, the National Constitutional Party of Alberto Asseff, the Argentine Nationalist Confederation of Walter Beveraggi Allende and the National Socialist Movement of Federico Rivanera Carles.

Carles’ movement supports an Institute for Investigation of the Jewish Question. Literature published by that group was found in possession of neo-Nazis arrested last month for vandalism at a Jewish cemetery near Buenos Aires.

The Argentine Jewish community, and the government as well, were shaken by the destruction of 110 gravestones at the cemetery. The interior minister launched an initiative to incorporate the DAIA into a permanent commission to monitor anti-Semitic events.

Interior Minister Julio Mera Figueroa, who attended a rally at the cemetery following the desecration, referred to a papal encyclical that censures the persecution of the Jewish people.

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