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Report Anti-semitism is Not a ‘major Problem’ in Argentina and Jews Are Feeling More Secure There

August 28, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Anti-Semitism is not a “major problem” in Argentina today and that country’s 300,000 Jews are feeling more secure now than in recent years, according to Gerard Daniel, president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) who has just returned from a two-week visit to Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

“Jews in Argentina are not going around scared,” Daniel told a press conference held at the Essex House here today. He said that in Argentina and the two other countries he visited he met with Jewish leaders, government officials and various members of the Jewish community. He said that the Jewish leaders in Argentina contended that the situation in that country is “continuously improving for the Jews.” The Jewish leadership in Argentina, Daniel said is “greatly encouraged” by progress made in the field of human rights over the last two years.

Daniel said, however, that “anti-Semitism is a latent problem in Argentina.” He said that the Jewish leadership “is still somewhat concerned over the ability and the willingness of the Argentinian authorities to carry out their avowed policy of renouncing anti-Semitism.”

He also said that members of the Jewish community are concerned over the future of Argentina’s economy. “They believe that a further deterioration of the country’s already weak economy might lead to a revival of anti-Semitism.”


Asked about charges made by Jacobo Timerman, the Argentinian Jewish journalist who was imprisoned, tortured and held in jail for several years without any charges brought against him, that anti-Semitism is widespread in Argentina, Daniel replied:

“The Jewish leadership in Argentina on various levels is very clearly questioning the reliability of Timerman’s report. They are also disturbed by the timing and the sensation that Timerman’s book caused in the United States and said that it has not been helpful for the Jewish community in Argentina at a time when there is a great improvement for the Jews there.” He was referring to the book, “Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without A Number.”

As for the Jewish communities in Chile and Brazil, Daniel said that they “enjoy a comfortable degree of security, and Jews are not leaving those countries.”

Daniel also reported the formation of a South American Federation of Jewish Liberal Congregations, to be affiliated with the WUPJ. He said that four congregations in Argentina, Brazil and Chile are committed to the new organization, which plans to conduct a rabbinical training program and youth exchange and educational exchange program with the Reform movement in the United States.

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