The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith Thursday praised the prompt and supportive public reaction in Argentina for Isidoro Blaisten, a prize-winning Argentine author, who received telephone death threats.
According to Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of ADL’s Latin American Affairs Department, the Argentine government acted quickly to guard Blaisten’s home and a group of prestigious Argentine writers, artists and other intellectuals called on the Ministry of Interior to investigate subversive groups.
Blaisten, 53, received the telephone threats from persons calling themselves members of the “Argentine Nazi Force” who warned him he would be killed within 10 days because he is Jewish.
Rosenthal said that the public outcry and prompt action by government officials were in marked contrast to the general silence and indifference in the face of anti-Semitism during the period of military rule. He added, however, that “the persistence of Nazism and anti-Semitism in Argentina is cause for concern.”
Blaisten secretly fled to Israel late last month after consulting with leaders of the Argentine Jewish community. In an exclusive interview with the Argentine daily La Razon, from the village of Mitzpe Ramon in Israel, Blaisten thanked the Argentine government for having guarded his home and “for having saved my life.”
Dr. David Goldberg, president of DAIA, the Jewish community’s representative body, called the threats another example of an increasing number of anti-Semitic actions by sectors attempting to destabilize democracy in Argentina.
Blaisten was the recipient of the 1974 Municipality of Buenos Aires literary prize and the 1983 National Literature Award. His works include “La Felicidad” (Happiness – 1969). “La Salvacion” (Salvation – 1972), “Dublin al Sur” (Dublin to the South – 1980), and “Cerrado por Melancolia” (Closed Due to Melancholy – 1981).
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.