Reports show Argentina with an anti-Semitism problem


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Two reports that reveal the extent of anti-Semitism in Argentina were released by DAIA, the Jewish umbrella organization.

The reports were presented Wednesday.

An opinion poll conducted by the Gino Germani Institute of the University of Buenos Aires found that 45 percent of those polled “would never marry a Jew” and that 30 percent "would not live in a neighborhood with a large presence of Jews." The poll also showed that four out of 10 respondents have a negative opinion of “Jews being involved in politics” and five out of 10 think that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust.

Some 54 percent of those polled agreed that Jews “are the first ones to turn their backs on the needy.”

DAIA called the results of the poll “disturbing and alarming.” 

The survey was commissioned by DAIA and the Anti-Defamation League, which interviewed more than 1,500 people from across the country.

According to Nestor Cohen, lead investigator from the University of Buenos Aires, “Jews are perceived as powerful, not supportive, and not loyal to Argentina.” He added that in this case, "discrimination has more to do with an anti-Jewish and not an anti-Israeli feeling; it is not related to Israel’s political decisions."

Meanwhile, the Annual Report on Anti-Semitism in Argentina showed that in 2010, anti-Jewish expressions appeared in public spaces, including graffiti with Nazi symbols, and there was a large increase over previous years in digital and virtual anti-Semitism.

Approximately 300 anti-Semitic incidents are reported in the country every year.

David Smith, director of the United Nations Information Center for Argentina and Uruguay, told JTA that “it is a very important day because silenced cases come to light, but that makes it also a very sad day.” The report has been edited annually by the Centre for Social Studies of DAIA since 1998. 

“There is a prejudiced pattern that does not necessarily become a violent or unreported action,” Marisa Brylan, director of the Centre for Social Studies of DAIA, told JTA. Argentina has an anti-discrimination law on the books.

Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas,who presented the reports, said that “Argentinian institutions have worked very hard in recent years to fight against every type of discrimination. What is important now is to start working hard with the Internet, where many anti-Semitic incidents take place nowadays.”

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