BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — An Argentinean newscaster was fired after coming under criticism for for anti-Jewish remarks.
Santiago Cuneo, the host of the daily “1+1=3” program aired by the cable news channel Cronica TV, made a number of remarks deemed to be anti-Semitic in his broadcasts last week. Among them, Cuneo made reference to the Andinia Plan, a conspiracy alleging a Jewish plan to create a Jewish state in parts of Argentina and Chile, and he questioned the loyalty of the Argentina’s Jewish leadership. Cuneo also criticized President Mauricio Macri for a planned visit to Israel, describing the Argentine government as a “political associate of international Zionism” and alleging Macri will “hand over Patagonia” to the Israelis.
Late last week, Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella, the DAIA, accused Cuneo of anti-Semitism and announced that it planned to file a lawsuit against him. The DAIA said Cuneo “highlights the most execrable and classic anti-Semitic typology of international conspiracy theories, associations of Jews with money and imperialist intentions, the reinstatement of the Andinia plan, the demonization of the State of Israel, the foreignization, the accusation of double loyalty and the impairment of dignity of an entire community.”
On Friday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center asked Cronica TV to fire Cuneo. That evening the broadcaster announced that it would be his final broadcast.
The channel issued a statement saying that “according to the sequence of unnecessary insults by Santiago Cúneo to journalists, politicians, communities and institutions, the decision was made that he will no longer appear on Crónica. Is it censorship? No. What he did is to distort information, bastardize journalism, not take care to check his sources and not respect the editorial view of the channel.”
Cueno responded to the DAIA statement saying: “Israel sends soldiers here after the army to search the Patagonia region and escape through Chile. When Israel stops sending soldiers here after the army, then we can talk. Ok? And I’m denouncing the Andinia Plan? Yes, and so what. DAIA, what are you, Jewish Argentinean or Israelite? Because If I talk with an Argentinean of the Jewish religion or Muslim or Catholic like me, I’m talking to an Argentinean. But if I’m talking with an Israeli citizen, it’s another conversation.”
“So when you DAIA sign a document explain what the f**k are you. An Argentinean who professes a religion. Or an Israeli citizen who defends the interest of another nation but not Argentina,” he added.
On Tuesday, a federal prosecutor filed a petition against Cueno calling on the judiciary to investigate whether he violated the country’s anti-discrimination law, which has been on the books since 1998.
“For the last week, Argentine News Channel Crónica granted prime time to Santiago Cúneo, a ‘journalist’ who dedicated his program to defaming the Jewish community and its leaders, the State of Israel, women and the current government,” Shimon Samuels, director for International Relations for Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement. Samuels praised the cable channel for firing him.