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Argentina’s Next President Says His Administration Will Act to Outlaw Anti-semitism, Neo-nazism

March 24, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

— Argentine President-designate Roberto Viola, who takes office March 29, assured leaders of the American Jewish Committee that his administration would take all action possible under law against any anti-Semitic acts and neo-Nazi publications.

Viola, meeting with the AJCommittee delegation for 45 minutes in his suite at the Waldorf Towers last week, indicated close knowledge of Jewish concerns as a result, he said, of meetings with the representative body of Argentine Jewry, the DAIA, personal family ties, and frequent cordial exchanges with Israeli representatives to Argentina over the years.

Responding to AJCommittee queries about recent decrees that would introduce confessional teaching into the traditionally secular Argentine educational system, Viola declared that a previous move in this sense had been revoked because of unfavorable reaction and that he would see to it that “each confession will be able to teach in accordance with its own precepts and faith.”

The AJCommittee delegation told Viola it welcomed reports following his meetings in Washington that action would be taken with regard to the thousands of “disappeared” persons and prisoners in Argentina, many of whom are Jewish.


Viola affirmed that anti-Semitic acts in Argentina such as the desecration of cemetery gravestones and the bombing attacks some time ago against various Jewish institutions were the work of maladjusted persons and could not be considered the responsibility of the Argentine government any more than one could hold the U.S. government responsible for the deaths of black children in Atlanta.

“We shall take action against such persons and incidents and against any forms of Nazism, not because the Jewish community or Jewish organizations request this, but because this is something that is in keeping with what our entire people and tradition demand,” Viola declared.

With Viola were the Argentine Ambassador to the United States, Jorge A. Aja Espil, and Marta Oliveros, Legal Counselor to the Argentine Mission to the United Nations. The delegation presented Viola with a copy of “Five Centuries of Jewish Life in Argentina,” by Alberto Klein, a volume originally sponsored by the AJCommittee Argentine office that has just reappeared in a second edition in that country.

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