Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Argentine Journalists Struggle to Keep Pro-israel Publication Open

May 5, 2003
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In the meager spare time Maximiliano Borches has between days spent as the librarian of a Jewish day school here and nights rocking his newborn baby back to sleep, this 28-year-old is working on a now-endangered project.

Borches is the director of Horizonte, Horizon, in English, a new, bimonthly free publication sponsored by the Hagshama department of the World Zionist Organization.

While the stripped-down staff prepares Horizonte’s fourth edition, the magazine’s continuity is uncertain. Enrique Grinberg — Hagshama representative for the region of South America that includes Argentina — told JTA that Hagshama has a very low budget to allot and several projects to fund, and it cannot keep providing the $1,500 Horizonte needs for each bimonthly issue.

According to Borches, “it is the only magazine of its kind in the Latin American region: It analyzes the Middle East conflict from an Argentine and Latin American point of view.”

The idea for the magazine came after a trip of young journalists and professionals in international affairs to Israel that was sponsored by the WZO and Israeli officials. After some research — and with Hagshama’s support — the group launched a magazine to express thoughts about the difficult relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.

Now, to survive, the group is trying to expand its bases of support.

“The magazine goes to the whole, open community. We don’t want to be sponsored only by Jewish organizations. That will make us lose credibility,” Borches says.

Meanwhile, the Horizonte team has no fax machine, no offices and no photographers. Prospective writers and correspondents work for free. Although he does not want to mention it, the director himself only earns the equivalent of roughly $120 every two months.

The magazine, with a circulation of 2,000, is distributed to journalists from major Argentine media outlets, academics, departments of several universities and Jewish community centers. It also goes to other Latin American countries, Spain and Israel.

The magazine’s themes are based on an “absolute” defense of Israeli as well as the acceptance of a Palestinian state, Borches says.

Aside from Mexico’s La Reforma newspaper, Latin American media giants are generally partial towards the Middle East conflict, Borches says.

“The conflict is viewed as supposed Israeli imperialism against defenseless Palestinians. Only recently, it appears, some denounce Palestinian terror,” he says.

Latin American Jews have learned plenty about massacres and repression, so they are attuned to the threats facing Israel.

“Jews have been hit by the Holocaust and fascist persecutions. In addition, in our country, Jews live with a history of anti Semitism that started in the 1920s. That anti-Semitism is not ended, and many times showed up as anti- Zionism,” Borches explains.

During Argentina’s “dirty war” between 1976 and 1983, many Jews were involved in the fight against the government. An estimated 3,000 Jews became missing then.

“There is certain a need to spread, in Latin America, the real situation between Israelis and Palestinians,” Borches says.

Recommended from JTA