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Behind the Headlines Argentine Jewry and the Return of Peron

December 15, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The return, on Nov. 17, of former President Juan Domingo Peron, though many believed he would not come, has stirred mixed feelings in the Argentine population. The Jews as citizens, could not elude them. A few hours after Peron’s arrival it was feared that a military coup could end the situation. But it then became apparent that the enormous display of power, ordered by Gen. Alejandro Agustin Lanusse, President of Argentina, by the armed forces, prevented any disturbance which might have been triggered from any quarters and futile bloodshed was avoided.

In fact Peron had been challenged by President Lanusse to come and cooperate, if possible, in finding an acceptable solution, based on an ample and popular political spectrum for the elections in March 1973. The idea is to offer the Peronists solid participation in government, as befits a movement that probably accounts for some 40 percent or more of the electorate.

In all fairness, it should be recalled that during his Presidency, Peron was, generally speaking, benevolent towards Argentine Jewry. He recognized the State of Israel soon after its establishment, after a memorable debate in the Chamber of Deputies during which two Peronists, MPs Raul Bustos Fierro and Joaquin Diaz de Vivar, spoke in highly laudatory tones of Israel, of Theodor Herzl and of the Zionist movement. Peron named a Jew as his first Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Pablo Mangel. The first Jewish Judge in Argentina, Liberto Rabovich, was also appointed by him.


Peron permitted the sending of economic aid to Israel and even suggested how to manage it in order to avoid red tape. On the other hand, he insisted on the creation of a Jewish Peronist group, the so-called Organization Israelita Argentina (OIA), which organized several mass meetings during which Peron spoke to thousands of Jews. When the regime fell, the OIA disappeared from the scene.

In the first years after World War II many Nazis found refuge in Argentina, among them the notorious Adolf Eichmann, and outstanding aces of the Luftwaffe and parachute corps like Rudel and Skorzeny. High church officials in Europe were instrumental in obtaining the needed papers for them. On the other hand, a number of Jewish survivors of the Nazi holocaust were also able to enter Argentina and start a new life here.

The situation, 17 years after a military-civilian coup overthrew Peron in Sept. 1955, must be analyzed in the light of Peron’s statements in exile and since his return. Politically, he is believed to lean towards a “Third World,” i.e., mildly Socialist policy, and in his press conference Nov. 25, he cited Peru as a nation most akin to his ideas. At the same press conference he stated that “..Thus we come to 1955, (when) the international synarchy, managed from the United Nations, threw all its weight against us.”

This sounds like a “stab in the back” theory. His definition of synarchy was formulated by Peron himself when in April 1971, he met in Madrid with Gen. Lanusse’s emissary, Col, Francisco Cornicelli, whom he told: “…We were faced with the imperialist power and with the great international synarchy managed from the United Nations, comprising Communism, capitalism, Judaism, the Catholic church — which takes part when it is paid…” It should be noted that he placed Judaism more or less on the same level with the Catholic hierarchy.


Peron’s secretary, Jose Lopez Rena, wrote several articles in the official Peronist organ, “Las Bases,” saying with reference to World War II, that “Russia, the United States and England combined in a suspicious alliance to fight National-Socialism, which, as time demonstrated later, was not as bad as it was reputed.”

In Feb. 1972, Peron was visited in Madrid by Noe Davidovich, a Jewish leftist leader of Buenos Aires. On that occasion, confronted with anti-Zionist and pro-Arab ads published by the Peronist leader Andres Framini in Oct. 1971, Peron stated categorically: “During my government there never were problems of anti-Semitism or persecution against any national group.” The same statement was made on two more recent occasions, when the writings of his chieftains were brought to his attention by Argentine Jewish leaders visiting Madrid.

In leading community circles, as this correspondent has ascertained, there exists no manifest concern about Peron’s stand towards Argentine Jewry. The same cannot be, said for some of the people constituting part of his entourage, for example: Dr. Juan Manuel Abel Medina, a young nationalist lawyer; the group headed by Andre Framini, the leader of the Peronist youth; Rodolfo Galimberti, and the Peronist leader of Salta province, Juan Carlos Cornejo Linares.

In this particular situation it is most difficult to risk any prediction. It can only be hoped that Argentine Jewry, which is passing through a difficult phase for internal reasons and because of the general economic insecurity, will be able to enjoy, together with the nation as a whole, a future of peace and positive development.

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