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Situation Tense for Journalist Who Criticized Argentine Mayor

October 19, 2006
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An Argentine Jewish journalist who criticized local elected officials was attacked and now lives under police protection. Carlos Furman, 33, who lives in Santa Elena, came under attack after making anti-government comments on a local radio station. Furman criticized the city’s mayor, Domingo Daniel Rossi.

Rossi, former vice governor of the Entre Rios province, was convicted of embezzlement several months ago, but provincial officials changed the law to allow Rossi to remain in power until his appeal is decided.

Furman’s situation worsened after Rosh Hashanah, when a pamphlet was distributed around Santa Elena that read, “Jewish New Year. Death to Carlos Furman.”

Furman has been attacked twice and his house was fired upon. He has moved eight times, hoping to avoid detection.

The local chapter of DAIA, the main Jewish political umbrella group, in Parana — the province’s capital city — is worried.

“We’re seriously concerned about this anti-Semitic situation. It has been a long time since we’ve seen something like this,” chapter president Eduardo Furman, a distant relative of Carlos Furman, told JTA.

On Oct. 4, the Argentine Journalism Forum distributed a letter to Rossi, signed by 177 journalists outraged by the threats.

The forum asked what the government would do in response. The National Institute Against Racism and Xenophobia offered to help Furman.

“I am taking anti-depressants. I can’t stand the situation anymore. I’m thinking about quitting journalism — it’s the reason that my whole life changed, because I’m living in Santa Elena, a place with no real freedom or democracy,” Furman told JTA.

Still, Furman is continuing with his daily radio show, which he broadcasts with a police guard standing next to him.

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