November 23, 2007


Argentina’s Jewish ‘Desaparecidos’ (Marcela Valente, 11/23/07, IPS)

The leaders of Argentina’s Jewish community -- the largest in Latin America -- published in book form a report on Jewish victims of forced disappearance in the 1976-1983 dictatorship, who faced especial brutality because of their ethnic origin.

The "Report on the situation of the Jewish detainees-disappeared during the genocide perpetrated in Argentina" was for the first time published in print in Argentina to make it widely available to the public, by the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations’ (DAIA) Social Studies Centre (CES), with the backing of the government Human Rights Secretariat. [...]

Two aspects stand out in the report. One is that Jewish people formed a disproportionately large part of the dictatorship’s victims of forced disappearance. The other is that although "they did not suffer specifically anti-Semitic persecution, Jewish victims suffered especially brutal treatment, and Nazi symbols were used" by the torturers, said Duhalde. [...]

The two most serious attacks suffered by the Jewish community in Argentina actually occurred after the return to democracy: a 1992 bomb blast that killed 29 people in and around the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in the capital, in which 86 people were killed. But the report does not dwell on either incident.

DAIA notes that the military regime’s persecution of leftists, trade unionists and others deemed "subversive" included abductions, torture, forced disappearance and the theft of the babies and young children of political prisoners, while it remarks that the Jewish victims received treatment that was even more cruel and brutal than other prisoners. [...]

The book includes a provisional list of Jewish victims of forced disappearance, which was first presented in court in Spain in the late 1990s. It also provides a list of names drawn up by the Barcelona-based Commission of Solidarity with the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Argentina.

The book says that in the 1970s there were between 230,000 and 290,000 Jewish people in Argentina, representing between 0.8 and 1.2 percent of the population at the time, while they made up an estimated five to 12 percent of the "disappeared".

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 23, 2007 3:01 PM

I once knew an Argentine Jew who first left the Navy and then the country because of the virulent antisemitism.

Posted by: Ibid at November 23, 2007 9:56 PM

There is a lot of anti-Semitism here in Buenos Aires. I used to work for a company here and the CEO told me not to hire anyone who was Jewish. I was shocked.

I do have to say that prejudices of all types are fairly open here in Argentina but I won't say that Argentines are more prejudiced. It's just that they don't hide it like so many other places. Americans seem to have learned how to hide their prejudices in a politically correct climate.

Posted by: Jeff at November 23, 2007 10:36 PM

No doubt, one reason why Argentina is the successful country it is.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 25, 2007 3:23 AM