This paper presents the ninth Report on Anti-Semitism in Argentina for the year 2006, a collaborative project with ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and DAIA.
The paper includes: (1) a description of Argentine society with respect to the Jewish community, (2) a comparison with the previous year, and (3) suggestions towards building a democratic, respectful society in Argentina.
Sources for the report include mainstream media in Argentina and abroad, documented complaints brought before the Legal Affairs and Communal Assistance Departments of DAIA, and complaints filed before the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI).
In 2006, over 580 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Argentina; almost two thirds included vandalism in public places, such as graffiti offensive to the Jewish Communities and/or Israel.
Incidents not involving vandalism included: 176 incidents oral and written threats of violence directed against individuals and institutions, not including physical aggression; 9 incidents of violence against groups and individuals including desecration of Jewish cemeteries; 7 incidents of anti-Semitic statements/comments from government and/or Christian religious figures; 6 incidents of lack of flexibility in the workplace with regard to Jewish holidays.
Many of the incidents took place in the Belgrano neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which houses a large Jewish community including several synagogues and schools. Nine years ago in Belgrano, a man was seriously wounded by a group of skinheads who mistook him for being Jewish. The Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores, also home to many Jewish families and institutions, was similarly beset with a number of troubling events.
Specific incidents included:
- Bomb threats via telephone directed against Jewish institutions, including the AMIA-DAIA building which was attacked in such an attack in 1994 (litigation against Iranian officials is pending).
- An attack by a group of skinheads against Orthodox Jews walking in the street to synagogue.
- Death threats against journalist Carlos Furman.
- The desecration of Jewish graves in the Entre Ríos province.
- A statement of a senator from the Province of Corrientes insinuating that the 1994 AMIA-DAIA bombing was self-inflicted.
- A statement of church minister in Corrientes, Florentín Jiménez: “the Jews are detractors of Jesus…”
As in many regions, the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon during the summer corresponded to a significant increase in anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Normal criticism of the State of Israel was transplanted with extreme anti-Zionism containing distinct anti-Semitic themes (i.e. accusations of “genocide” against Israel)
Expressions of these sentiments were frequent at the University of Buenos Aires spurred on by the activity of various leftists groups. In the past, it has been Argentina’s far-right groups that have shown the most significant anti-Semitism. The Internet and anti-Semitic websites also played a significant role in propagating this ideology. Websites with Nazi imagery and writings appeared and were maintained by anonymous authors.
From 2005, Argentina saw an increase in anti-Semitic incidents from 373 to over 500. 2005 and 2006 contained similar ratios of vandalism to other anti-Semitic manifestations. Vandalism in 2006, as compared to the previous year, contained a new emphasis on Israel and the Middle East. Despite significant legal and legislative action against vandalism in 2005, incident frequency rose this year.
Argentina is not devoid of positive voices and allies. The report section “Positive Developments” details elements of civil society and the government that have been supportive of the Jewish community. A number of high ranking government officials have publicly taken part in commemorations of the Holocaust and the topic has been inserted in many educational curricula. Argentina has also stated its intention to fully comply with its obligations as a full member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research.
DAIA continues to pursue its mission of making public and denouncing all anti-Semitic incidents. As part of a proactive campaign to help prevent future incidents, DAIA also aims to make the issue of discrimination a part of Argentina’s education curriculum through the training of teachers and the distribution of instructional material.
Read Full Report
The full report in Spanish and other information on the Argentine Jewish community is available on the DAIA web site at www.daia.org.ar