New York, NY, May 13, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called for the suspect in a violent anti-Semitic hate crime in Argentina to be prosecuted to the fullest extent following the brutal assault of a headmaster of an Orthodox Jewish school in Buenos Aires.
Moshe Cohen, director of Heichal Hatora, was hit in the head with an iron bar on May 9 as he was leaving the school. He was hospitalized with a serious head injury. The assailant, who was arrested a few blocks from the scene, allegedly shouted "Jew, Jew" during the assault. The incident took place on the eve of Israel's Independence Day.
"From what we have learned from the Jewish community in Argentina, this assault was nothing less than a brutal, violent and shocking anti-Semitic hate crime," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Crimes motivated by hatred of Jews or other minorities have no place in any society, and must be condemned in the strongest terms. The imposition of hate crime charges under the appropriate Argentine laws should help to send a message that violent attacks motivated by hatred are not only unacceptable in their society, but will be punished to the fullest possible extent of the law."
In the past few years Argentina has experienced anti-Semitic displays and an atmosphere of intimidation that contributed to threats of violence, intimidation and attacks against Jewish communal institutions and individuals, according to ADL and community officials. Jews have come under attack in the past during communal celebrations of Israel's independence.
The League expressed solidarity with members of the Argentine Jewish community in the aftermath of the latest assault. The attack has been condemned by leaders of the major political parties in the government and by Argentina's National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism.