activity increased dramatically in 2006, with over 500 antisemitic events being
recorded. The impact of the Second Lebanon War in the second half of the year
could be detected in the employment of anti-Israel motifs which mixed traditional
antisemitic and anti-Zionist content, especially
in wall graffiti.
The Jewish Community
The Jewish population of Argentina, numbering about 180,000
out of a total population of 37 million, has been declining since the 1960s.
Some 80 percent live in Buenos Aires city and the Greater Buenos Aires area.
Cities with a large Jewish presence include Rosario, Córdoba, San Miguel de Tucumán, Mendoza, Bahía Blanca, La Plata and Santa Fe.
The Jewish community maintains many
educational, cultural and religious institutions, including a Hebrew and a
Yiddish press, publishing houses and an educational system from kindergarten
through university. The leading Jewish organization is the DAIA
(Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas), which represents communities
and organizations to the authorities and is responsible for safeguarding the
rights of members. AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) is the main community organization. The Vaad ha-Kehilot is the umbrella
organization of all the communities in the provinces.
On 3 August the legislature in Buenos Aires approved the
construction of a monument to the memory of victims of the Holocaust. A public
contest for the design of the monument was to be declared by the secretary of
Alejandro Biondini (pseudonym 'Kalki' - see ASW 2001/2) continues to
lead the Partido Nuevo Triunfo (PNT), which runs the website Ciudad Libertad de
Opinion and celebrates Hitler's birthday. Since the Federal Supreme Court
denied the party legal status due to its identification with Nazism, it cannot put
up candidates for election. PNT is associated with another small far right
party, Accion Ciudadana (100−150 members).
Swastikas were frequently reported on walls of cities and
towns, as well as on Jewish facilities (see below). T-shirts adorned with swastikas
were sold in February in the city of Carlos Paz, and a flag with Nazi symbols
was displayed at a rock concert on 4 April, in Francisco Ramos Plaza. On 9 January, a swastika was drawn on the front of a public school in Araoz St., Buenos Aires, and swastikas appeared in several areas of the city of Santa Fe on 20 March.
A radical leftist group, the Quebracho Patriotic
Revolutionary Movement, known for its vandalistic actions against capitalist
and establishment symbols, blocked a demonstration by Jewish groups in front of
the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires protesting Iran's support for Hizballah in
August. (see http://www.quebracho.org.ar/comunicados/leer.php?nombre=2005/06-08-23-(15-32-20).txt).
activity increased dramatically in 2006, with over 500 antisemitic events being
recorded, compared to 375 the previous year. During the first half of the year the
majority were cases of wall graffiti in Buenos Aires and other provinces, but there
were also a few violent attacks on Jewish individuals, threats to Jewish institutions
and especially, harassment and insults. The second half of the year was marked
by similar tendencies; however, the impact of the Second Lebanon War could be detected
in the employment of anti-Israel motifs which mixed traditional antisemitic and anti-Zionist content, especially in wall graffiti.
antisemitic discourse on Israel has emerged in Argentina in the last few years.
It ranges from the use of traditional antisemitic motifs (the Jews' alleged
killing of Christ, evocation of the blood libel, and comparing Israel to a cancer) to banalization of the Holocaust and denial of the right of Israel and the Zionist movement to exist. Particularly in 2006 there were calls for the
complete destruction of the State of Israel. With the outbreak of the war in Lebanon and intensified fighting in Gaza, it was claimed that this was a legitimate demand. For
example, graffiti saying, "Death to the State of Israel. Support the
Palestinians," appeared on 12 July in a street near Plaza Congreso, Buenos Aires. The slogan "For destruction of the Zionist State of Israel" appeared in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, on 13 September. For
a discussion on the antisemitic discourse in Argentina and the trend toward the
delegitimization of the State of Israel, see General Analysis.
Violence, Insults, Discrimination and Threats
A few cases
of violence and harassment were recorded. For example, on 11 January, a priest shouting,
"Jew, I will kill you. All the Jews must be murdered!" assaulted an
identifiably Jewish man in the resort city of Mar del Plata. A 15-year-old boy
dressed in Orthodox Jewish garb was slapped on the face by a fellow passenger
on 11 November in Buenos Aires when he asked the bus conductor to stop and let
him off. The man was arrested.
Insults were a common form of antisemitic activity. For
example, on 9 March, the mayor of the town of Santorino, Entre Rios Province, Daniel Salva, labeled a Jewish citizen a "dirty Jew." Similarly, in January an
employee in Misiones province, northern Argentina, called his boss a "dirty Jew."
Jewish institutions received a number of bomb threats. On 4
April, the Sephardic Congregation, Buenos Aires, received a phone call threatening:
"We have placed a bomb. You have one hour to leave the place," and "One, two,
three, BOOM!" On 29 May, the Asociacion Israelita de Salta, Salta Province, received a message saying: "You will explode."
noted, wall graffiti was one of the most common forms of antisemitic expression
in 2006, appearing more frequently and in more locations than in the previous
year. It was also more virulent, combining traditional antisemitic motifs with
Nazi-type threats to kill Jews. Although detected at different times and in
different places, the content seemed to indicate that the same groups were
responsible. For example, the text "God, liberate us from the Jews!" appeared
on the Galerias Pacifico shopping mall, Buenos Aires, and then, in other parts
of the city.
The slogans "5000 years of Jewish harming the world" and "The
Jews are taking our lives" were painted on a train station in the neighborhood
of Vicente Lopez in Buenos Aires Province. Similarly, the catchphrase "God save
us from the Jews! [Dios, salvanos de los Judios]" appeared on 4 January
in Reconquista and 25 de Mayo streets, Buenos Aires, and five days later in a
In other provinces, the entrance to a Jewish cemetery of Cordoba Province was defaced with the message, "The Final Solution will come!
Heil Hitler Dirty Jews. Get out of the country," and two swastikas. A swastika
was also painted on the building of the Asociacion Israelita de Bahia Blanca on
Anti-Jewish graffiti also appeared in soccer venues, such as the
Ferrocarril Oeste Club stadium, on which swastikas and the slogans, "Jews get out"
and "Arbeit Macht Frei," were painted on 11 February. On 17 June the slogan 'Basta
de Judios' (Enough of Jews) appeared on the walls of the Independiente Pacifico
soccer stadium in Neuqem, signed by 'Poder Ario' (Aryan Power).
recent years, the anti-imperialistic stand of antisemitic groups linking the US, Jews and Israel, has featured in their graffiti. For example: on April 4, the slogan "Bush works
for the Jews" was reported on the corner of Madero and Cordoba streets, Buenos Aires.
An environmental site, Reserva Ecologica de la Costanera Sur, was defaced with the message: "The passion of the Jews is to do harm. The Jews
are destroying the planet."
The AMIA Case
the justice authorities released a number of prisoners who had served several
years of their jail sentence for involvement in the 'local connection' to the
1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center, due to irregularities in the taking of
testimony. The DAIA, AMIA and the Families and Friends of the Victims organization,
asked the Supreme Court of Argentina to issue a final verdict on the case. In
addition, the Argentinean government issued a warrant for the arrest of eight
Iranian citizens, including former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,
claiming he and the Iranian state were responsible for the act. The warrant was
sent both to Interpol and to the Iranian government.
On the 12th anniversary of the bombing, President Nestor
Kirchner declared 18 July a national day of mourning.