Study reveals anti-Semitic sentiment in Argentine society

Majority of Argentinians think Jews' first concern is making money, they have too much power in business world, Buenos Aires research shows.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
October 9, 2011 18:09
2 minute read.
Argentinian Flag

Argentinian Flag 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Most Argentineans believe members of the country’s Jewish community are primarily interested in making money and are more loyal to Israel than their country of birth, according to a study published last week.

The study, conducted by the Gino Germani Research Institute of the University of Buenos Aires on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League and Delegacion de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA), quizzed 1,510 locals on their attitudes toward Jews.

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According to the findings, 82 percent of those surveyed believe Jews are preoccupied with making money; 49% said they “talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” and 68% believe they “have too much power in the business world.”

“For some time we have realized that analyzing the anti-Semitic incidents reported to us from across the country are one measure of anti-Semitism, but we needed to delve deeper and to look at the root of the problem,” said Fabian Galante, secretary general of the DAIA.

“Using questions developed by the ADL in its landmark surveys of anti-Semitism in the United States and in Europe, we were able to better understand how anti-Semitic attitudes help foster prejudice and spur violence in society.”

Up to 200,000 Jews live in Argentina, constituting the largest Jewish community in Latin America. The survey also examined prejudices against Jews ingrained in Catholic countries. For instance, 22% said Jews killed Jesus. Another question gauged people’s attitudes toward other minorities, finding that some 30% would rather not live next to Bolivians.

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“The survey shows that anti- Semitic attitudes are deeply ingrained in Argentina,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL. “It is disturbing that such a large portion of the Argentinean population buys into classical anti- Semitic stereotypes. The notions that Jews have too much power in business, are too concerned with making money, or are not loyal to their country are traditional anti-Semitic motifs that have contributed to centuries of persecution against the Jewish people.”

Since being published, the findings have been widely debated in the South American country’s press.

In an editorial published in La Nacion – the country’s most widely-read broadsheet – just before Yom Kippur, the newspaper lamented the respondents’ attitude toward Jews, saying the Jewish holiday was an appropriate time to appreciate the contributions made by Jewish Argentineans.

“It is an excellent opportunity to remember all the good that this great community has brought to our country almost from the very first day of its establishment,” the editorial argued.

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