Category Archives: South America

Swastikas Scrawled in Rio’s Copacabana

BRAZIL – Just weeks before the Olympic Games opening ceremony, three swastikas have been discovered, painted on walls in Copacabana this week, the Rio neighborhood most heavily populated with middle-class and elderly Jews.

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Rio Jewish Federation president, Paulo Maltz, who is a lawyer, on Wednesday filed a police report about the racial and ethnic crime. Copacabana is the area in Rio with the largest number of Jewish institutions, including several synagogues, a Jewish day school, community centers, as well the very headquarters of the federation and the honorary Israeli consulate.

“In the meantime, two swastikas were covered with white paint. The third one will be erased during this week,” Maltz said. “The most important is that the crime be investigated and the responsible be brought to trial.”

The anti-Semitic graffiti was found on Siqueira Campos Street, an important axis that crosses the neighborhood connecting a main tunnel and the iconic Copacabana beach, close to a busy subway station. The incident was first reported Monday by Alef News newspaper after Jewish readers photographed the swastikas.

The Rio Jewish Federation has opened a Whatsapp number to receive information on anti-Semitic cases. Anti-Semitic graffiti is not uncommon in Rio.

In 2011, a 23-year-old student was charged for boasting of a leg tattoo of a swastika during a party inside the Brazilian Israelite Club, which is located only a few blocks from the site where the swastikas were found this week. A confessed Hitler sympathizer, he declared to be “just kidding”.

Read more here.

 

Mexican congressman accused of making anti-Semitic remark

Mexican congressman Jorge Romero has been accused of using anti-Semitic language in reference to the head of the country’s Jewish umbrella organization and human rights activist Salomon Achar Achar.

Romero’s statement calling the Jewish Community Central Committee’s president “a f***ing Jew,” was recorded by Grupo Imagen Multimedia radio news service, The Excelsior newspaper reported late last week.

“Since 2003, our country has a law to prevent and extinguish discrimination, including anti-Semitism. It’s unacceptable that, in a pluralistic and democratic society, people keep on using depreciative expressions like the one congressman Romero did,” read a statement from the Mexican Jewish Community Central Committee.

Jorge Romero  (Twitter photograph)
Jorge Romero (Twitter photograph)

The slur, although denied by Romero, was witnessed during the confirmation of Achar’s name for the position of honorary adviser of the Human Rights Commission in Mexico’s Congress. According to The Exelsior, the commission’s president, Jimeno Huanosta, confirmed the use of anti-Semitic words against Achar.

Interestingly, PAN, Romero’s political party, attempted to change the session rules of the Human Rights Commission at the last-minute, but failed.

Mexico is home to some 50,000 Jews.In 2014, Romero was nicknamed “El Fuhrer” among senior officials at the Benito Juarez province, where he was a delegate, the news portal Libre en el Sur reported.

It is Latin America’s third largest Jewish community after Argentina and Brazil.

Read more here.

Argentine president ‘determined’ to discover truth of Nisman’s death

Reported via JTA: Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he is “determined” to discover the truth about the death of AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

“Everything that happened made us look weak in the world,” Macri told The Associated Press as part of a long-ranging interview published Thursday. “But now we are determined to bring what happened to light.”

The Argentine judiciary has not yet determined whether Nisman’s shooting death in January 2015 was a homicide or suicide.

Alberto Nisman
Alberto Nisman

Macri discussed the Nisman case and the 1994 Jewish center bombing, as well as the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy, during his address Tuesday night to the opening gala of the Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Buenos Aires. Both attacks in the Argentine capital remain unresolved.

“Here, we suffer the ravaging consequences of two bomb attacks. We are still in the dark of what happened,” Macri declared, adding: “We are fully committed to contribute in any way we can to make headway with this investigation.”

He also reminded his audience that his government, during its first week in power in December, voided an agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing, calling it “unconstitutional.”

“A year ago the [AMIA bombing] prosecutor dies, a prosecutor that was trying to elucidate one of these attacks, and he prepared a very tough accusation about why we actually signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran that he believes was unconstitutional,” Macri said at the dinner.

Nisman was found dead hours before he was to present evidence to Argentine lawmakers that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the AMIA Jewish center bombing, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

The federal Criminal Appeals Court will hold a hearing Friday to decide which court should be given jurisdiction over the Nisman case. A political murder case must be handled by the federal courts.

On Wednesday, the WJC plenary assembly held a tribute to Nisman led by by Rabbi Marcelo Polakoff, who shared the stage with Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel; his ex-wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, and his daughter, Iara.

 

Uruguayan Jew stabbed to death, son seriously wounded

Breaking news being reported via Debka File: A 54-year-old Uruguayan Jewish businessman, David Fremd, was stabbed to death on Tuesday by a Muslim terrorist in the city of Paysandu, located in western Uruguay near the Argentinian border. Fremd’s son sustained serious injuries in the attack and was hospitalized. The terrorist, a 35-year-old man with a criminal record, was arrested. He later admitted under questioning that he stabbed Fremd out of an intention to attack the Jewish community.

Multiple reports of Antisemitic crime

In its latest series of global reports, AntiSemitismWatch.con brings you the last news from around the world:

New Jersey, USA:

The owner of a Main Street deli in Matuchen, is furious after an incident of anti-Semitic vandalism hit the front window of the eatery.

“It was just so thoughtless,” said Erica Agliata, the owner of the Fresco Deli. “We’re just as upset as everyone else is.”

The word “JEW,” a few inches high, has been scratched into the front window.

What makes the incident even more confounding is that while they’re the victims of anti-Semitic vandalism, the owners aren’t Jewish.

Police are investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, Mayor Thomas Vahalla said the incident is shocking in a town like Metuchen.

“Metuchen is multi-cultural, and we enjoy each other’s cultures,” Vahalla said. “This is totally unacceptable behavior.”

Amsterdam, Holland:

Two Dutch mayors condemned the appearance of stickers featuring a cartoon nose on shops in a heavily Jewish suburb of Amsterdam. The stickers reportedly were on sale on a website for fans of Dutch soccer club Feyenoord.

The stickers were spotted on the shop windows of several businesses in Amstelveen, a municipality just south of Amsterdam, which is home to approximately one third of the 50,000 Jews living in the Netherlands.

Amstelveen Mayor Mirjam van ‘t Veld told the news website metronieuws.nl that the stickers were “unacceptable,” adding: “As the Jewish community is right to expect, we are looking into the case.” Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Marcouch, on Tuesday wrote on Twitter: “Wrong! Police and prosecutors [to] find and punish Feyenoord hooligans posting ‘Jew stickers’ on shops.”

Fans of Rotterdam’s Feyenoord soccer team often call fans of Amsterdam’s Ajax team “Jews” and have chanted anti-Semitic slogans at matches.

The stickers feature a drawing of a nose with a red line across it – an image believed to combine racial stereotypes about Jews and to echo the “no Jews allowed” signs visible throughout Western Europe just before and during the Nazi occupation.

Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Antisemitic graffiti was drawn on a Jewish center and a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in the same Argentina city.

The Argentine Zionist Union of Rosario, or USAR, a Jewish community and sports center in a city some 200 miles north of Buenos Aires, was attacked this week with graffiti reading “F*** Jew.” The damages at the Rosario cemetery were discovered earlier this week.

Some 15,000 Jews live in Rosario among a population of about 900,000.

In January, 10 Israeli tourists were wounded in an anti-Semitic attack on a hostel in a small Argentine village.

Cry for me Argentina

The mysterious death of state prosecutor Alberto Nisman after he had accused President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of plotting to cover up his investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center – the Argentinean Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) – has also raised the question of Antisemitism in the country.

The aftermath of the 1994 attack
The aftermath of the 1994 attack

Argentina’s Jewish community, which at over 180,000 is the biggest in South America and one of the biggest in the world, recalls the Argentinian Peron regime of the 1950s and  its close ties with Nazis; Adolf Eichmann was given refuge in Argentina before he was kidnapped by the Mossad. Yet to this day, Antisemitism is said to be common amount the old elites. Waldo Wolff, vice president of the Delegacion de Asociaciones Israelitas, said that after nearly every one of his TV appearances, he receives Antisemitic messages on Twitter.

In another instance, Damian Pachter, a Jewish Argentinean journalist who served in the IDF, was accused on Argentinean TV of being a Mossad agent. Pachter fled the country a month ago at the advice of sources close to the local intelligence community, after being the first to report that Nisman had been found shot in his room. Pachter’s early report might have made it more difficult to present Nisman’s death as a suicide, if indeed it was not.

And just over a week ago posters were put up in a Buenos Aires neighborhood reading, “A good Jews is a dead Jew,” showing a picture of Nisman.

It would seem that Argentina needs to take a long, hard look at itself.