Argentina sees spike in anti-Semitic incidents

buenos aires | A Hitler poster displayed at a parking lot on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Anti-Semitic graffiti in a provincial public school. Swastika T-shirts sold at a national beer celebration. Anti-Jewish chants by fans at soccer stadiums. A threat to turn a schoolboy into soap.

These were among the incidents detailed and analyzed in a comprehensive annual report on anti-Semitism in Argentina prepared by the Center for Social Studies, an investigative institute of the DAIA Jewish political umbrella group.

The 454-page report, presented May 2 at the National Book Fair, showed a 36 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents last year. In all, the center counted 586 anti-Semitic events, 213 more than in 2005.

The total in 2006 represented a marked rise from 1998 to 2004, when fewer than 200 incidents were reported each year.

Most of the incidents — 67 percent — were graffiti. Media editorials and other public expressions also were highlighted.

Marisa Braylan, the author of the study, said 2006 “might be remembered as the year of a relevant anti-Semitic reappearance in Argentina,” much of it sparked by last summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah.