El Antisemitismo en la Argentina, 2011

Lest you begin to believe I think only negative thoughts about the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (I’ve dedicated much of the last four years to researching the group’s behavior during the most difficult period in its history), today I present the fruits of one of the organization’s greatest assets, its able research unit, the Centro de Estudios Sociales (Social Studies Center). The CES, together with the University of Buenos Aires, has just published the results of a comprehensive and academically rigorous national survey of antisemitism in Argentina–the first I’ve seen in my time here. The troubling findings were announced at a public event this past Tuesday, and coming as they were in the wake of last week’s high-profile attack at a synagogue in the BA barrio of Flores, they couldn’t have been more timely. I won’t editorialize any further; these numbers speak for themselves:

  • 53% of 1510 respondents between the ages of 18 and 65 from throughout the country believe that Argentine Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Argentina.
  • 49% say that Jews talk about the Holocaust too much
  • 45% would not marry a Jewish person
  • 39% disapprove of Jews holding political office
  • 70% report first-hand knowledge of discrimination against Jews

7 thoughts on “El Antisemitismo en la Argentina, 2011

  1. That is disturbing. I remember you saying that this came from some sense that you couldn’t be both Jewish and Argentine–is that something that’s particular about the Jewish community, or do you think you’d find similar numbers for any other group of “foreigners”? (And who else would be considered a foreigner, despite having lived in Argentina for generations?)

    • Hey Dan, sorry for the huge time lapse in responding. For a while, the Jewish community was the most visible minority group in Buenos Aires. But now many immigrants from Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru have arrived, and it can be striking, the sorts of things that some people will say openly about immigrants from these places.

  2. 45 percent wouldn’t marry a Jew? OK, what percentage of Jews in Argentina wouldn’t marry a non-Jew? That’s a fair question to ask as well. I have plenty of Jewish friends here in Argentina who only want to marry other Jews and Im fine with that. The fact that there are plenty of people in the world who insist on marrying people of their own religion shouldn’t be considered an act of blatant discrimination. A lot of people do it!

    • You raise a fair point, undomielee, but I will say that–in general, not just in the case of the Jewish community–I tend to think that there’s some difference between members of a minority group (or a group that has historically been discriminated against) wanting to maintain some sort of group identity and members of a majority group wanting to stay away from members of a minority group. This is a bit of a double standard, but it’s why I wasn’t uncomfortable with the idea of a Black Students’ Association or a club for women in business at my university, but I wouldn’t have been so keen on a group to advance white men in business. Still, though, I suspect you’re right that some of the people who indicated that they wouldn’t marry a Jewish person meant nothing discriminatory by it. But I think that, taken together, these statistics paint a disturbing picture.

      • Yeah, I agree some of the points are especially disturbing. But at least we know what we’re all working with. I think the PC culture of the States where nobody speaks their mind, though they think and act on discriminatory thoughts for sure, is more unhealthy. On that note, it would have been interesting to see statistical breakdowns in the survey regarding age brackets, Buenos Aires city versus the rural Interior, a comparison with surveys taken 20 years ago, etc. But all in all, I believe things are getting better. The younger generations in both the US and Argentina are a lot more open. With gays, for example, 15 years ago there was a lot more discrimination against them in Buenos Aires. Its noticeably much better now. The fact that gay marriage is now legal in a traditionally catholic country is I think pretty outstanding.

  3. I continue: I admit there’s more discrimination against Jews (as opposed to gays) because people here think they stick to themselves too much and that foments distrust. But I “get” that a lot of this need for segregation is because Jews feel understandably uncomfortable. They just want to be in a space where they feel at ease and at home. I didn’t “get” this until i took an African American studies course when I went to college in the States. When I was in college, I noticed that the African American students kept to themselves and wouldn’t mix as much with the rest. I thought they were choosing segregation and that they wanted to keep things that way, but once I started openly talking about these issues in a discussion section with them, I realized the issue was a lot more complex and that there was a lot I needed to learn about what its like to be in a real minority where skin, culture, whatever, is more at odds with the majority. Talking it over with them over 4 months really opened my mind to how human nature works. People just don’t want to talk uncomfortable topics with each other, but that’s exactly what we should do in order to get past racism. Interesting blog btw!

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