Swastika found painted on Jewish leadership building in Argentina

Swastika found painted on Jewish leadership building in Argentina

Several antisemitic incidents have prompted concern from community leaders.

A swastika was found painted on a Jewish Cultural Association building in Santa Fe, Argentina this week, just days after antisemitic graffiti appeared in the same place.

According to the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, the graffiti from days before had been painted over with white paint. The antisemitism watchdog said that Jewish leaders had already filed a report with the police following the incident.

There have been a spate of antisemitic incidents reported across Argentina recently, ranging from graffiti and social media posts to physical attacks.

Four people were convicted last week for spray painting antisemitic graffiti at a school park in 2016, as well as threatening a leader from the Argentine Jewish community.

Also last week, a study done by Web Observatory – an Internet watchdog that works toward creating a discriminatory-free web – found that the Spanish words for “Jew” and “Zionist” were used the most between 2015 and 2018 in an antisemitic context online and on social media in Argentina, the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism reported.

Earlier this month, the organization also reported that a judicial employee from the northeastern city of Resistencia posted antisemitic content on her social media page. The post included a picture of Jewish children playing in a park near a Jewish school with a caption reading: “I think they forgot to tell the little Jews that it’s summer vacation. And then they asked why Hitler hated them.”
Following major backlash, she posted an apology on Facebook reading: “to these boys, their parents, grandparents and other relatives for the error I have made. Forgive me, my Jewish friends who know me and how I really think. I apologize to my family for the pain I caused them.”

Meanwhile, last month, Rabbi Shlomo Tawil of a local Chabad in Rosario was the victim of an antisemitic attack. Two other Jewish leaders were attacked in April and May this year. The Argentinean Jewish political umbrella DAIA slammed the attack, calling it a “brutal antisemitic aggression” and called on the local government to investigate the rise of antisemitism.

In tune with the recent vandalism, the Monument to Humanity in Resistencia – which also commemorates a Holocaust survivor – was badly vandalized with swastikas and antisemitic graffiti in June. Swastikas were also found painted outside a Jewish barbershop’s store in Buenos Aires a month prior.

There are about 180,000 Jews living in Argentina today. Jews have lived in Argentina for centuries as many come to the country from Spain and Portugal fleeing inquisitions, pogroms and persecution.