chapter  10
17 Pages

Jews and the Argentine Center: A Middleman Minority

WithBernard E. Segal

The best evidence available in the 1960s showed that most Argentines were not anti-Semitic and that among those who were, prejudice did not go beyond the acceptance of certain common stereotypes. Argentines from the interior, some of them driven from the land by the agricultural downturn of the 1930s, filled some old ranks and most of the new, and were soon to appear in greater numbers than Argentina’s infant industry could absorb. The brief fascist experiment, including the strongest state-sponsored strictures against Jews that Argentina has ever known before or since, failed. Attitudes toward Jews have frequently been exceptions to this rule, however, just as Argentine Jews have themselves been somewhat exceptional. The tenor of accusations against Argentine Jews has been familiar enough: Jews were money managers in a society where money should not matter, covering constant profit searching with the pretense of unique religious practice. Through the 1930s, Jewish race was another alleged source of unwholesome characteristics.