Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Feud Over the Falklands: Star of David

Last week we examined offshore oil drilling near the Falklands and how this has helped fuel the diplomatic tug-of-war between Argentina and Britain. Today we will briefly examine alleged anti-Semitism within the Argentine military during the Falklands War.

The recently declassified Rattenbach Report concluded that the Argentine troops “weren't adapted or equipped to handle the weather or the living conditions” in the south Atlantic during the Falklands War thirty years ago. According to journalist Hernan Dobry, Jewish troops faced additional difficulties due to their background and religious beliefs.

In his new book, “The Falklands Rabbis”, Dobry described the discrimination from military commanders against Jewish troops such as terrible insults, physical abuse and forced menial labor.

“Every so often I would be called a ‘Jewish shit’ and in other occasions they ordered me to perform additional duties,” said one veteran in a published except of Dobry’s book. Another former soldier described how he endured having his “meals mixed with piles of shit and I had to find the food using only my mouth.”

During the Falklands conflict, the Argentine military for the first and thus far only time appointed rabbis as chaplains. Their help was welcomed by troops located in the Patagonia region that had suffered immense injustice. Unfortunately the rabbis’ help was limited by not being allowed to travel to the Falklands due to logistical (and possibly prejudicial) reasons.

As Dobry mentioned in an interview with Argentina’s La Nacion, the shame of the Falklands War worsened the wounds received by Jewish troops:
After the war ended the troops returned defeated and nobody worried about them…The defeatist climate, the need to hide the troops and the attitude of “nobody speaks about the war” permeated all of society including the Jewish community. The book celebrating the seventieth anniversary of the DAIA (Argentine Jewish cultural group)…did not mention the rabbis serving as chaplains despite its historical significance.

The soldiers remained forgotten and discredited by an abusive society.
In the below video from Argentine TV, Dobry discussed his book while Falklands War veteran Silvio Katz explained the experiences he endured:

Video Source – YouTube via TVPublicaArgentina

Online Sources – La Nacion, La Gaceta de Tucuman, The Telegraph

No comments: