Argentina knife attack

By David Labi, May 21, 2009
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Argentinian Justice Minister Ánibal Fernández has denied that there was “an outbreak of antisemitism” in the country, after a Jewish crowd was attacked by a knife-wielding gang.

The incident took place during an event marking Israel’s 61st anniversary in Buenos Aires last week, attended by 500 people. Twenty men emerged from a subway entrance armed with sticks, knives, a flail and a banner accusing Israel of genocide, and began assaulting crowd members.

Police arrested five men, linked by the government to the anti-Zionist militant group Quebracho, and the rest fled. Three crowd members and two police officers were treated for light injuries.

Aldo Donzis, President of the Delegation of Israeli Organisations (DAIA), accused the police of failing to provide enough security.

Mr Fernández insisted the police had successfully repelled the assault.

The day after the attack over 100 affiliates of left-wing militant organisations gathered in front of the Israeli embassy to call for the release of the five men who were arrested, calling them victims of police repression.

Meanwhile, Alex Ben Zvi, director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Division, said that Israel was considering filing a complaint with the Argentinian government over the incident, which he claimed was “related to the antisemitic events that took place during the war in Gaza”.

Mr Ben Zvi alleged: “The aggressors were the same ones who attacked the Argentine Jewish businessman Eduardo Elsztain a few months ago.”

    Last updated: 11:56am, May 21 2009