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Sandinistas and Anti-Semitism

April 08, 1985

The Times article does not adequately present the position of the Anti-Defamation League.

Nicaraguan government spokesman repeatedly assert that they have no policy of anti-Semitism. On the other hand, Nicaraguan Jews insist that anti-Semitism forced them to flee the country, thus creating the dilemma of whom to believe.

The dilemma is more apparent than real. We know of no laws in Nicaragua that are aimed specifically at Jews. There may well be no "official" policy of anti-Semitism. But, the Nicaraguan situation demonstrates that one does not need official policy in order to persecute a small community. It can be effected far more subtly by threat, intimidation and confiscation, thus avoiding the condemnation that Nuremberg-type laws would invite.

Rather than "lingering resentment" over Israel's relationship to the Somozas, we see their long and intimate relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization as the main key to Sandinista anti-Semitism. This relationship goes back almost 20 years to the the late 1960s, when the PLO began training Sandinista guerrillas in North Africa.

Patricio Arguello Ryan, a Sandinista "comrade" was killed in the attempted hijacking, led by PLO terrorist Leila Khaled, of an El Al airplane in September, 1970. Jorge Mandi, a Sandinista spokesman, has written that "Nicaraguan and Palestinian blood was spilled together in Amman . . . during the Black September battles."

In essence, the Sandinistas' anti-Semitism is a manifestation of their solidarity with the Arab world.


New York

Rabbi Rosenthal is director of the Department of Latin American Affairs of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.

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