Last week I left home to come back... home. What a strange situation to feel that two different countries are home. Buenos Aires will always be the stage of my memories of childhood and adolescence, as well as part of my Adult life. America will always be the stage of where I became who I am today.
Last week, I was reading about the PASO elections in Argentina (taking place August 11), and this week I am reading about the Social Studies curriculum in California. In both cases, while concerned about the impact of those events on the general population, I was particularly concerned about their impact on Jews.
The PASO elections are voluntary, as opposed to the regular Elections (scheduled for October) which are a Mandatory Right for every Argentinean Citizen. The PASO elections are intended to allow minor parties to decide whether they will really run with their own independent candidate or whether they will throw their support for a major candidate. The main candidates are Mauricio Macri (Incumbent, head of "Cambiemos") and Alberto Fernandez (Candidate of "Con Todos", a Kirchnerist list in which Cristina Kirchner, past President, is running as Vice Presidential Candidate but really holds the reins). In addition, Lavagna, former Economy Minister of Kirchner, runs as candidate of a competing Peronist (non-Kirchnerist) list. Analysts agree that the results of the PASO will be inaccurate and tilting towards Kirchner because followers of Macri do not feel so compelled to participate. In the final analysis, if Macri wins the October elections and remain President, it is likely that the KIrchnerists will reject the results and take to the streets igniting street violence. If Fernandez wins and becomes President, it is possible that he will resign shortly thereafter and leave Cristina Kirchner in formal control. But even if that doesn't happen, Kirchner is the one in charge; and that means that she will use the levers of power to take revenge of all those she feels wronged her. She will also seek immunity for her crimes (which include ordering the assassination of Alberto Nissman) and will seek reapproach with Iran, Maduro's Venezuela (Macri has recognized the government of Lopez, but Kirchner is likely to change that) and Raul Castro's Cuba. The end result will most likely be that Argentina will undetgo the same institutional collapse which is still crippling Venezuela.
Argentina is home to 230,000 Jews.
The issue of the Social Studies High School Curriculum in California is a matter of serious concern for the Jewish community. The proposed curriculum ignores Jewish contributions to American Society, talks about May 14, 1948 only as the "Palestinian Nakba" and talks about Israel as a colonial enterprise. In short, the curriculum is a natural reflection of the BDS language we have been witnessing in American college campuses for the last 8 to 10 years. If anything, this curriculum initiative highlights the price of BDS infiltration in College campuses. The nbew curriculum is intended not to highlight the rich diversity of California's population, but to indoctrinate High School students on what is the "correct thinking".
Between 3.2 % of Californians are Jewish; 1,232,690 Jews called California home in 2015. But what happens in California is likely to influence other States, potentially affecting every American Jew.
Truth be told, there were also positive developments - like a group of Democratic legislators publicly disauthorizing the so-called "quartet" and rallying support from a majority of Democratic candidates in support of Israel and American Jews; in Europe, there appears to be an awakening of those who oppose anti-Semitism (Jews and non Jews alike) and the International Definition of Anti Semitism is being adopted by more countires every month.
But dwelling on the positive can lure us into complacence and to ignore the negatives. Globally, the Jewish Federations' System (which includes the Jewish Agency, the JDC and ORT) are addressing the needs of Jews in Venezuela and getting ready to help Argentinean Jews should that become necessary. We also help other endangered Jewish communitgies in Ethiopia, India, some Arab countries, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and more. A growing wave of French Jewish Olim is being absorbed in Israel as well.
At Home, the AMCHA Initiative (not to be confused with the Israeli AMCHA or the NY AMCHA) fights anti-Israel and anti Semitic bias in Public school curricula - also with support of the JFNA, and the Israel Action Center (A joint program of JFNA, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations) fights anti Israel bias in campuses and Churches.
There are plenty of ways to get involved and add your efforts to the never ending battle against Anti-Semitism and Anti-Sionism both at home and abroad. Celebrate the victories - but do not let the guard down!
AM ISRAEL CHAI