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La Isla


Jan 12, 2010, 1:55 PM

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Anti-semitism in Mexico

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The last couple of days, the papers have been full of news about the tragic death of Moisés Saba, scion of a prominent Mexican Jewish family. Today I read a few of the articles and then scrolled down the page to see what kinds of reader comments had been posted. I was disturbed, but not surprised, to read a large number of truly nasty anti-semitic diatribes among the postings, filled with the kind of attitudes and ignorance I thought had long been laid to rest, at least by rational people. I wonder if this is an indication of a deep-rooted negativity in Mexico towards the Jews in their midst or just the verbal ejaculations of the worst of Mexican society.

P.S. I'm Jewish.



Rolly


Jan 12, 2010, 2:05 PM

Post #2 of 34 (13096 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Please give us links to the stories you read,

Rolly Pirate


La Isla


Jan 12, 2010, 2:21 PM

Post #3 of 34 (13087 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Your suggestion was a good one, Rolly. I just went back to the El Universal website and checked the articles about the Saba tragedy, and, lo and behold, the comments sections for almost all these stories had been mysteriously eliminated. I wonder what should we make of that....


Rolly


Jan 12, 2010, 2:39 PM

Post #4 of 34 (13077 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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I wonder what should we make of that....

An editor with a proper sense of decency.

Rolly Pirate


mcm

Jan 12, 2010, 2:40 PM

Post #5 of 34 (13073 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Interesting -- I did notice this morning that in local (Merida) paper, the headlines emphasized Jewish businessman, and the effect on the Jewish community. It struck me as odd.
My impression is that, especially outside of D.F., Jews in Mexico keep a relatively low profile. For example, I don't think there is a single synagogue in the state of Yucatan, and perhaps not in all of southeast Mexico.
Politically, I get the impression that there is little sympathy for Israel's positions, and a tendency to equate Jewish heritage/beliefs with "zionism".


La Isla


Jan 12, 2010, 3:02 PM

Post #6 of 34 (13066 views)

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Re: [mcm] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Interesting -- I did notice this morning that in local (Merida) paper, the headlines emphasized Jewish businessman, and the effect on the Jewish community. It struck me as odd.
My impression is that, especially outside of D.F., Jews in Mexico keep a relatively low profile. For example, I don't think there is a single synagogue in the state of Yucatan, and perhaps not in all of southeast Mexico.
Politically, I get the impression that there is little sympathy for Israel's positions, and a tendency to equate Jewish heritage/beliefs with "zionism".


Even in Mexico City Jews keep a pretty low profile, and the more observant do tend to live in the same neighborhoods (near synagogues and kosher stores and restaurants) and send their children to private Jewish day schools, adding to the sense that they feel themselves apart from the general Mexican population, which, in turn, feeds the anti-semitism that still appears to exist here.

The comments I read and which were deleted by El Universal were not of the left-wing anti-Zionist variety but dealt more with the older prejudices: Jews are all rich; they look down on non-Jews; they are greedy and stingy; they mistreat and cheat their employees; since they feel ties with Israel they aren't "real" Mexicans; etc., etc. One writer brought up the old "Jews are evil because they killed Jesus" smear. And even more sadly, a couple wrote that Hitler had been right after all.


(This post was edited by La Isla on Jan 12, 2010, 3:03 PM)


Zorba

Jan 12, 2010, 4:02 PM

Post #7 of 34 (13042 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Personally, I think Mexicans are equal opportunity racists. Probably nothing specific to the Jews. Have you ever heard Mexicans talk about Asians? Rather ignorant.


mazbook1


Jan 12, 2010, 4:30 PM

Post #8 of 34 (13026 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Although in my part of México anti-semitism is a non-starter, there are still relatively large nominally Roman Catholic, very reactionary religous groups in México that continue to foster those old, out-dated beliefs/attitudes. In general though, I think that most of the Mexican population is totally neutral on the question of anti-semitism, as they rarely know any Jewish people and certainly have no real history of anti-semitism. Quite the contrary. After the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933, México became a "safe-haven" for the Jews of Germany and Austria as it was for the anti-Fascist folks from Spain and Italy under the fascist dictatorships there.

After the Second World War broke out with Germany's invasion of Holland, Belgium and France, the Mexican consul-general in Marsielles, Vichy France, Gilberto Bosques relocated thousands of Jews and other anti-Fascists to México. There was never a hint of anti-semitism in the actions of the Mexican government. Anti-semitism today in México is completely attributed to the reactionary, religious, Roman Catholic right wing, a pretty vociferous but relatively powerless group today in México.


DavidMcL


Jan 12, 2010, 4:33 PM

Post #9 of 34 (13024 views)

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Re: [La Isla]- on a different note . . .

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A number of years ago Shep Lenchek wrote a series of articles about Jews in Mexico. The first of the 3 parts can be found here: http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/677 .

Shep provides a fascinating overview. Enjoy.

David
David McL
WebJefe


La Isla


Jan 12, 2010, 4:53 PM

Post #10 of 34 (13005 views)

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Re: [DavidMcL] - on a different note . . .

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A number of years ago Shep Lenchek wrote a series of articles about Jews in Mexico. The first of the 3 parts can be found here: http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/677 .

Shep provides a fascinating overview. Enjoy.

David


I read that series a couple of days ago and found it very informative. One thing I learned was why the Jewish population in general is so conservative in its religious practices, so different from most Jews in the States (like me, for instance!). For example, out of a dozen or so synagogues in Mexico City, only two are Conservative and none are Reform. All the rest are Orthodox or even ultra-Orthodox, quite the reverse of the situation on the other side of the border.


wendy devlin

Jan 12, 2010, 7:01 PM

Post #11 of 34 (12933 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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In my experience, tolerance and intolerance abounds, everywhere.

So I reread Shep's articles circa 2000 and remembered reading these two links to Mexican-related stories, I found interesting in 2009.


http://www.jweekly.com/...-madoff-like-scheme/

And this particular one a little later in the year: Not pretending that either link, represents, everything to everybody.

http://college.philly.com/...hrive_and_serve.html


Peter


Jan 13, 2010, 7:29 AM

Post #12 of 34 (12841 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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... and kosher stores and restaurants)...

__________

I have no particular racial, religious, or ethnic prejudices, though I'm not especially tolerant of intolerance in general. My stomach is probably the best goodwill ambassador. Can one find good pastrami in Mexico City? A corned beef sandwich with lots of fat, strong horseradish, and kosher pickles? I have yet to encounter even a bagel here in Morelia.


gpkgto

Jan 13, 2010, 7:46 AM

Post #13 of 34 (12836 views)

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Re: [La Isla] - on a different note . . .

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Have you seen the Mexican movie from a few years ago: Morirse esta en Hebreo? It's about a Mexico City jewish family sitting shiva--they don't really know what to do. Very interesting and funny. Probably available for rent somewhere.


(This post was edited by gpkisner on Jan 13, 2010, 7:46 AM)


La Isla


Jan 13, 2010, 10:18 AM

Post #14 of 34 (12792 views)

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Re: [Peter] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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... and kosher stores and restaurants)...

__________

I have no particular racial, religious, or ethnic prejudices, though I'm not especially tolerant of intolerance in general. My stomach is probably the best goodwill ambassador. Can one find good pastrami in Mexico City? A corned beef sandwich with lots of fat, strong horseradish, and kosher pickles? I have yet to encounter even a bagel here in Morelia.


I'm glad this thread has turned into a discussion of Jewish food! There are bagels to be found in Mexico City, but from the looks of them, I know they aren´t the real thing, so I stick to tortillas and chapatas. Keeping in mind that lots of the Jews in Mexico City are Sephardic, not Ashkenazi, I don´t know if such delights as corned beef and pastrami are even part of their cuisine. Truth to tell, I've never ventured much into the Jewish heartland of the DF to find out. The last time I had a hot corned beef sandwich with real kosher pickles was during a visit to Philadelphia last fall. Was it ever good, and so over-stuffed that I took half of it back to my mother's in a doggy bag!


richmx2


Jan 13, 2010, 1:45 PM

Post #15 of 34 (12759 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Although the late Mr. Lenchik's research showed that "official" anti-Semitism was rare, there's always been a nasty undercurrent of it in Hispanic Catholicism. Part of that may be due to some insecurity among the upper classes and Criollos over their own ancestry -- which included a disproportionate number of "conversos". Interestingly, it's almost hip now to claim converso ancestry, and there has been something of a movement among people claiming converso ancestry to "reconvert" -- or restore themselves -- to the faith of their very distant fathers.

It's also got to be remembered that Mexico's "religious right" are reactionary Catholics for the most part. PAN started as a fascist party, largely appealing to the provincial criollos, and Jose Vasconcelos -- who identified nationalism with conservative Spanish ideals -- was a thoroughgoing anti-Semite (he ended up as the editor of a pro-Nazi, German supported newspaper of little circulation).

The other two factos are both related to immigration... emigration from the Middle East, especially Lebanese and Palestinians. The arabs (sometimes called "turcos", since they emigrated from the Ottoman Empire) have pretty well assimilated into the Mexican mainstream, and -- having been generally financially prosperous emigrants -- are prominent in Mexican business and industry. There is some sense that the Palestinians, seen as pushed out of their ancestral lands by European colonialists have more in common with the Mexicans than the Israelis do, but how much that figures into the thinking (if they do think) of morons who post anonymous diatribes on open message boards is another question. Ad hoc propter ergo hoc rationalizations are a bigot's best friend.

Among ordinary people, there might are some cultural/social differences between the perceived Jewish community and themselves. There was massive European Jewish emigration in the 1930s and 40s. Mexico, to its credit, took in more Jewish refugees from the Nazis than the other Allied nations COMBINED. Most of the refugees only intended to stay for a short time (and the majority left for Israel or the United States and Canada after the war). Those that stayed tended to be people who either assimilated or those who had established businesses here. Many of the latter -- being Orthodox -- stand out and are seen as wealthy "outsiders". I worked with a guy who was fairly well educated and had grown up in DF, but thought all Jews lived in Polanco... because that's where he'd seen "them". Yeah, a lot of Orthodox Jews who wear traditional clothing live there, but...

I was disturbed one time when a friend of mine from Oaxaca made a remark about the "damn Jews" until it dawned on me that his real complaint was that the factory manager he needed to see wouldn't be in on Saturday. Actually, the guy was sorta joking about the "problem" of having to spend the weekend in Mexico City having fun.

And then too, no culture is idiot-proof!


http://mexfiles.net
http://editorialmazatlan.com


Tequisbob

Jan 14, 2010, 7:28 AM

Post #16 of 34 (12675 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Years ago there was a Kosher Deli near the Zona Rosa...I used to get my corned beef/pickle fix there. I don't know whether it simply closed or moved. Of course, nothing is the same as it was in the 60's prior to "student" demonstrations and subsequent shootings. I honestly believe Mexico City lost it's innocence that fateful day.

I recently saw a group of Orthodox Students walking on the river road near my home in Tequisquiapan, Qro. I stopped and visited with them briefly. Most had never met a Texan expat, much less a Reform Jew.

I have also observed in Monterrey that most of the Jewish families live in the same area.


La Isla


Jan 14, 2010, 9:06 AM

Post #17 of 34 (12655 views)

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Re: [Tequisbob] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Many years ago there was a pretty good Jewish restaurant called the Kinneret in the Zona Rosa. It wasn't up to NYC-style standards, but it did manage to assuage my cravings for matzah-ball soup and other goodies. I think there was also something similar along Reforma a few blocks before the Alameda, but my memory of it is fuzzy.


Tequisbob

Jan 14, 2010, 9:26 AM

Post #18 of 34 (12643 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Kinneret, that was it.....I used to sit outside and enjoy the wonders of D.F... When the air was pure.

I was in Palm Desert/La Quinta last month and had wonderful matza ball soup and a corned beef sandwich at Sherman's. Almost up to New York's standards. Had to take half of it home.


MazDee

Jan 14, 2010, 9:36 AM

Post #19 of 34 (12641 views)

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Re: [Tequisbob] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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I have ordered meats from Kurson Kosher Deli in México City (don't remember what colonia). They ship all over the country. I think the pastrami and corned beef are pretty good, but I'm no expert.


La Isla


Jan 14, 2010, 10:40 AM

Post #20 of 34 (12626 views)

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Re: [MazDee] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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I have ordered meats from Kurson Kosher Deli in México City (don't remember what colonia). They ship all over the country. I think the pastrami and corned beef are pretty good, but I'm no expert.


I'll google Kurson Kosher Deli and see what I come up with. Thanks for the tip!


La Isla


Jan 14, 2010, 10:43 AM

Post #21 of 34 (12619 views)

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Re: [Tequisbob] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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Kinneret, that was it.....I used to sit outside and enjoy the wonders of D.F... When the air was pure.


The air's pretty pure (not to mention "transparente") today in Mexico City. And the sun has finally come out after two weeks of cold and dark clouds and general gloom ( : !


Moisheh

Jan 14, 2010, 12:26 PM

Post #22 of 34 (12594 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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La Isla:

I have never encountered any anti semitism in Mexico other than the filth that comes from the mouths of Red Necked Americans. None of our Mexican friends have expressed any anti semitism but many of them had never even seen a Jew until we met!! The north of Mexico has very few Jews. WeE could not even find a Rabbi in Hermosillo and the only Jews we have found are " Jews for Jesus"!! I do know that the local paper is very pro Palestinian.Perhpas the Arab/ Mexican connection from years ago has given them some background for hatred. Didnt Mexico vote against Israel in the UN?? Or did I just dream that??

Moisheh aka Moises


Moisheh

Jan 14, 2010, 12:32 PM

Post #23 of 34 (12590 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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So now that all the yidlech have " come out" do we have enough for a minyon??

Moisheh


La Isla


Jan 14, 2010, 2:35 PM

Post #24 of 34 (12569 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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So now that all the yidlech have " come out" do we have enough for a minyon??

Moisheh


Only if it's a Reform "congregation", so women can be counted as legitimate members of the minyan!


Moisheh

Jan 14, 2010, 3:05 PM

Post #25 of 34 (12558 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Anti-semitism in Mexico

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OK : You bring the wine and I will get the Challah. I am sure the bakery in Kino Viejo will have some!!!


Moisheh
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