Gu­atemalan town re­vives the pogrom tra­di­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ADAM FE­IN­STEIN

THE MU­NIC­I­PAL­ITY of San Juan la La­guna in Gu­atemala voted last week to ex­pel its strictly Ortho­dox Jewish com­mu­nity of 32 families — around 200 peo­ple.

Misael San­tos, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Jewish com­mu­nity, said: “We don’t have any­where to go. If we don’t leave, they’ve threat­ened to cut off our wa­ter and elec­tric­ity.”

Lo­cals had re­port­edly com­plained to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that their in­dige­nous Mayan tra­di­tions were threat­ened by the use of a public wa­ter fa­cil­ity as a mikveh and by the rit­ual of ka­parot — in which a rabbi swings a chicken around his head be­fore slaugh­ter­ing it.

Ear­lier this year, Jewish com­mu­nity mem­bers claimed that they had been asked to sign up to a mu­nic­i­pal reg­istry, ver­i­fy­ing whether they were legally al­lowed in Gu­atemala. They added that they had been sub­jected to ver­bal and phys­i­cal abuse and the win­dows of a house had been smashed with rocks.

Mr San­tos told the news­pa­per Prensa Li­bre that res­i­dents of the town had up­loaded pic­tures of Hitler to a lo­cal web­site and had warned the Jews that they would put them in ovens.

“They asked us to get out of town be­cause they said that we kid­nap chil­dren and said the town would be in­vaded by Jews,” he said.

Ane­mer­gen­cymeet­ing­wasar­ranged for Au­gust 27 between the San Juan la La­guna au­thor­i­ties and the Of­fice of Civil Rights (PDH) to re­solve the is­sue.

In a com­mu­niqué is­sued last week, the PDH said it con­sid­ered the ex­pul­sion of the 32 Jewish families il­le­gal be­cause it con­tra­vened the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights and the Gu­atemalan Con­sti­tu­tion.

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