Brodsky, Adriana M. “‘Belonging to Many Homes’: Argentine Sephardi Youth in Buenos Aires and Israel, 1956–76.” In Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century (ed. Richard Ivan Jobs and David M. Pomfret; Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 213-35.
In 1956, a small number of young Argentine Sephardi men and women decided to ‘take over’ a building that belonged to Or Torah — the Congregation of Damascene origin in Barracas, a neighborhood in the south of Buenos Aires. One Saturday evening, they walked with enough supplies to last them a few days into a house used by older members to play dominos and cards. While one group remained in the building, a delegation walked around the neighborhood, including the coffee houses (the famous Bar de los Turcos among them) where many of the congregation’s leaders sat discussing the events of the week, and distributed printed flyers with the words: ‘We have taken over the club’. After spending the night in the building, and following a violent altercation with members of the communal leadership featuring flying chairs and the singing of the Hatikva (the Israeli national anthem), the youth group was granted permission to use the space for its own activities. ‘We introduced Israel, Israeli dance, culture, and much more [to the young members of Or Torah]’, said one of the rebels. ‘In fact’, another member recalls, ‘we succeeded — through the activities we devised — in bringing back to Judaism a large number of people who had stopped attending the synagogue services all together’.
This article focuses on the Israeli politicization of the Armenian genocide from the perspective of foreign policy. Since the early 1980s Israel’s official position has been to not recognize the Armenian genocide. The issue of recognition came to the surface in 1982 after Turkey put pressure on Israel to cancel a Holocaust and genocide conference. This article shows that Israel agreed to pressure the conference organizers to cancel the conference in order to secure protection for Jews fleeing Iran and Syria through the Turkish border. This article also explores the role of informal ambassadors in shaping Israel’s position on this issue. Using recently declassified archival documents and oral interviews with key Israeli stakeholders, this is the first investigation into the role of informal ambassadors, specifically the Jewish minority in Turkey, and the American Jewish pro-Israeli lobby. The article also addresses a secondary incentive for Israel’s refusal to recognize the genocide: ethnic competition between Jews and Armenians as victims of genocide.
During the span of 22 months stretching from the entry of Faysal b. Husayn into Damascus in October 1918 until his expulsion at the end of July 1920, 42 newspapers and 13 journals appeared in Syria, more than half of them in Damascus. During this time, in which the press had a critical role in expressing and shaping public opinion in Syria, it became clear to the emissaries of the Zionist institutions in Damascus that they, too, needed to turn to this medium in order to spread their message. Hence, they argued that there was a need to publish a newspaper reflecting a moderate and calming outlook that would draw Arabs and Jews nearer to and increase their understanding of the Zionist idea. The result of their activities in this area saw the founding of a bilingual, Hebrew and Arabic, newspaper, called ha-Mizrah/al-Sharq (‘The East’). An examination of the only extant copies of the three issues that were printed before the newspaper ceased publication provides us with a deeper observation into the Zionist activities in Damascus during the reign of King Faysal.