Newscaster in Argentina fired for spewing anti-Semitic canards on air

JTA

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella organization is taking legal action against a national television newscaster who used anti-Semitic canards during recent broadcasts.

Santiago Cuneo said last week in several episodes of his daily TV show “1+1=3” on cable news channel Cronica TV that Israel sends its soldiers to search the south of the country; made reference to the “Andinia plan” which claimed a Jewish plot to break off and form a Jewish province in the country; and questioned the loyalty of the country’s Jewish leadership to Argentina.

Late last week, Argentina’s Jewish political umbrella, the DAIA, accused Cuneo of anti-Semitism and announced that it planned to file a lawsuit against him. The DAIA said Cuneo’s views “highlights the most execrable and classic anti-Semitic typology of international conspiracy theories, associations of Jews with money and imperialist intentions, the reinstatement of the Andinia plan, the demonization of the State of Israel, the foreignization, the accusation of double loyalty and the impairment of dignity of an entire community.”

Cueno responded to the DAIA statement saying: “Israel sends soldiers here after the army to search the Patagonia region and escape through Chile. When Israel stops sending soldiers here after the army, then we can talk. Ok? And I’m denouncing the Andinia Plan? Yes, and so what. DAIA, what are you, Jewish Argentinean or Israelite? Because If I talk with an Argentinean of the Jewish religion or Muslim or Catholic like me, I’m talking to an Argentinean. But if I’m talking with an Israeli citizen, it’s another conversation.”

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“So when you DAIA sign a document explain what the f**k are you. An Argentinean who professes a religion. Or an Israeli citizen who defends the interest of another nation but not Argentina.” he added.

Cuneo, who opposes current President Mauricio Macri, criticized him for a planned visit to Israel, describing the Argentine government as a “political associate of international Zionism” and alleging Macri will “hand over the Patagonia” to the Israelis.

On Friday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center asked Cronica TV to fire Cuneo. That evening the broadcaster announced that it would be his final broadcast.

The channel issued a statement saying that “according to the sequence of unnecessary insults by Santiago Cúneo to journalists, politicians, communities and institutions, the decision was made that he will no longer appear on Crónica.  Is it censorship? No. What he did is to distort information, bastardize journalism, not take care to check his sources and not respect the editorial view of the channel.”

In his program Cuneo also said “We are building a gigantic majority to terminate these miserable rats, this pro-American and Israeli government.” He also said: “My greatest contempt is for you Mauricio Macri, and absolute contempt for the band of delinquents that surround you, including the (Jewish) leaders of DAIA.”

A  federal prosecutor on Tuesday filed a petition against him which calls for the federal judiciary to investigate whether he violated the country’s anti-discrimination law, which has been on the books since 1998.

“For the last week, Argentine News Channel Crónica granted prime time to Santiago Cúneo, a ‘journalist’ who dedicated his program to defaming the Jewish community and its leaders, the State of Israel, women and the current government,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for International Relations for Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement. Samuels praised the cable channel for firing him.