RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Jewish groups in Brazil are calling for a retraction after one prominent Brazilian economist questioned the loyalty of a Brazilian Jewish economist during an interview streamed by a widely viewed news organization.
The comments were about Ilan Goldfajn, a Brazilian-Israeli economist who was recently elected president of the Inter-American Development Bank, which promotes economic growth in Latin America and the Carribean.
Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr., a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund, said during the interview on Jornal GGN that Goldfajn is hostile to the government of President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and included his Jewish background as one of the reasons. Batista’s argument invoked multiple antisemitic tropes about Jewish power and dual loyalty.
“He is essentially a financier, connected to the U.S. Treasury, to the Jewish community. He is actually Jewish-Brazilian, born in Haifa, Israel. And the Jewish community has a strong presence in the U.S. Treasury, in the Monetary Fund, in international organizations, not only in private banks,” Batista said. “As a Brazilian, all he has is his passport.”
Batista also mocked Goldfajn’s last name, calling it “unpronounceable” for not having a Portuguese origin.
Goldfajn, 56, is a former president of Brazil’s Central Bank. He left Israel at an early age and was raised in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended a Jewish day school and is an active member of the Brazilian Jewish community.
Batista made the statements Dec. 16, but they only gained widespread notice Dec. 24 when several Jewish groups reacted fiercely. Several other non-Jewish figures followed suit, turning the episode in a firestorm in Brazilian media this week.
The Brazilian Israelite Confederation, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization, was the first to respond. “Batista resorts to old antisemitic clichés used by fascists and racists to vilify a Brazilian citizen who contributes so much to our country,” the group said in a statement posted to social media.
The Sao Paulo Jewish federation, which represents half of Brazil’s 120,000-strong Jewish community, followed suit.
“Associating Jews with money and power takes us back to the worst moments in human history that culminated in the persecution and death of our ancestors,” the federation said in a statement.
A note by B’nai Brith Brasil likened Batista’s comments to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous falsification of European antisemites. And the Jews for Democracy nonprofit called the episode “a clear example of left-wing conspiracy anti-Semitism.” (Lula is leftwing and was narrowly elected to replace Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, a Christian nationalist who has been a strong supporter of Israel.)
The Brazil-Israel Institute demanded a public apology by the attack perpetrator and the show’s host, Luis Nassif, who later tweeted that he didn’t react because he considered the statement xenophobic, but not antisemitic.
“The statements are antisemitic as in an antisemitism handbook, establishing the classic relationship between Jews and money, triggering the thesis of a Jewish plot and even repeats logic that removes from the Jews the possibility of being Brazilian,” the institute posted on social channels.
Fluent in Hebrew, English, Portuguese and Spanish, Goldfajn has a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. In the mid-1990s he was a professor at Brandeis University.
His track record in banking in Brazil and beyond is extensive. He has served as chief economist at Itau, Brazil’s largest private bank, and deputy to the bank governor of Brazil, as well as adviser to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In 2018, Goldfajn was named central banker of the year by the British magazine The Banker due to his successful performance at the helm of Brazil’s Central Bank, taming the country’s annual inflation.
“Ilan Goldfajn is a unique figure within the Brazilian economic scenario and a source of great pride for Brazil and for the Jewish community. He will certainly contribute a lot with his great experience,” Renato Ochman, president of the Brazil-Israel Chamber of Commerce, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in November, when Goldfajn was elected Inter-American Development Bank for a five-year term.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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