Argentina’s populist movement, led by Juan Perón, welcomed people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds to join its ranks. Unlike most populist movements in Europe and North America, Peronism had an inclusive nature, rejecting racism and xenophobia.
In Peronism as a Big Tent Raanan Rein and Ariel Noyjovich examine Peronism’s attempts at garnering the support of Argentines of Middle Eastern origins – be they Jewish, Maronite, Orthodox Catholic, Druze, or Muslim – in both Buenos Aires and the interior provinces. By following the process that started with Perón’s administration in the mid-1940s and culminated with the 1989 election of President Carlos Menem, of Syrian parentage, Rein and Noyjovich paint a nuanced picture of Argentina’s journey from failed attempts to build a mosque in Buenos Aires in 1950 to the inauguration of the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center in the nation’s capital in the year 2000.
Peronism as a Big Tent reflects on Perón’s own evolution from perceiving Argentina as a Catholic country with little room for those outside the faith to embracing a vision of a society that was multicultural and that welcomed and celebrated religious plurality. The legacy of this spirit of inclusiveness can still be felt today.
About the authors
Raanan Rein is Elías Sourasky Professor of Latin American and Spanish History and former vice-president of Tel Aviv University.
Ariel Noyjovich is a historian and independent scholar. He lives in Tel Aviv.
“[Peronism as a Big Tent] reveals and contrasts many examples of political careers of Argentine-Arabs, describing their biographical complexities in ways that avoid the construction of stereotyped narratives … Rein and Noyjovich have provided a thoughtful history which is conscious of its constructive-interpretative character. The authors present multiple voices, not only from the period in question, but also traced further back in history.” Journal of Latin American Studies