Did Argentina’s Jewish Foreign Minister Betray Justice?
Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish Community Center Bombing
Source: CC-BY MRECIC ARG
The troubled Argentine leftist Peronista government of President Cristina de Fernandez Kirchner has expanded agricultural trade with the Islamic Regime in Tehran. Apparently there is a ready market for soybeans and Argentine beef in Iran. In 2012, Argentinean trade with the Islamic Republic zoomed to more than $85 Billion, an increase of 1,100 Percent in six years. More than 55% of the trade is in agricultural products.
That may have been the principal reason behind a deal cut for creation of a South African-style Truth Commission in which Argentine judges would hear testimony from former Revolutionary Guard Commander and now Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. There is an outstanding Interpol warrant for the arrests of Vahidi as there was for the late Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyah, assassinated in Damascus by a Mossad hit team in February 2008. The 2007 Interpol arrest warrant was issued given substantial evidence that Iran had perpetrated the 1994 AMIA Argentine Jewish Community bombing that had killed over 85, injuring hundreds. An earlier 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing in Beunos Aires that killed 29 and injured more than 242 persons was suspected of also being perpetrated by Hezbollah and Irn's Revolutionary Guards.
The architect of the Truth Commission treaty with Iran is the Jewish Foreign Minister of Argentina, Hector Timerman, whose late father, Jacopo, was a human rights icon and publisher who was jailed and then deported by the ruling military junta in the early 1980’s. Israel gave the elder Timerman, author of the acclaimed, Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number, sanctuary, only to have him criticize the Jewish state for its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Jacopo Timerman returned to Buenos Aires where he passed away in 1993.
Now, his son has been severely criticized for his instrumental role in negotiating and concluding a Truth Commission with the Islamic regime. His fellow co-religionists in Argentina and the State of Israel expressed outrage for betraying justice due the victims of the 1992 Israeli Embassy and 1994 AMIA Jewish Community blasts. The leadership of the Argentine Jewish community organized protest rallies this past weekend in Buenos Aires and issued statements criticizing Timerman.
“I did not betray my Judaism in the pact with Iran because we are trying to solve the AMIA bombing case,” Timerman said Monday during an interview with La Red radio. “The move was inspired by the deep humanistic tradition of Judaism and thinking always about the victims and the relatives of the victims.”
Interviewer Luis Novaresio asked Timerman how he could sign the deal with Iran, a country whose president has denied the Holocaust. The deal established a “truth commission” that allows independent judges to interview suspects in the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994.
“I did not meet with the Iranians to discuss the Holocaust; I was with them to solve the AMIA case,” Timerman responded. “If I will have the opportunity to talk with them about the Holocaust, they will know what my opinion is.”
Timerman defended the dialogue with Iran and criticized the Israeli position on the issue.
“There are some sectors in Israel that are very close to the government; they do not want any dialogue. They want a military solution to the Iranian problem, and Argentina doesn’t believe in that,” he said.
Timerman, in an interview with Radio Continental in Argentina, said that he “had no debt” to Israel for harboring his father.
My father was imprisoned, disappeared [in Argentina], and I have to go and thank them [Israel]? I mean, I have to change Argentine foreign policy and shit on the AMIA because supposedly I have a debt to Israel? I have no debt. When a person being pursued is saved, there are no debts.
The Argentine Senate will vote on ratification of the memorandum of understanding with Iran on Thursday, February 21st followed by a vote in the lower chamber on Tuesday, February 26th.
Protests are scheduled the same day at the Argentinean Embassy in Herzliya, Israel.
Last Friday, February 15th a rally by 300 Argentine Jews was held in Buenos Aires protesting the truth commission treaty with the Islamic Republic and commemorating the deadly AMIA Jewish Community bombing that occurred on July 18th, 1994. After many years of investigation, no trial has been convened by Argentine prosecutors to bring the Iranian and Hezbollah perpetrators to justice.
Sergio Bergman, a lawmaker and Reform rabbi, remarked at the rally:
We ask Argentine society’s forgiveness for wasting a great privilege that democracy gave us. We have the first Jewish foreign minister, and that is why we say sorry.
Timerman’s calumnies against his own people stand in marked contrast to the former Jewish Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, Prof. Dr. Uri Rosenthal, the son of Dutch Jews who fled Nazi-occupation for sanctuary in Montreux, Switzerland where their son was born in 1945. Rosenthal, a respected academic expert in foreign affairs, and Parliamentary leader in the Senate for the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), served as Foreign Minister in the ruling VVD coalition from October 2010 to November 2012. Rosenthal’s wife is Israeli and he has two sisters who made aliyah to Israel. He is a defender of the Jewish State and had prodded the EU to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group in the wake of the Burgas, Bulgaria suicide bombing of a tourist bus in 2012 that killed five Israelis and the Bulgarian Bus driver. The Netherlands had listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group in 2004. The irony, given the current controversy over Argentinean Foreign Minister Timerman’s role in fashioning the Truth Commission with Iran, was the Burgas blast perpetrated by Hezbollah with support of Iran’s Qods Force occurred on the 18th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish Community bombing on July 18th, 1994 .