Is It Safe to Be Jewish in Argentina?

The death or likely murder of Alberto Nisman, lead investigator of the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center, is a product of Argentina’s dysfunctional political culture and its ongoing effort to develop closer relations with Iran. But, writes Eamonn MacDonagh, straightforward anti-Semitism also comes into the mix—notwithstanding the fact that foreign minister Héctor Timerman, a driving force behind rapprochement with Iran, is himself Jewish:

Timerman frequently mentions his Jewishness and regards himself as an example of how good things are for Jews in Argentina. In many ways, he’s right about that. He is foreign minister, after all. . . . President [Cristina] Fernández de Kirchner. . . appears to believe that Jewish people are possessed of quasi-magical qualities, making it a good idea to have some of them around. In her initial reaction to Nisman’s death, she asked how anyone could believe that Timerman, who “professes the Jewish faith and is Jewish”—to use her bizarre construction—could possibly have done anything illegal during the negotiations with Iran. Timerman too has never been slow to bring up his Jewish origins whenever the government’s relations with Iran have been questioned. . . .

Nisman was also Jewish, but made no particular fuss about that fact. His enemies, however, never forgot it, and the unceasing flow of death threats he received rarely failed to include a cataract of anti-Semitic abuse. When he went public with grave allegations that the Argentine government had broken the law in order to exculpate the murderers of dozens of its citizens, and had done so through a pact with [Iran,] one of the most anti-Semitic regimes on earth, it didn’t take long for a bullet to end his life.

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Read more at Tower

More about: AMIA bombing, Anti-Semitism, Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs

The Arab Press Blames Iran Rather Than Israel for Gaza’s Woes

Following the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the weekend, many journalists and commentators in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia didn’t rush to condemn the Jewish state. Instead, as the translators at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) note, they criticized the terrorist group for “operating in service of Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip’s residents.” One Saudi intellectual, Turki al-Hamad, wrote the following on Twitter:

It is apparent that, if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today it does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, “Why [is this happening] and who is to blame?”

I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders. . . . From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motives, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime.

A, article in a major Arabic-language newspaper took a similar approach:

In a lengthy front-page report on August 7, the London-based UAE daily Al-Arab criticized Islamic Jihad, writing that “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, while the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” It added that Iran does not want to confront Israel directly for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

“The war in Gaza is not the first, nor will it be the last. But it proves . . . that Iran is exploiting Gaza as it exploits Lebanon, in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with the West. We all know that Iran hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israel, and it also will not do this to defend Gaza or Lebanon.”

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza Strip, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel-Arab relations, Persian Gulf