The Fall of Cristina Kirchner and the Limits of Argentine Anti-Semitism

Dec. 16 2015

The outgoing Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, deliberately impeded the investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center—in part, argues Eamonn MacDonagh, out of anti-Semitism. But while this may have helped bolster her popularity, it wasn’t enough to keep her party in control of the government:

The death of [her husband and predecessor] Nestor Kirchner in October 2010 precipitated the beginning of a shift toward Iran in Argentina’s foreign policy and a radicalization of Cristina Kirchner’s rhetoric. This was based on a conspiratorial worldview that saw Argentina as the victim of plots by mysterious global forces, many of them led by Jews. This shift eventually led to the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with Iran in January 2013, supposedly to investigate the AMIA massacre but in fact designed to guarantee impunity for the wanted Iranians. This was accompanied, on the part of Fernández de Kirchner, by frequent mentions of her determination to find out who those really responsible for the massacre were—and the sotto voce implication that the official representative bodies of Argentina’s Jewish community might have had some role in it. The likely murder of [Alberto] Nisman in January this year only exacerbated this rhetoric.

So far this fits well with the classical mold of anti-Semitism, though this isn’t the anti-Semitism of old. . . . With the new anti-Semitism, Jews are welcome to participate as long as they have the right opinions. Fernández de Kirchner appointed Jews to senior cabinet positions, and one of them, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, was a key negotiator of the pact with Iran. . . .

[But] capitalism, whatever else it is, is not a conspiracy, and it’s not a conspiracy run by Jews, either. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner departs from office against a background of roaring inflation, stagnant growth, and central bank reserves at historic lows. So while the emotional satisfaction derived from anti-Semitism is very great, even for some Jews, it’s a poor way of explaining how the world works. The economic catastrophe of the latter years of Kirchnerismo explain the defeat of its candidate, Daniel Scioli, and the triumph of [the newly elected] Mauricio Macri.

Read more at Tower

More about: Alberto Nisman, AMIA bombing, Anti-Semitism, Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, Iran

Israel’s Friendship with Iraqi Kurds, and Why Iran Opposes It

In May 2022, the Iraqi parliament passed a law “criminalizing normalization and establishment of relations with the Zionist entity,” banning even public discussion of ending the country’s 76-year state of war with Israel. The bill was a response to a conference, held a few months prior, addressing just that subject. Although the gathering attracted members of various religious and ethnic groups, it is no coincidence, writes Suzan Quitaz, that it took place in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan:

Himdad Mustafa, an independent researcher based in Erbil, to whom the law would be applied, noted: “When 300 people gathered in Erbil calling for peace and normalization with Israel, the Iraqi government immediately passed a law criminalizing ties with Israel and Israelis. The law is clearly aimed at Kurds.” . . . Qais al-Khazali, secretary-general of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (Coordination Framework), a powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militia, slammed the conference as “disgraceful.”

Himdad explains that the criminalization of Israeli-Kurdish ties is primarily driven by “Kurd-phobia,” and that Kurd-hatred and anti-Semitism go hand-in-hand.

One reason for that is the long history of cooperation Israel and the Kurds of Iraq; another is the conflict between the Kurdish local government and the Iran-backed militias who increasingly control the rest of the country. Quitaz elaborates:

Israel also maintains economic ties with Kurdistan, purchasing Kurdish oil despite objections from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad. A report in the Financial Times discusses investments by many Israeli companies in energy, development sectors, and communications projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, in addition to providing security training and purchasing oil. Moreover, in a poll conducted in 2009 in Iraqi Kurdistan, 71 percent of Kurds supported normalization with Israel. The results are unsurprising since, historically, Israel has had cordial ties with the Kurds in a generally hostile region where Jews and Kurds have fought against the odds with the same Arab enemy in their struggles for a homeland.

The Iranian regime, through its proxies in the Iraqi government, is the most significant source of Kurd-phobia in Iraq and the driving factor fueling tensions. In addition to their explicit threat to Israel, Iranian officials frequently threaten the Kurdish region, and repeatedly accuse the Kurds of working with Israel.

Read more at Jersualem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Iraq, Israel-Arab relations, Kurds