Argentinean Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman hit back at Israeli and Jewish criticism of a joint commission with Iran on the AMIA bombing on his first day of testimony to his country’s Congress.
The AMIA bombing was an attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA; Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building. It occurred in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. It was Argentina’s deadliest bombing ever.
Both houses of the Congress must approve the “truth commission” before it is made active, and Jewish groups were present at the Senate session Wednesday to make clear their opposition.
Timerman argued that the commission was the best avenue to get at the truth of the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires JCC, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.
Dealing with Iran was not “pleasant,” he said in his testimony, “but our goal is advancing the AMIA case. We want to know the truth about the attack.”
Also testifying was Julio Schlosser, the president of DAIA, a Jewish umbrella group, who likened the pact to dealing with Holocaust deniers.
“We reject the memorandum because our counterpart is not dependable,” he said.
Hostility towards the Jewish state is not a new thing to the Timerman family. Héctor Timerman’s late father Jacobo Timerman, Argentine publisher, journalist, and author, was persecuted by the Argentine military regime. After his release from prison in September, 1979, Timerman Sr. was forced into exile and found shelter and hospitality Israel. Then, a year after he published his renowned “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number,” about his treatment at the hand of the Argentinean Generals, he released “The Longest War,” in which he dumped torrents of rage on his Israeli hosts following the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
Daniel Greenfield wrote earlier this week: “Héctor Timerman has proven to be every bit as cynical, dishonest and shameless as his father. The professional leftist victim has given birth to a professional leftist tyrant. And both father and son are filled with hatred and hostility for Jews and the Jewish State.”
Iran until now has resisted any cooperation with Argentina or international authorities in the bombing.
Timerman quoted Deuteronomy 16:20: “Justice, justice shall you pursue.”
The FM was especially scornful of Israeli criticism of the proposed pact. On January 31, Timerman summoned Ambassador Dorit Shavit for a “difficult, intense and unpleasant” meeting according to Ha’aretz. In the meeting, he “sharply criticized” Israel for interfering in Argentina’s affairs, telling the ambassador Israel’s interest in the bombing “encourages anti-Semitism” by implying Argentinean Jews have conflicting loyalties.
Argentina is home to a Jewish community of 200,000, among the largest in Latin America.
“Israel has no right to ask for explanations. We are a sovereign state,” Timerman said. “Israel does not speak for the Jewish people and isn’t their agent. Jews who wanted and want to live in Israel moved there and became citizens, and those who live in Argentina are Argentine citizens. The attack was against Argentina, and Israel’s desire to be involved in the matter only gives ammunition to anti-Semites who accuse Jews of dual loyalty.”
At his appearance before the Argentine Congress, Timerman said: “Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told me that we cannot sign an agreement with Iran. So maybe he wants us to kidnap the suspects or put a bomb below the car of one of them.”
Some JTA content was used in this report.