MEMBERS OF the Argentine Jewish community congregate in front of the outline of the former Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the building’s destruction by a car bomb.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Argentinians like to say that their country has been robbed and looted for hundreds of years, and there’s still a lot left to steal. Argentina is a vast country, rich and rotten. Its history is rife with violence and corruption: the mass slaughter of indigenous peoples, tens of thousands “disappeared” by whatever junta or dictator happened to be in power at the time.
Argentina is not only rotten, it’s rotten to the core. The Nazis who fled Europe after the war were welcomed in Argentina with open arms. So presumably the Argentinians aren’t only corrupt, they’re also fools. Just where did they think Latinos ranked on the Nazi scale of races? Didn’t they understand that in the eyes of their guests Adolf, Josef and the rest, they were convivial creatures who liked to eat meat and dance the tango, but were infinitely inferior to Aryans? It’s very likely that anti-Semitism arrived in Argentina centuries ago with the first Spanish colonists. You’d think after all this time it would have petered out over there on the other side of the world, where their summer is our winter and vice versa. But you’d be wrong. So what if our embassy in the capital was bombed? And the Jewish community center two years later? What’s the big deal? Was it the end of the world? Yes, it was, for 114 people, not all of whom were Jewish. But you don’t cry over spilled milk, or over a dead Jew.
Why get all hot and bothered over events that occurred more than 20 years ago? Vamos Jorge, vamos Matilda, we’ll be late for the football game. And we can buy oil from Iran at bargain rates. So just put it out of your mind. What was it again? One man didn’t put it out of mind, however.
Alberto Nisman didn’t forget, and he didn’t forgive. He insisted on ruining the two-forthe- price-of-one sale: get rid of some Jews and get your oil cheap. Nobody was surprised when he was found dead. Just one less Jew.
My main interest in Argentina is the fact that it is home to close to 200,000 Jews. It is a centuries-old community whose fascinating history includes the Baron de Hirsch colonies and Jewish gauchos on horseback.
There’s also an embarrassing chapter about Jewish pimps. That’s part of their history, too, and fits very neatly with the corruption that grows in Argentina like grass on the pampas, encompassing police officers, judges and elected officials. All three branches of government, the executive, judicial and the legislative, are well-represented.
The Jewish community is deeply rooted in Argentina and fully integrated into the life of the country. Still, it’s hard to understand what they’re doing in a place that doesn’t really care if they’re murdered. Their death will be paid for in the form of a discount on the purchase of imported fossil fuel.
Why live in a country like that? All of you, come to Israel. They try to kill Jews here, too – but the price is much higher.
It’s exacted by force, and can’t be paid in coupons. And most importantly, this country is ours.Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai, email@example.com.