Cristina Kirchner is a rare case of a woman reelected as president: In a
landslide victory last week, she received 54 percent of the vote, followed by
the Socialist Front with a meager 17%.
Like the first female president of
Argentina, Kirchner is the widow of her predecessor. But unlike Isabel Peron –
who took office more than 30 years ago when her husband, president Juan Perón,
died – Kirchner has now been duly elected to the presidency in her own
Both Peron and Kirchner belong to the Peronist movement, second to
none in its influence on Latin America’s political history despite its nebulous
Kirchner is one of the few ideologues.
Consistent with a
populist approach, she advocates heavy-handed state intervention in the economy,
seemingly oblivious to the modern Greek tragedy currently unfolding in
Her strategy to avert a deficit implosion, such as the one
Argentina suffered in 2001 during its worst crisis ever, is to appeal for more
This is where Israel enters the picture, not as a
financier, but as a potential bridge to facilitating access with the
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The Peronist platform has always been
confrontational toward the
Argentina’s current foreign minister, Hector
Timerman, has many
contacts in Washington, where he had served as ambassador until four
when he was summoned to replace a minister who failed to demonstrate
unconditional loyalty to Kirchner.
also a Jew with close
family in Israel and the son of the late Jacobo Timerman, a famous
journalist who came on aliya in 1979 after being jailed and tortured by
Argentinian military. The elder Timerman wrote a regular column in an
newspaper, but he failed to achieve the success he’d had in Buenos
Aires, and he
returned there some three years later. He penned a book criticizing
among other things because it followed the pattern of Peronist
same ideology to which his son now adheres.
Hector Timerman brought the
relationship with the US to one of its lowest points, and recently
Brazil against Israel in supporting the bid for the recognition of an
Palestine at war with the Jewish state.
necessitated Argentina reinvent its relationship with America, and it is
to succeed this week, as President Barack Obama has requested a meeting
Kirchner in Cannes during the G-20 meeting. At that meeting, the strong
government of a staunchly democratic Argentina will ask the US’s help to
renegotiate its debt with the Paris Club of banks (where the US is the
of its 19 members, and its 13 associate members include both Israel and
BUT WHAT will Argentina give in
exchange for the US support?
Kirchner might offer to commit to a more aggressive stance against
growing influence in South America, but really it is Argentina that
leading the anti-ayatollah line, not the US.
perpetrated the two
most deadly terrorist attacks on Argentina’s soil, in 1992 and 1994,
100 people dead and hundreds forever maimed.
first attack was on the
AMIA building, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and it was
thoroughly investigated by a highly professional team of 40 specialists
prosecutor Alberto Nisman. That committee’s findings spelled out
conclusions regarding Iran’s involvement, which were fully accepted and
implemented by the Interpol.
Nisman has visited
Israel several times and
met with the president of the Supreme Court, government ministers and
has received several awards for his work.
Buenos Aires last week,
Nisman met with Dan Restrepo, President Obama’s senior adviser on Latin
and the person leading the US’s anti-terrorist policy. Nisman updated
on his investigation against Iran, including his team’s findings
link between the perpetrators of the 1994 AMIA attack and Abdul Kadir,
attempted to blow up New York’s/ JFK International /Airport two months
But regardless of Iran’s bloody history
Kirchner’s government believes it is in its interest to use any future
stance as a negotiating card in the game of rapprochement with the
The Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas
Argentinas (DAIA), the
political representative body of Argentinean Jews, maintains close ties
Kirchner government, and hardly raises an eyebrow about Argentina’s thaw
Iran. DAIA seemed unperturbed when, in stark contrast to its behavior in
year’s UN General Assembly, the Argentinean representative respectfully
this year to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ranting, which
hint that he’ll extradite those guilty of planning and carrying out
attacks in Argentina.
This attitude contradicts
sensitivity toward the AMIA case, in which she assisted the
1999 as head of an ad hoc Committee of the Argentine Congress.
Pepe Eliaschev recently revealed a secret agreement according to which
would forgive Iran’s terror against its citizens in exchange for
DAIA maintains its nonchalant attitude,
Argentina’s stand on Iran. Unbelievably, DAIA distanced itself from the
of Nisman’s investigation, and didn’t challenge the delegitimization of
in the UN. The relationship with Israel is seldom seen by DAIA as part
Argentina’s position toward the local Jewish community, which numbers
THE ARGENTINE government includes many
Jewish functionaries, and
it is sensitive toward the dangers of Judeophobia.
Jew-hatred in Latin
America began in 1890 in Buenos Aires with the publication of the novel
Stock Exchange, in which author Julian Martel blamed “the Jews” for the
of Argentina’s finances more than a century ago – when there were almost
there to blame.
It is well known that the
phenomenon of Judeophobia is a
European trademark exported to the rest of the world with varying
Its outstanding penetration in Argentina
is probably due to the
fact that it is the most European-oriented country of the Americas.
is affectionately nicknamed “The Paris of South America,” and Martel’s
precisely quotes from Edouard Drumont’s Judeophobic classic La France
However, this new wave of Judeophobia in
Latin America is not of
European making. It is a recycling of Muslim hatred that has flowed onto
shores via Venezuela, Iran’s staunch supporter and partner.
President Hugo Chavez is probably the world’s last head of state to
admiration for former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syrian President
Assad. In 2004 he was awarded the Muamar Gaddafi International Human
Prize, joining such luminaries as Louis Farrakhan, Fidel Castro and
After Chavez, the award went to
Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega
and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
considers Chavez a close
friend and ally, since Argentina has been one of the beneficiaries of
waste of Venezuelan’s assets.
When Kirchner asks
Obama this week in
Cannes to help refinance Argentina’s $7 billion debt, and to support her
government in front of the ICSID (the World Bank’s International Centre
Settlement of Investment Disputes), she may well offer not only a
on Iran, but also a partial detachment from Chavez.The author is the
To Kill Without a Trace (in Spanish) about Iranian
penetration in Latin America.
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