Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, points out to me that for the second year running, Argentine President Christina Kirchner is going to skip commemorations for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Her snub to Argentina’s Jewish community comes after her refusal to allow the prosecutor in the case to testify in the U.S. Congress in recent hearings about Iranian activity in Latin America.
The move caps Kirchner’s efforts to exculpate Iran. She has gone so far as to invite Iran to re-investigate the bombing, a move akin to having the arsonist investigate the fire, never mind that when Iran appealed the Argentine court’s ruling to INTERPOL, the international police force examined all the evidence and found it credible, upholding red notices on senior Iranian politicians (including current defense minister Ahmad Vahidi).
Let’s put aside Iran’s clear culpability in a terrorist attack on Argentine Jewish civilians apparently only because the Iranian leadership found them guilty of being Jewish. Kirchner’s refusal to attend the memorial suggests deep-seated disdain and disrespect for Argentina’s own Jewish community as it commemorates the worst terrorist attack on Argentine (and perhaps South American) soil.
Argentina’s embrace of Iran not only insults its Jewish citizens, but poses a threat to United States national security as well. As Kirchner follows the path laid by other populist Argentine and Latin American leaders of whipping up populist fervor against contrived and imagined enemies, she threatens to set Argentina down a disastrous path. Let us hope that, in such a case, President Obama will recognize that neutrality is not a virtue.