Jewish center bombed in Argentina
Posted by musliminsuffer on July 17, 2008
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
Jewish center bombed in Argentina
What has been described as the heart of the Argentine Jewish community was destroyed July 18 when a massive bomb blast ripped through a building in Buenos Aires. The religious center housed the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, Argentina’s primary Jewish communal leadership group, and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, the community’s social service arm. The bombing left at least 37 confirmed dead and 157 injured. Three days after the incident some 60 others were still unaccounted for. Historic archives were also destroyed.
Israel blamed the attack on Islamic extremists aligned with Iran and seeking revenge for a June Israeli attack on a pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia camp in Lebanon that left 50 guerrillas dead. Iran has denied any involvement. Argentine President Carlos Menem said the attack was planned “from abroad and helped by people [in Argentina].” The blast followed by little more than two years a car bomb attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 28 and injured more than 200. No arrests have been made in that case, which Israel also blamed on Muslim extremists. While not discounting a possible Middle East link, Argentine Jews and others interviewed suggested an alternative motive for the latest bomb attack.
Among the projects housed at the building was a review of previously secret government files that reportedly reveal how scores of Nazis entered Argentina. following World War II with the help of Argentine officials. Review of the files has gone on for two years but was believed to be far from complete. Speculation centered on the possibility that former Argentine govemment and military officials, fearful of exposure, were responsible for the bomb attack, most likely in tandem with Middle East extremists.
“Blaming Muslims fits Israel’s worldview, and blaming outsiders is convenient for Argentine officials who would prefer not to deal with an explosive domestic problem,” said Carlos Waisman, an Argentine Jew who teaches political sociology at the University of California – San Diego. Moreover, said Waisman, Argentine Jews generally maintain a cordial if distant relationship with the country’s estimated 500,000 Muslims of Arab descent. Menem himself was a Muslim but converted to Roman Catholicism in order to satisfy Argentine constitutional requirements for becoming president.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, suggested that these same cashiered govemment and military figures may also have sought to embarrass the Menem govemment because of its decision to release the files and its ties with Israel and the Argentine Jewish community. “Anti-Semitism is endemic in Argentina,” added Jacobo Kovadloff, consultant on Latin American affairs for the New York-based American Jewish Committee. Earlier this year, Kovadloff noted, Argentina’s chief rabbi was assaulted while walking to synagogue by youths who pushed him to the ground and shouted anti-Semitic curses. That attack followed by one day the painting of Nazi slogans on the chief rabbi’s synagogue. Argentina hosts the largest Jewish community – estimates put the figure at upwards of 250,000 – in Latin America.