The leader of Argentina's Jewish community lamented on Monday the speech President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gave Friday at the UN General Assembly which was, he alleged, unfairly critical of the community.
The speech also appears to hint at a Jewish conspiracy behind the economic crisis experienced by Argentina in recent decades – though Fernandez never said so outright.
Fernandez blasted Jewish community leaders for their unwillingness to let Iran participate in the probe into the 1994 Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA) bombing attack in Buenos Aires, which left 85 people dead and 300 others injured.
A year ago Iran confirmed that it would cooperate with Argentina in probing the attack after charges that Tehran was behind it.
Addressing the assembly, Fernandez charged that “The Jewish institutions that always support us, they turned against us. When we signed the agreement [of cooperation with Iran] it seemed that the internal and external demons were unleashed. Jewish institutions who had accompanied us turned against us. When we decided to cooperate they accused us of complicity with the State of Iran.”
The speech was not well received by Argentina's Jewish leaders. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted Julio Schlosser, head of the country’s Jewish political umbrella organization, as saying “we've always said that the Republic of Iran, or the terrorist state of Iran, is not a valid partner since they are not trustworthy in any memorandum that seeks the truth. She (Fernandez) tried to turn victims into victimizers. We were victims of terrorism. We are the victims of the only demon which is the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Kirchner appeared to draw a link between Jewish opposition to Argentina's cooperation with Iran on the AMIA bombing, the “vulture funds” – commonly known as hold-out funds – that her country owes money to, and Israel's Gaza war, in her speech at the General Assembly. She devoted a large portion of her speech to the need to confront “economic terrorists” like the hold-out funds.
The hold-out funds, having bought heavily discounted defaulted Argentina 2033 bonds remaining on the market after its 2001 default, then refused to join the the debt restructuring in 2005 and 2010, when about 90% of bondholders agreed to accept conversion of the defaulted bonds into new ones with longer maturity and lower interest rates.
According to Global-Investment.com, the leading hold-out funds that refuse to accept the restucturing are NMB Capital's Elliott Fund, run by Paul Elliott Singer, and Aurelius Capital, run by Mark Brodsky – and both Singer and Brodsky are Jewish.
Kirchner also called in the UN speech for recognition of a Palestinian state and for preventing the “disproportonate use of force” by Israel “that has caused the death of hundreds of women and children.” At the same time, she said that Israel has the right to live safely within its borders and denounced rocket fire at Israel.
Taking steps to redefine who the world's true terrorists are will be a step toward cutting the 'Gordian knots' that plague world politics currently, she said.
A 2011 poll conducted by the Gino Germani Research Institute of the University of Buenos Aires on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League and Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas showed that a majority of Argentines held anti-Semitic sentiments or prejudices. Of the 1,510 Argentines surveyed, 82% agreed with statements "that Jews are preoccupied with making money," 49% said that they "talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust", 68% said that they have "too much power in the business world", and 22% said that the Jews killed Jesus. The majority of people interviewed also expressed belief that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their country of birth.