Argentina’s Jews Are Serving the Far Right’s Silent Revolution

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Protester holding sign that reads 'I am Nisman' outside the AMIA Jewish community center, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 21, 2015. Credit: AP

It has been proved once again that in Argentina truth is stranger than fiction. What appeared to be a conspiracy theory has taken on real form; who knows what monster is lurking. Dark forces from the past are returning, keen to reap vengeance on the Kirchner family because late Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, the husband of his successor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, put them on trial for crimes against humanity.

About a week ago I wrote in Haaretz’s Hebrew edition that the murder of prosecutor Alberto Nisman reeked of a well-timed right-wing conspiracy, in cahoots with former police and army officials, to overthrow the government and destroy Argentina’s democracy, still weak after 30 years.

Indeed, as information leaks out, the conclusion that Argentina is undergoing an attempted revolution strengthens. This is an elegant, sophisticated and refined revolution. It’s being carried out not by tanks or attacks on the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s White House, but by stoking the kind of social and economic chaos that overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973, which Naomi Klein described so well in her book “The Shock Doctrine.”

And here, amid all the commotion, smoke and disinformation, surfaces the Jewish connection — mainly because the affair revolves around the 1994 terror attack on the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires — and the 85 victims who were buried underneath. Second, the journalist Damián Pachter who broke the news of Nisman’s death received death threats and fled to Israel, leaving behind a trail of speculation on his motives.

Worse still is the role the Jewish community is unwittingly playing in this despicable affair as it protests the deal Argentina signed with Iran in the attempt to absolve Tehran of responsibility for the terror attack. This deal is controversial and problematic no doubt, but it does not measure up to Israel’s arms deals with Argentina’s junta during the dictatorship launched in 1976. In the 1970s, the number of Jews murdered by the junta by Israeli-made arms was several times greater than the number of Jews later murdered by Tehran’s minions in Buenos Aires.

And the community doesn’t notice that the far right is latching onto the legitimate protest and building the revolution's foundations based on its criticism. Not only does this attempt not serve the Jews, but you don’t have to be a historian to know that it will target them sooner or later.

Nisman, who was murdered a week ago, is an example of the Jewish drama in Argentina. He was infected by the obsession with Iran that infected the entire community. He was nourished by materials that Israel gave him (according to the local media), and was used by the right wing to promote a revolution he probably never wanted. In the end, he paid with his life.

This is the story of Argentina’s Jews on a small scale. I ask myself how these wise and good-hearted people could have fallen into a trap and wound up on the same side as the country’s fascists.

If that weren’t enough, there’s the Israeli connection. Israel has become an player in the Argentine drama, and not for the right production company. Argentines believe that it gave intelligence to Nisman, and now the reporter who broke the story has found refuge there.

Israel probably isn’t directly involved in the affair, but Argentines see it as an extremely powerful player making things complicated for two major reasons: first, because this is a chance to strike at Iran; second, because Israel has a score to settle with Latin America’s “left-wing” governments that embrace the Palestinians and vote against Israel at the United Nations.

Even if this theory is far-fetched, the two reasons sound logical. As far as Israel is concerned, the Argentine right wing is more Zionist than the current government, and that’s enough reason to speed up regime change.

So Argentina’s Jews, whose pain is real, have become pawns in the hands of foreign interests who have nothing to do with them. Worse, they are serving a historical process that has been timed by forces that not only care nothing about the Jews, but will settle accounts with them the first chance they get.

Ironically, it seems that when Argentine Jews hit the streets last week to protest, holding signs reading “We are Nisman,” they knew what they were talking about.

Dr. Meir Margalit, the coordinator of the Latin America desk at the Forum of Peace Organizations, heads the Center for Advancement in Peace Initiatives.

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