Trading in Arms with the Junta Was More Important than Rescuing Jews
Post 1945 there was one regime that murdered Jews because they were Jews and in particular because they were left-wing Jews. In Argentina between 1976 and 1983 3,000 of the Disappeared Ones were Jewish, 10% of those murdered by the fascists. Yet there was not one word of protest from Israel. Quite the contrary. It would seem that Israel was actually advising these torturers on 'counter-insurgency'.
‘they interviewed in Europe Mr. Peregrino Fernandez, a policeman who broke down and confessed that much of the atrocities committed by him and his cronies. Peregrino, during the lengthy confession, gave details of how Herzl Inbar, minister counselor of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, gave "counterinsurgency instructions”.’The major excuse for Jews to support Israel is that in the event of anti-Semitism reoccurring, then Israel will provide a safe haven. Argentina proves the opposite. If a regime comes to power that is anti-Semitic it will also be an authoritarian right-wing, probably semi-fascist friend of the United States and therefore Israel. Israel is likely to be supplying it with arms and advice. It is hardly likely therefore that Israel will stretch out the hand of friendship to its victims.
I came across the following article in yesterday’s Ha'aretz. It is perhaps the ultimate in Zionist hypocrisy. The Knesset refused to debate the plight of Argentinian Jews when they were being murdered. Israel's Embassy in Argentina deliberately refused to process their visas because it traded in arms with this very same anti-Semitic Junta. The Zionists now want to bury the dead bodies of the same Jews it abandoned. Jews who had nothing but contempt for the murderous racists and fascist collaborators that constitute Israel's political class.
'The Knesset yesterday unanimously approved a decision demanding that Argentina extradite to Israel those Argentina colonels and generals involved in mass killings during the country's military dictatorship from 1976-1983 so that they can be put on trial. Just 19 MKs were present for the debate.It is noteworthy that just 19 members, i.e. less than one out of every 6 members, attended the Knesset debate and voted. But of one thing we can be sure. Israel would move heaven and earth to prevent the extradition of these generals and colonels. Why? Because they would sing like a canary about their relationship with Israel!! We can be sure that this is simply a propagandistic exercise now that Spain has demanded their extradition.
MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz) proposed the move, saying that it was a "hypocritical discussion since all the facts have long been known and the government of Israel never once lifted a finger and cooperated with the Argentine murders because of their interest in arms deals." The Knesset's decision, which takes the form of a declaration, follows reports that 40 former officers of the military junta were arrested in Argentina on Sunday on the orders of the new president, Nestor Kirchner, who said that he is prepared to extradite them to Spain. The Knesset also called for mass graves to be opened to identify Jewish victims of the regime and bring them for burial to Israel'
Between 1976 and 1983 Argentina was ruled by an anti-Semitic Junta. It was a state that was very close to the United States, being a lynchpin of anti-communism in South America. But Israel was also involved. In supplying weapons, intelligence and training to these self-same anti-communist regimes. So the Israeli state had a choice – between friendly relations with the anti-Semitic regime of Argentina or waging a vigorous campaign against the torture and murder of Argentina’s left-wing Jews (and other socialists). Israel had no compunction in deciding that its relations with the Argentinian Junta came first.'
Yossi Sarid, an MK for Mapam and later Meretz (civil rights movement) is one of the few Israeli parliamentarians to have consistently taken up the issue. Despite his party Mapam, which in Israel has almost disappeared, being in the leadership of the Argentinian Zionists. H noted in Ha'aretz of 31.8.89. (translated from Israeli Mirror) in an article ‘Why Yair Klein Has Nothing to be Ashamed Of’:
‘But perhaps it is just as appalling to extend massive military aid to one of the world’s most murderous regimes, yet Israel supplied the evil Argentinian junta with weapons and tools of repression during the years in which they kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and killed tens of thousands of civilians. Israeli-Argentinian relations were never closer than in the late 1970’s.’In 1981 the American Jewish Congress, a thoroughly Zionist body, sent a delegation to General Viola, who was then head of the Junta. As befits a Zionist organisation, they found a great deal in common with anti-Semites, even of the most murderous kind:
‘Delegation members appeared impressed with General Viola’s knowledge of Jewish affairs, which he said, came from his contacts with Daia, the representative organisation of Argentinian Jews, as well as from Israeli diplomats in his country and family and personal ties.’And the delegation were, of course, right to be impressed with Viola's knowledge of Jewish affairs. Adolf Eichmann was also an 'expert' on Zionism and the Jewish communities.
[Jewish Chronicle, 27.3.1981. ‘Viola Gives Pledge of Anti Hate Action]
The Daia was considered by Jewish socialists and left-wingers as no different from the Nazi appointed Jewish Councils (Judenrat) in Europe in the war, who were an essential component in the Nazi plans for extermination.
Jacob Timmerman, the famous editor of a liberal paper La Opinion, was arrested and savagely tortured by the Junta. Because of his fame his torturers did not kill him and a liberal Zionist, he was deported in October 1979 to Israel, where he campaign against the 1982 Lebanon invasion. He was unremitting in his denunciation of the timidity if not outright collaboration of the Dai. In his book 'Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number' Timmerman wrote that
''I would forget my torturers, I declared, but never the Jewish leaders who acquiesced calmly in the torturing of Jews.'Yitzhak Mualem wrote in ‘Between a Jewish and an Israeli Foreign Policy: Israel-Argentina Relations and the Issue of Jewish Disappeared Persons and Detainees under the Military Junta 1976-1983’ Jewish Political Studies Review 16:1-2 (Spring 2004),
According to Ben-Gurion's national approach, the state constitutes the highest goal of Zionism and the Jewish people. He did not ignore the problems of the Jews in the diaspora, but nevertheless saw the goals of the diaspora as secondary to the goals of the state, whose mere existence serves the needs of the diaspora. Israel's role as a Jewish state was to strengthen the Jewish nation's status and power in the domestic and international arena by mobilizing the diaspora on behalf of this cause. In the particular case under discussion, the mobilization of the diaspora was achieved on two levels: bringing Jews to Israel and the adoption of a cooperative-passive policy by the Jewish community regarding the policy of the State of Israel. MKs Yair Tsaban and Yossi Sarid claimed that this policy and cooperation were implemented in flagrant ignorance of the Jews of Argentina. As Yossi Sarid put it: "In Argentina, Israel sold even the Jews for the price of its immediate interests."There is a cruel irony in the 'Jewish State' choosing between friendly relations with anti-communist regimes and the lives of Jewish citizens of those states. But we shouldn't expect any better. Socialist and communist Jews are regularly labelled 'traitors' and 'self-haters'. Why should they expect a state like Israel, the satrap of the United States, to place the interests of Jews above the interests of the State of Israel?
According to Sarid, this was done through cooperation with the military junta in the economic area, and by not arousing international and Jewish public opinion about the fact of the disappearance and arrest of young Jews in that country.'
Below is an article in a now defunct Israel newspaper Hadashot:
Israel Denied Shelter to Left-wing Argentine Jews During Junta Rule
Hadashot (Israeli Hebrew newspaper), 28 Sept. 1990
The Israeli government could have saved hundreds of Argentine Jews, who were murdered or kidnapped during the rule of the generals between 1976 and 1983, claims Marcel Zohar in his book Let My People Go to Hell, soon to be published by Zitrin.
The military censor this week decided to at last permit the publication of the book, except for several paragraphs which, so he claimed, might endanger certain person's lives or harm Israel's relations with other countries. The publisher, Ben Zion Zitrin, is about to offer the book to foreign publishing houses.
Zohar, who was Yedi'ot Aharonot [an Israeli evening newspaper] correspondent in Argentina between 1978 and 1982, describes how the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and other official bodies refrained from processing immigration applications from Jews with left-wing background, in order to preserve Israel's good business and political links with the ruling junta. In the same period, arms sales worth about one billion dollars were concluded between Israel and Argentina. According to Zohar, both Likud and Labour leaders shared in the conspiracy of silence.
His book recounts the struggle which took place between Danny Rekanati, the immigration official based in Argentina, and the Israeli ambassador, Ron Nergad. Rekanati tried to help persecuted Jews escape from the country, while Nergad, according to the book, complained about his activities. The unwritten instruction was to refuse any help to Jews defined as 'too left-wing'.
The late Menahem Savidor, who was Knesset chairman at the time, admitted to Zohar that he had prevented a public Knesset debate on the situation of Argentina's Jews at the government's request in order not to harm Israel's crucial links with Argentina. The prime ministers of the period covered, would not discuss the book. Yigal Alon and Moshe Dayan, who were Israel's foreign ministers then, are no longer alive. The foreign ministry refused to cooperate or to open its archives for the period.'
Below is an article that appeared in an Argentinian newspaper, Pagina 12 on 27th November 2009:
Official Judaism, Dictatorship and "Pirkei Avot"
By Herman Schiller
During the act of homage to "New Presence" (magazine) conducted last year with the presence of Osvaldo Bayer, David Viñas, Victor Heredia and others, Mrs. Frida Rosental, mother of Luis Ricardo, kidnapped on 31 August 1976, read a statement signed by fifteen families of the disappeared Jews. The text was very clear and distinct from the histrionics that official Judaism has set in motion, in time for a “self absolution” for the role played during the dictatorship.
"The senior hierarchy of the Church and the armed forces," said the communique, two of the protagonists for the criminality of the military dictatorship, apologized. We know it was a hypocritical act, to adapt to new political winds, because in no way they are sorry for what they did as perpetrators and accomplices. In contrast, 'our people', the Argentinean Jewish Community establishment and various Israeli governments, did not do even that. And in recent years have unleashed a fierce self-laundering offensive to conceal their complicity.
Renée Epelbaum, a founder of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, coined the phrase that became common amongst us:
‘We would not want our children to learn that Jews were killed by Israeli weapons. We also, remember well the ruthless handling they received in the DAIA (central body of the Jewish Community in Argentina) when we came asking for help in those days of pain and uncertainty. We were thrown a slap in the face the form of a reproach: “This happened to you because you did not give Zionist education to your children' .’Quite some time ago, another Jewish mother, Mary Gutman, a member of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and mother of Albert, who was kidnapped on 28 November 1976, published in the New Zion newspaper that is published in Buenos Aires (December 2001, page 10), a similar criticism in the wake of moves that resulted in those days by the government of Israel:
"I have carefully read this aberrant, report the 'official (Israeli) report on missing Israeli Jews in Argentina,'" said Ms. Gutman, adding :
"One wonders at the audacity and brazenness of the Israeli authorities, which says absolutely nothing about their nefarious role in that era. Israel, like their American masters, gave the dictatorship financial, political and moral support and weapons. Our dear children suffered a double persecution: by fascist soldiers who were tortured and made them disappear. And also, by the Fascist Jews, who armed the murderers. In 1982, when Prime Minister Shamir came to Buenos Aires, He did not want to receive us . Shamir is a fascist and I am an antifascist. So was my son. And I am deeply proud of revolutionary dreams and struggles of my son. Who was a Jew and, perhaps, was killed with Israeli weapons”.In front of opportunism and hypocrisy of official Judaism in recent years I intend to address this issue, I try on every occasion to expose the falsity of the claim. Today, faced with a new event, convened by the leadership of the AMIA ( Argentinean Jewish Welfare Association) to pay "homage and remembrance for the missing Jews in Argentina", I chose to transcribe the concepts of two Jewish mothers. I think they are much more categorical and irrefutable than what someone like me could say, deeply involved as I was in this story, but not directly affected by the tragedy. Anyway I add a couple of stories.
Human Rights Secretary Eduardo Luis Duhalde, a little over six years, while still a federal judge, took me (and Mary Gutman) to a television program about the Jewish community led by Daniel Schnitman. He recounted how at the end of the dictatorship and along with the poet Vicente Zito Lema, they interviewed in Europe Mr. Peregrino Fernandez, a policeman who broke down and confessed that much of the atrocities committed by him and his cronies. Peregrino, during the lengthy confession, gave details of how Herzl Inbar, minister counselor of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, gave "counterinsurgency instructions”.
But to better understand the philosophy of the leadership of the Jewish community, it is worth remembering the commemoration it staged in November 2001. It might seem crazy, leaders of the DAIA, in this time of rise of popular struggles, paid tribute to the police. And one of the honorees was none other than the police commissioner Jorge Palacios (alias "Fino"), who was the leader of the so-called "anti-terrorist unit", a body full of fascist elements.
A Jewish old treatise, Pirkei Avot, contains an aphorism, a counsel, which should guide every good Jew: "Al Tivada larashut" (Do not come close to power). The Argentinean Jewish Community in other times (eg during the pogrom of the Tragic Week of 1919), when most of its members were workers, artisans and lower middle class, had been part of an honorable tradition of struggle and confrontation with the authorities . In recent decades, clouded and manipulated by its reactionary bourgeois leadership,it has become identified with the dominant power, both, political power and economic power. And almost no one seems to remember the beautiful. aphorism of Pirkei Avot.'
I have also put up an extract from a pamphlet, 'Zionism and its anti-Semitic Shadow' which I wrote nearly 20 years ago. It is still as relevant. See also this site for details on the military murderers that Israel was happy to trade and treat with.