Search

 

Cablegate: Codel Engel Visits Amia and Discusses Concern Over

VZCZCXYZ0034
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0246/01 0581823
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271823Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0344
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1713
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000246

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

WHA/BSC FOR DRUCKER, FRIEDMAN, AND SLATTERY
NEA/IR FOR HWOOSTER
S/CT FOR VIRGINIA PALMER AND ARNOLD SIERRA
NSC FOR JUAN ZARATE AND JOSE CARDENAS
FBI FOR CTD IRAN-HIZBALLAH UNIT AND OIO AMERICAS UNIT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV KJUS AR FBI
SUBJECT: CODEL ENGEL VISITS AMIA AND DISCUSSES CONCERN OVER
IRAN AND VENEZUELA WITH JEWISH LEADERS

REF: (A) BUENOS AIRES 0225 (B) BUENOS AIRES 0226 (C)
BUENOS AIRES 0229 (D) BUENOS AIRES 0242 (E)
BUENOS AIRES 0244

1. (SBU) Summary. On February 22, Ambassador Wayne and a
visiting U.S. Congressional delegation headed by
Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) met with the political
leadership of the Argentine Jewish community (DAIA) and the
President of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA).
During the meeting, DAIA representatives asked that the U.S.
Congress (USC) use its political influence on their
counterparts in other Parliaments worldwide to seek
commitments of support for any possible extradition requests
related to the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish
cultural center. Engel assured the DAIA and AMIA leadership
that the USC would do all it can to help bring the
perpetrators of the crimes to justice.

2. (SBU) Engel expressed the USC's concern over Iran's
growing influence in the region, particularly the Bolivian
President Evo Morales' announcement that Iran will establish
a regional TV channel in Bolivia. Representative Jerry
Weller (R-IL) encouraged the DAIA leadership to raise the
issue with the GOA, asserting that Argentina is well-placed
to be a moderating influence in the region. Engel also
expressed concern over the Venezuelan government's continued
harassment of its Jewish community, and asked whether a
future CODEL visit to highlight the issue would help or hurt
the community. The DAIA's leadership called the situation
"sensitive" and stated that it would be best for the USC to
consult directly with the Venezuelan community. End summary.

------------
Participants
------------

3. (SBU) On February 22, Ambassador Wayne and visiting U.S.
Congressional delegation headed by Representative Eliot Engel
(D-NY) met with the political leadership of the Argentine
Jewish community, the Delegation of Argentine-Israeli
Associations (DAIA). Other participants included
Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Gene Greene (D-TX),
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL). DAIA
participants included Vice President Angel Schindel, Third
Vice President Julio Schlosser, Secretary General Michael
Angel Zechin, and International Affairs Advisor Alfredo
Neuberger. Also in attendance was Argentine Ambassador to
the United States Hector Timerman and AMIA President Luis
Grynwald.

-------------------------------------------
DAIA Requests Support for AMIA Extraditions
-------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Schindel thanked the Congressional delegation for
their visit, calling it a sign of the USG's ongoing
commitment to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 1994
attack on the AMIA cultural center. There has been progress
on the AMIA case, he said, adding that Interpol voted in
November 2007 to issue international arrest warrants, or "Red
Notices", for six suspects, including Hezbollah leader Imad
Mughniyeh who died in a car bombing on February 12.
Representative Engel stated that while he is not a violent
man, Mughniyeh's death meant "there is one less terrorist in
the world." Schindel lamented that many have been quick to
blame Israel for Mughniyeh's death, when rival terrorist
groups may be the ones responsible. Since the attack, the
Argentine Jewish community has been on alert as there have
been increased threats against Israel and the Jewish
community worldwide, he stated.

5. (SBU) Although there has been progress on the
international aspects of the AMIA terrorist bombing,
Argentina and the Jewish community are still waiting for
justice to be served for local accomplices in the AMIA attack
and the 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing, he continued. Schindel
recounted that the first investigation into "the local
connection" ended in acquittal for the suspects, and noted

that the Supreme Court investigation into the Embassy attack
continues to this day. He asked that the Representatives use
their influence with their counterparts in other Parliaments
worldwide to seek a commitment from those governments to
support any possible extradition requests related to the AMIA
bombing in the future.

6. (SBU) Engel assured the DAIA and AMIA leadership that the
U.S. Congress would do all it can to help bring the
perpetrators of the crimes to justice. The American people
and the Argentine Jewish community are united in the cause
against terrorism, hatred, and anti-Semitism, he said.
Although the Jewish Diaspora has faced a long history of
hatred and persecution, modern terrorism aims not only to
destroy a people, but an entire society. He stressed that it
is therefore critical that people of good will stand up to
fight the threat of terrorism.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Concern over Growing Iranian Influence in Region
--------------------------------------------- ---

7. (SBU) Engel explained that the reason for the CODEL's
visit to the region was to speak out against the Iranian
government's attempts to spread propaganda in Argentina,
Bolivia, and Ecuador. Weller added that they raised with
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) their concern
over Bolivian President Evo Morales' February 18 announcement
that Iran will open a regional television station in Bolivia.
He expressed concern that the channel will be used as a
vehicle to broadcast anti-Israel, anti-U.S., and anti-Semitic
propaganda. Weller encouraged the DAIA to raise this issue
with the GOA, as Argentina is well-placed to be a moderating
influence in the region and can point out to its neighbors
that allowing such an operation is a mistake.

8. (SBU) Schindel agreed that this is an issue of mutual
concern, and added that Argentina's public television channel
airs Arab programs that rail against the Jewish community
over the issue of Palestine. He indicated that the DAIA has
requested meetings with GOA officials to discuss the issue.
He also asserted that the GOI is using petrodollars to exert
influence in poor Argentine communities to promote extreme
fundamentalism which threatens the peaceful coexistence
Argentine Jewish and Muslim communities have had for decades.

9. (SBU) Neuberger also underscored the importance of
speaking out against hate speech, and expressed dismay that
not enough countries from "the democratic world" condemned
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest verbal attack
on Israel, likening the country to "a dirty microbe."
Neuberger emphasized that "we need help to sway public
opinion that this is not a Jewish or American issue, but
humanity's issue" and asked that the U.S. Congress actively
raise this concern with their Parliamentary colleagues around
the world. Engel agreed, noting that the U.S. Congress has
raised this issue in its Inter-parliamentarian dialogue with
the EU. He stated that the Europeans have the unfortunate
tendency to "wear blindfolds", even though there could be a
negative impact on Europe should Iran carry out its threats
to "wipe Israel off the map" given geographical proximity.
He added that the international community must work to deal
with the possibility of a nuclear Iran because "Israel and
the United States can't do it alone."

--------------------------------------------- -----
Concern over Embattled Venezuelan Jewish Community
--------------------------------------------- -----

10. (SBU) Grynwald then noted DAIA's growing concern over the
emerging Tehran-Damascus-Caracas axis. Engel stated that
Washington is deeply concerned about the many reports
regarding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's continued
harassment of the Venezuelan Jewish community. He
characterized the BRV's December 1, 2007 raid on its main
Jewish community center in the search for illicit weapons as
"ridiculous". He asked whether these threats are serious,
and what the U.S. Congress's response should be. He


explained that he had received conflicting advice, with one
side arguing that he should visit Caracas to call attention
to the plight of Venezuela's Jews in order to halt further
BRV harrassment, and another side arguing that he should not
go as it would only make the situation worse for the
community. Schindel stated that this was a very sensitive
issue and advised that the U.S. Congress consult with the
Venezuelan Jewish community itself. He noted that the BRV's
raid came a few months after CFK had traveled to Venezuela to
celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Venezuelan Jewish
community where she delivered a speech harshly criticizing
terrorism. Not a single BRV official attended, he observed.

11. (U) Cable cleared by Codel Engel. NOT/NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.
KELLY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC