NEW YORK (Jan. 5)
The presence of a notorious Arab terrorist leader at a breakfast in December with President Alan Garcia of Peru and other top officials in Lima’s presidential palace has been vigorously protested by representatives of the American Jewish community.
In a special meeting with Ambassador Alberto Montana, Peru’s Consul General in New York, Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of the Latin American Affairs Department of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and Yehuda Hellman, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, expressed “shock and disappointment” at the invitation extended to Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the political department of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
They told the Ambassador that the reception accorded Kaddoumi conferred an “undeserved legitimacy” on an organization which is not only part of an international terrorist network but which allegedly is training members of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), Peru’s native terrorist revolutionary organization that has killed hundreds of people and caused major disruptions in Peruvian life.
CLOSING PLO OFFICE IN LIMA URGED
“Instead of honoring an individual closely linked to hijacking and murder,” the two Jewish representatives told Ambassador Montana, Peruvian officials would be much better advised “to sever all relationships with the PLO and to close its office in Lima.”
They pointed out that Kaddoumi was intimately involved in the hijacking of the Achille Lauro, that he lied about the brutal murder of Leon Klinghoffer and even claimed that no killing had taken place.
Rosenthal and Hellman recalled that Kaddoumi, in a speech before diplomats at the United Nations, had “brazenly made the ridiculous charge that Mrs. Klinghoffer had killed her own husband and thrown him overboard to collect the insurance.”
Subsequent to the meeting, Rosenthal said that their representation to the Ambassador was one of several protests about Kaddoumi’s presence at the breakfast that had been received by the Peruvian government.
PROTESTS IN PERU
He noted that Peru’s Jewish community had described the invitation to Kaddoumi as “strange and inconsistent with the realities of Peruvian life.” He said that Jewish leaders there had made the point that “it is inconsistent for Peru to denounce indigenous terrorism while not denouncing it in the Middle East.”
Peruvian newspapers also voiced strong objection. Expresso, a Lima daily, had charged that the Peruvian attitude “is not realistic” and described the reception given to Kaddoumi as “a shame” because of his connection to the Achille Lauro hijacking.
Rosenthal said that Peru’s relationship to the PLO goes back to June, 1979, when the military government of Gen. Francisco Morales Bermudez permitted the Arab organization to open South America’s first PLO office in Lima.
He said the office distributes anti-Semitic literature such as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and has been linked with extremist groups on both the left and right in Peru.