Argentina Files Complaint Against Israeli Ambassador

The Argentine government has filed a complaint in Israel against the Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Itzhak Aviran.

Argentine Assistant Foreign Minister Andres Cisneros called Aviran to a meeting last week and protested recent public statements made by the envoy.

Aviran recently spoke out after a recent series of anti-Semitic incidents here, including the defacement last month of 100 tombstones at the Jewish cemetery of La Tablada.

“It is not enough to show solidarity with us,” Aviran said. “The government must do something because we only see darkness, more violence and less security.”

During his meeting with the ambassador, Cisneros called Aviran’s statement an intrusion in the internal affairs of the country, adding that it “does not reflect the opinions of the State of Israel or the Argentine Jewish community.”

In an unusual step, the Argentine government publicized over the weekend details of Cisneros’ meeting with Aviran and filed a complaint in Israel.

These steps were taken “to make very clear that our problem is with Aviran and not with Israel,” an Argentine Foreign Ministry source said in an interview.

The Argentine government officially describes its relations with Israel as “optimal.”

Argentina’s protest “did not create tensions with Jerusalem,” the ministry source said. “We expect that Aviran will be instructed to tone down his constant criticism of the Argentine government.”

The Israeli Embassy did not comment on the incident.

At first a low-profile ambassador, Aviran has become during the last few months an outspoken critic of the Argentine government, citing its inability to find those responsible for the March 17, 1992, bombing of the Israeli Embassy, which left 29 dead and some 100 wounded.

Aviran, along with Jewish groups here and abroad, has also criticized the government’s inability to solve the July 18, 1994, bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association, also known as AMIA.

The AMIA bombing left 86 dead and more than 300 wounded.

The Argentine government has repeatedly raised expectations that they had achieved breaks in the two bombing cases — only to dash those hopes at a later time.

Last week, for example, authorities arrested four neo-Nazi suspects in connection with the recent attack on the La Tablada Jewish cemetery outside Buenos Aires.

This week, the four were released because of a lack of evidence.

The suspects were arrested Oct. 24, less than a week after the cemetery attack, during which vandals smashed and marked tombstones with swastikas, and daubed the site with graffiti saying that the Holocaust was “a great Jewish lie.”

The case caused a stir after authorities found floor plans of the AMIA building during a raid on the suspects’ homes.

But this week, the official in charge of the case, Judge Victor Termite, denied there was any break in the AMIA case, saying the floor plans were photocopies taken from a book that was published after the AMIA bombing.

In the past five years, eight attacks on Jewish cemeteries in Argentina resulted in the destruction of more than 400 headstones.

Vandals were caught in only one of those attacks.

In a separate development, Argentine authorities are looking for an Iranian national in connection with the 1992 embassy bombing.

They would not reveal the identity of the Iranian suspect.

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