Argentina’s parliament to launch fundraising drive for Palestinians   
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Argentina’s parliament to launch fundraising drive for Palestinians   

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — A fundraising campaign for Palestine by the Argentine National Congress is being seen by one Jewish group as an endorsement of Hamas.

The Argentina parliament on Thursday will launch “Palestine Resists, Argentina Arises,” led by the president of the Friends of Palestine Parliamentary Group, Leonardo Grosso; the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Julian Dominguez, who also is a member of the ruling Victory Front party; and the Palestinian ambassador to Argentina, Walid Muaqqat.

The announced objective is to launch several fundraising activities on behalf of “the zone affected by the military Operation Protective Edge.”

During the event, the documentary “Checkpoint Rock: Songs From Palestine” will be screened, followed by a debate led by Pedro Brieger, the Jewish journalist who justified on National Public Television the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in June by Hamas operatives.

In a letter to Dominguez, Shimon Samuels, director of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Sergio Widder, the center’s director for Latin America, said that “we stand in solidarity with those who have been victims of Hamas’ violence, whether Israeli or Palestinian.”

“Our Center favors humanitarian-aid initiatives to promote peace. But this is a campaign to abuse the goodwill of Argentine parliamentarians in order to endorse Hamas’ anti-Semitic hate and violence,” Widder said. “There is nothing in the invitation program that indicates that there will also be a condemnation of Hamas’ anti-Semitic creed, expressed in its 1988 Charter, which calls for the murder of Jews internationally and for the destruction of Israel, a state with which Argentina maintains friendly relations.”

Samuels said, “Israel’s measures to minimize civilian casualties — including telephone calls, leaflets and text messages calling for residents to vacate rocket launch zones — and its decision to keep transporting vital humanitarian aid to Gaza, even under fire, are unprecedented.”

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Egypt, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

“It was Hamas’ aggression — thousands of rockets launched upon unarmed civilians — that triggered Israel’s right to self-defense as guaranteed under the United Nations Charter,” Samuels said.

Copies of the letter to Dominguez were sent to the presidents of all Chamber of Deputies blocs.