Engel honored for Hispanic Heritage Month at Israeli Embassy


They served chips and salsa along with traditional Israeli food Tuesday night as the Israeli Embassy celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month along with the American Jewish Committee’s Latino and Latin American Institute and ambassadors from various Latin American countries.

The honoree was Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who received the AJC’s Gesher Award and was saluted by two of his fellow House of Representatives members — House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Henry Cueller (D-Texas).

Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, joked that the kudos from his colleagues were like "attending your own funeral."  More seriously, he spoke out against the efforts by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "to make the Jewish community a scapegoat."

Argentinian Ambassador Hector Timerman also spoke Tuesday evening, and he devoted a portion of his remarks to calling for Iran to turn over suspects in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Timerman said the suspects, which include Iranian defense minister Ahmad Vahidi, must be "extradited, not to be sentenced, but to be judged."

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