Argentina’s foreign minister quits AMIA Jewish center for blocking joint bombing probe


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentina’s foreign minister resigned his membership in the Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish center, the site of a deadly bombing in 1994.

Hector Timerman, who is Jewish, sent a letter on Tuesday to the president of AMIA expressing his “indeclinable resignation” due to the “obstructionist actions” that the institution has made against a deal with Iran to investigate the attack.

Timerman, the first Jewish foreign minister in Argentina history, said after his resignation that the Argentine Jewish political umbrella DAIA also has lost the right to represent him.

“I withdrew from the DAIA the right to speak on my behalf,” he said.

In his more than 1,000-word letter addressed to AMIA President Leonardo Jmelnitzky, which also was sent to the media from his personal email account, Timerman criticized AMIA and DAIA for blocking a deal with Iran that the foreign minister signed on Jan. 27, 2013, to set up a joint “truth commission,” prompting condemnations from members and leaders of Jewish communities in Latin America and beyond.

The late prosecutor Alberto Nisman accused Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, of deciding to “not incriminate” former senior officials of the Islamic Republic and trying to “erase” their alleged roles in planning the bombing, which killed 85 and injured 300. Timerman was included in the accusation against the current government; the charge has been dismissed by three Argentine courts in recent weeks.

Timerman’s resignation letter, which was published by the government’s national news agency, ends with harsh criticism saying that he resigned from an institution “that we were once proud of but now puts us to shame.”

Timerman is well known in the Jewish community for his previous career as a journalist and also as the son of newspaper editor Jacobo Timerman, who was kidnapped in 1970 by the military dictatorship and released in 1979. In December 2010, Timerman issued an official government statement recognizing a unilateral Palestinian state, joining Brazil and triggering mass Latin American support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

In January, two AMIA members requested that Timerman be expelled as a member of AMIA.

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