Argentina Jews tussle over lawsuit against former president Kirchner
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Argentina Jews tussle over lawsuit against former president Kirchner

Buenos Aires Jewish Center sends public letter to umbrella group, asking it to remove itself from suit, since it delves into politics ahead of elections

Argentina's former president and elected senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks to reporters as she leaves the court in Buenos Aires on October 26, 2017. (AFP/Eitan Abramovich)
Argentina's former president and elected senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks to reporters as she leaves the court in Buenos Aires on October 26, 2017. (AFP/Eitan Abramovich)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Tension flared up Thursday between Argentina’s main Jewish institutions after the Buenos Aires Jewish Center, or AMIA, asked the Jewish political umbrella DAIA to withdraw as a plaintiff in the criminal complaint against the country’s former president.

The Jewish center asked the DAIA to remove itself from the treason lawsuit filed against former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner over a pact signed with Iran in 2013.

The government of her successor, Mauricio Macri, canceled the agreement with Tehran in December 2015, during his first week in office.

“By desisting with the complaint against the Senator and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, on top of correcting a grave mistake of the previous (Argentine) government, the DAIA would start to distance itself from a case that is at the heart of the famous divide that affects the majority of Argentines, a division that does not represent us,” AMIA said in its letter to the political umbrella.

The former president is the main opposition to the Macri government, with the resultant political and social polarization permeating the country ahead of presidential elections slated for October. The polarization has become a raw dispute called “la grieta,” in English “the crack” or “the rift” in the society.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri arrives for the 22nd anniversary event for the AMIA Jewish center bombing that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

DAIA answered on Friday in a statement saying that it does not want to abandon its role in the trial but will submit the request for the consideration of all its affiliated institutions, including the AMIA. “The DAIA does not know the reasons why the AMIA, one of its more than 120 member organizations, has given public status to the issue,” the statement said.

Mainstream media in Argentina has reported widely on the tension between the Jewish community institutions.

No trial date has been set in the case that is investigating whether the pact was meant to whitewash the Iranian role in the 1994 AMIA bombing.

The attack on the AMIA center killed 85 and left hundreds wounded. Iran has denied any involvement. Kirchner signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran in 2013 to jointly investigate the attack. Besides the former president, other former government officials also will be tried on charges involving the cover-up and abuse of power.

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