Israeli Knesset demands extradition of Argentine junta officers

Israel’s Knesset Nov. 29 unanimously approved a resolution demanding that Argentina extradite those military officers involved in mass killings during the country’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship so that they can be put on trial. MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz) proposed the move, saying that it was a “hypocritical discussion since all the facts have long been known and the government of Israel never once lifted a finger and cooperated with the Argentine murders because of their interest in arms deals.”

The resolution follows reports that 40 former officers of the military junta were arrested in Argentina on that day on the orders of President Nestor Kirchner, who said that he is prepared to extradite them to Spain.

The Knesset also called for mass graves to be opened to identify Jewish victims of the dictatorship and bring them for burial to Israel. (Ha’aretz, Nov. 30)

See our last posts on Israel and the legacy of Argentina’s dirty war.

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  1. Why would Israel’s
    Why would Israel’s legislative body want to put these Argentinian officers on trial (not that they don’t deserve it)? Is this an attempt to make up for some of their own government’s more recent crimes? Am i missing something important to the context here? I thought the Dirty War was about political and economic repression, was there a religious context that I’ve overlooked? Sorry about all the questions, i’m just used to understanding situations more than this.

    1. Argentine Nazis
      The Argentine military dictatorship had a deep anti-Semitic streak, and especially targeted Jews. In addition to the usual anti-communist zealotry, the generals suffered from paranoid delusions about a Zionist plot to establish a breakaway Jewish state in Patagonia. (The early Zionists had briefly considered Patagonia as well as Kenya for a Jewish homeland.) Read Jacobo Timerman’s Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number. He was a Jewish newspaper editor who was “disappeared” by the junta, and the book is a memoir of his time in Argentina’s clandestine prisons, where his interrogators made no secret of their Judeophobic obsessions and admiration for Hitler.

      Meanwhile, of course, Israel continued to arm the junta without scruple—a point that was explicitly made by MK Yossi Sarid in introducing the measure. Note that he is from the left-wing Meretz party. The Ha’aretz account also states that “just 19 [out of 120] MKs were present for the debate,” which I assume also means present for the vote.

      Are things clearer now?