Wiesenthal Centre at the Organization of American States: “During a plenary session, we urged Argentine Foreign Minister, Susanna Malcorra, to follow the apologies of France and Brazil in having voted for the UNESCO resolution that designated the Temple Mount and the Western Wall as Islamic sites.”
"'From Sosua to Mashav' represents a journey from Jewish utter powerlessness in 1938 to the independent Jewish State today contributing its expertise to the welfare of others Perhaps these glimmers at the OAS may mark a step in the prophetic passage of the Jewish hope: From 'a people that dwells alone' to 'a light unto the nations'."
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 16 June 2016
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, in consultative status to the Organization of American States (OAS), participated in the regional 46 General Assembly in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
In private meetings with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and his staff, the Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, and Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Latin American Representative, presented their findings on the growing terrorist threat in Latin America.
Left to right: Samuels, Secretary General Luis Almagro, Gelblung.
As in Europe, migration from the Middle East has inspired copycat armed violence and the recruitment of local “lone-wolf” Jihadists by ISIS.
Samuels noted reports of “Hezbollah sleepers cells in the southern cone, especially in the Triple Frontier area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay,” adding “the campaign announced by ISIS to convert indigenous tribes in Mexico and Central America and Brazil, while building alliances with the narcotic trade cartels.”
Gelblung emphasized that “the stabbing of a Jewish merchant in Paysandú, Uruguay, and the Orlando assault on an LGBT discotheque were not isolated incidents, but the symptoms of a concerted recruitment by Islamists throughout the Americas.”
The OAS officials concurred with their concern, suggesting that the Wiesenthal Centre provide materials for its “Values Project,” a pedagogical approach to extremism.
Left to right: Amb. James Lambert, Sec. of Hemispheric Affairs, Gelblung, Ideli Salvatti, Sec. for Access to Rights and Equity, Samuels, Amb. Neil Parsan, Sec. of Integral Development.
The sessions were disturbed by the chaotic situation in Venezuela and the dangerous repercussions for its neighbours. “Several diplomats expressed to us a need for a hemispheric approach to insecurity and a greater coordination among the OAS members' intelligence services and attention to the porous frontiers […] Many commented on the continuing Iranian intervention, as was recently seen in a planned delegation to Colombia led by one of the implicated suspects in the 1994 Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish Community bombing that left 85 dead and over 300 wounded,” concluded the Centre´s officials.
The Centre commended the OAS for planning to invoke its Democratic Charter which could result in the suspension of any member that is in clear contravention of its provisions.
During a plenary session, Samuels urged Argentine Foreign Minister, Susanna Malcorra, to follow the apologies of France and Brazil in having voted for the UNESCO resolution that designated the Temple Mount and the Western Wall as Islamic sites.
To the Centre's astonishment, she responded: “Very complicated... We are studying the issues... Our vote on the [Palestine] resolution continued the historical position of Argentina... We can not follow Brazil without reading their statement and we have not read it...”
Left to right: Gelblung, Argentine Foreign Minister Susanna Malcorra, Samuels.
Five minutes later, she embarked on a lengthy attack on the United Kingdom regarding the Argentine claim on the Falkland Islands: “All Argentines are united in claiming their national right to the Malvinas” [the Argentine name for the Islands] – somewhat ironic just after demonstrating, at best, cynicism for the Jewish right to its heritage.
Interestingly, The Guardian newspaper of 17 March 2015 reported that Malcorra – at that time a UN Deputy Secretary-General – had addressed a letter to Israeli Ambassador, Ron Prosor, wherein she claimed that Israeli lobbying against the inclusion of the IDF in a UNICEF list of “serious violators of children's rights,” amounted to “the intimidation of UN staff.”
Malcorra is currently campaigning to replace Ban-Ki Moon as UN Secretary-General.
On a more positive note – based on the Centre's campaign to register the 1890 Argentine Jewish settlement of Moises Ville as World Heritage – the Dominican Foreign Ministry expressed enthusiasm for a plan to achieve the same status for the Sosua cooperatives built by Jewish fugitives from Nazism. Indeed, at the 1938 Evian Conference on Jewish refugees, of the 35 states present, only Dominican Republic issued a call for Jewish immigration .
The miracle came at a side event of the OAS Assembly, when Israeli Ambassador Daniel Saban to Santo Domingo, and a team from MASHAV (the Israeli Technical Cooperation Agency) hosted young Dominican graduates of training programmes in hi-tech rural development, water management etc. Many new candidates across Latin America have applied for such scholarships in Israel.
"From Sosua to Mashav represents a journey from Jewish utter powerlessness in1938 to the independent Jewish State's MASHAV, today contributing its expertise to the welfare of others. Perhaps these glimmers at the OAS may mark a step in the prophetic passage of the Jewish hope: From 'a people that dwells alone' to 'a light unto the nations'," concluded Samuels and Gelblung.