Reflection on MLK Day

19 Jan

Today is January 19th, 2015, Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Each year we take this day to reflect on our country’s history, on civil rights and on social justice – at least that’s what I take from it. I guess it’s easy because I work for a non-profit which promotes civil rights and social justice from a Jewish perspective and it’s because of that Jewish perspective that a news story this morning struck a nerve with me.  “Argentine prosecutor who accused Fernandez of Iran plot found dead”

I don’t have Argentine blood, or even any real connection to the country besides a visit to the AMIA building on a JDC

(FILE) Firemen and policemen search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994.The Jewish community in Argentina expressed vehement opposition on January 28, 2013 to Argentina and Iran's agreement to create a "truth commission" to probe a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center that killed 85 people. On Sunday, President Cristina Kirchner announced a deal with Tehran for a probe by a commission composed of five independent judges -- none of whom would be from either Iran or Argentina.   AFP PHOTO/Ali BURAFI        (Photo credit should read ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images)

(FILE) Firemen and policemen search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994. AFP PHOTO/Ali BURAFI (Photo credit should read ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Spring Break” social justice trip in college. We visited with Holocaust survivors and Hillel students, all of whom lived through the 1994 bombing of their “Jewish Federation”. 300 people were injured and 85 killed. There was never any resolution, just accusations flying about, until 2006 when a prosecutor Alberto Nisman started investigating a so-called cover-up involving Iran.

Knowing Argentina’s checkered post Holocaust past I would have thought some neo-Nazi group was to blame, but then again, Iran isn’t exactly a friendly country towards Jews, now is it? Since 2006, Nisman has formally accused current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of covering up Iran’s involvement. He claims that the cover-up “intended to clear the suspects so Argentina could start swapping grains for much-needed oil from Iran, which denies any connection with the bombing.”

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Last night Alberto Nisman, who has a 10 person security detail because of his investigation, was found shot dead in his Buenos Aires apartment. Today is the day he would have testified in court against President Fernandez.

Jessi Sheslow is the Director of Community Relations and the Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative for The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

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