The recent cancellation by the Argentinean national soccer team to play a match against Israel's national team in Jerusalem is more than a loss for soccer and the 30,000 fans who bought tickets to the sold-out game. It is another nail in the coffin of any semblance of Argentinean pride, and another victim of and "victory" for Palestinian Arab terrorism.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated occurrence; either for the prevalence of Palestinian Arab terror in all its forms, or for Argentina giving in to terror. In fact, one might argue that Argentina is a petri dish for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities.
The fact that Argentina accepted Jewish refugees fleeing Russian programs at the end of the 19th century and refugees and survivors from Europe after the Holocaust does not change the fact that since immediately following World War II, Argentina became a haven for Nazis seeking to hide from their crimes. The most famous of these Nazis who used Argentina as refuge was Adolf Eichmann, who was captured and brought for justice in Israel.
Argentina has a rocky history with any sense of democracy overlaid and interspersed with military coups and tremendous corruption in general. This was certainly the case under dictator Juan Peron and in subsequent decades when many of its presidents were considered Peronist. Following Peron, Argentina was distinguished by a period of internal terror, the Dirty War, where some 30,000 people were kidnapped, tortured and murdered, and whose bodies were "disappeared" by the military government. Victims included people considered politically or ideologically a threat to the junta. They were killed in an attempt to silence the opposition and their bodies were "disappeared."
Terror in Argentina has not been limited to domestic forces. In 1992, Buenos Aires suffered a bombing of the Israeli embassy, and in 1994, another one at AMIA, the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, leaving more than 110 dead and almost 350 injured. It's believed that these were carried out by terrorists backed by, and with direct support from, Iran.
But these could not have happened without some level of Argentina being a ripe "safe" place in which to plan and carry out these attacks, low-hanging fruit, in a sense, from which terrorists could operate. In fact, in 2015, when prosecutor Alberto Nisman was prepared to reveal details of a cover-up by former President Cristina Fernandez of Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, he was found murdered.
If nothing else, the choice of Argentina for these attacks was made easier because the terrorists knew that Argentina's pump was primed either for finding willing accomplices or at least people willing to look the other way and create the environment where these horrific incidents were even possible.
This history—enabling and fostering domestic and international Islamic terror, military and other governmental dictatorships, and serving as a national retirement home for Nazis after the Holocaust—has made Argentina a perfect target for terrorists issuing death threats against its soccer players today. Protests included soccer jerseys with red paint representing blood and death threats against the players and their families. According to the Foreign Minister, these threats were worse than ISIS. Known for its beef and gauchos, Argentina's culture, sadly, does not include a backbone. And with the team's decision, it calls into question whether it's soccer or caving to terror that is really the Argentinean national sport.
A neighbor joked that maybe the Argentinean team canceled because they were afraid of the Israeli national team. In fact, what they were afraid of is the Palestinian national terror team.
Apparently, some of the threats were directed at Argentina's star player Lionel Messi and his family. Messi plays for Barcelona and many Israelis are suggesting that with the prevalence of terror in Spain, he should have known better and been a leader to fight against the terror threats rather than give in to them.
Backers and enablers of BDS and the Palestinian culture of terror are celebrating their "victory." But, yet again, the mask has been pulled off these groups and their goals (pun intended), where employing of death threats against international soccer players is the latest field on which terror has been deployed and has become acceptable. In fact, their use of terror in all its forms puts Palestinian terror in the same league as Argentinean soccer as a world leader albeit in a different "sport."
Palestinian Arab terrorists may choose to blame recent events in Gaza, the move of the U.S. and other embassies to Jerusalem, that the game was scheduled to be in Jerusalem, or any other excuse. But the truth is, terrorists and the BDS movement that puts a wind in their sail need no excuse. They simply find any avenue and means that they can exploit with their threats, and seize it like a rabid animal getting a hold of its prey.
In the musical, Evita, the star playing Eva Peron made famous the lyrics of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" which concludes, "There's nothing more I can think of to say to you/ But all you have to do/ Is look at me to know/ That every word is true."
As long as they cave in to terror, Argentina will fall prey to its hatred and continue to be its victim, whether through bombings, disappearing or sports. Today is a day that Argentina should be crying for themselves.
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a regular column for Standing With Israelat charismanews.com. He can be reached at [email protected].
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