Jewish leaders unhappy with Argentine president

BUENOS AIRES — A leading American rabbi says he is disappointed by Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde's approach to the investigation of two 1990s bombings of Jewish buildings in Buenos Aires.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of the North American Boards of Rabbis, led a delegation to Argentina that met with Duhalde last week.

According to Schneier and three other sources present at the meeting, Duhalde said the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington have links to those who carried out the Argentine attacks.

"He said they have limited resources in this country to find the terrorists — and in the aftermath of Sept. 11, he feels it is now the United States that will apprehend the terrorists," Schneier said.

What's "disturbing," Schneier added, is that if Duhalde is trying to shift responsibility he is not saying so publicly, which at least might allow President Bush to make the investigation of the Argentine bombings an American priority.

The bombing of the Israeli Embassy on March 17, 1992, killed 29 people, and another 12 bags contain human remains that have never been identified. No arrests have been made in connection with the attack.

On July 18, 1994, 85 people died and hundreds were wounded when the AMIA Jewish Community Center was bombed. A trial is under way for 20 people accused of having a local connection to the attack, but Argentine authorities have yet to find those who ordered or carried out the bombing.

If Duhalde believes the Argentine attacks are linked to Sept. 11, he should provide evidence to the relevant authorities, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said.

"It could be thought that the failing of the Argentine state" to find "the responsible people for the bombings in Buenos Aires helped to strengthen international terrorist" networks, Wiesenthal Center officials Shimon Samuels and Sergio Widder wrote to Duhalde.

Singer, too, said that Argentina's "soft attitudes helped create more terror."