Adolfo Perez Esquivel, human rights activist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, has criticized an official state visit to Argentina by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Perez Esquivel argued that Israel’s head of state is “accused of having committed crimes against humanity in the International Penal Court for killing civilians, bombarding Palestinian schools, hospitals, and mosques.”
Referencing Teodoro Anibal Gauto, a former agent of Argentina’s military dictatorship, he recalled that the Zionist state “affords protection to an oppressor from the last Argentine dictatorship.” Gauto has resided in Israel since 2003.
In 2015, facing an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol, Netanyahu’s government denied Argentina’s request to extradite Gauto on the charge that he’d committed crimes against humanity.
Perez Esquivel wrapped up his condemnation of Netanyahu’s visit by slamming President Mauricio Macri, saying that it is not surprising that the head of state doesn’t respect the 30,000 people who were disappeared during the military dictatorship and doesn’t care about the more recent forced disappearance of Indigenous rights supporter Santiago Maldonado.
Prior to Netanyahu’s arrival, pro-Palestinian posters appeared in the capital of Buenos Aires showing the Israeli prime minister donned in full Nazi uniform and resembling Adolf Hitler. The phrase below the image read: “Get out Zionists from Palestine. Get out Netanyahu,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
Under these circumstances, Perez Esquivel noted that it’s no wonder that Macri maintains “good relations with a guardian of an oppressor. It’s not by accident that they don’t talk about State terrorism.”
Netanyahu began his 10-day Latin American tour in Argentina, followed by stops in Colombia and Mexico prior to heading to New York where he will address the United Nations General Assembly, according to Haaretz.
The trip to Latin America is the first by a sitting Israeli prime minister.