Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hold Iran accountable for AMIA bombing
by Robert Singer, JTA
3 days ago
The bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994 killed 85 people.
The attack remains unsolved. (JTA/AMIA)
On July 18, 1994, a hellish scene unfolded in Buenos Aires as a car bomb set by Iranian agents destroyed
the AMIA/DAIA Jewish center, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds.
Twenty years later, there is still no justice in the case — and a decision taken by the Argentine
government is part of the problem.
Last year, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian government that was supposed to
establish a so-called truth commission to bring resolution to the case.
In April, the World Jewish Congress, supporting the Argentine Jewish community, called on the Argentine
government to rescind the memorandum. As Jewish communities around the world mark the anniversary with
vigils, we urge the U.S. government to bring pressure to bear to see that this happens, and to again push
the Iranians to surrender the AMIA suspects.
Nothing has changed in Iran’s behavior in the 20 years since the AMIA atrocity. Iran’s terror
forces continue to wreak havoc everywhere in the Middle East. Iranian-designed rockets have been raining on
Iranian-funded and -armed Hezbollah has assassinated its way into a leading
role in the Lebanese government, and now assists Syrian President Bashar Assad
in slaughtering his own people. Not to mention that Iranian agents supplied
the roadside bombs that not so long ago killed so many American service
personnel during the Iraq war.
Iran’s terror team revels in its accomplishments. Two years ago, on the
anniversary of the AMIA bombing on July 18, Hezbollah blew up a bus of Israeli
tourists in Bulgaria, killing six.
The AMIA bombing itself was the culmination of more than a decade of
Iranian-sponsored terrorist atrocities that killed many Westerners. In 1983,
Iranian-backed terrorists sent truck bombs into the barracks of American and
French peacekeepers in Beirut, killing 299. In 1992, Iranian agents blew up
the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and wounding hundreds. (No one
has been brought to trial in that case, either.)
The Argentine memorandum is a despicable document. Argentina’s judiciary
long ago presented clear evidence that the terrorist attack was ordered and
masterminded by senior officials in the Iranian government and by Hezbollah.
It even presented Interpol with the names of the alleged perpetrators, which
in turn issued a red alert.
Iran, however, refused for many years to render the suspects, so Argentina
decided to try a conciliatory approach by signing the joint memorandum —
notwithstanding the vociferous protests of the Argentine Jewish community,
which decried it as an affront to the victims of the attack. The community
also warned that as a practical matter, the gambit was doomed to fail. It has.
A year later, the Argentine government has nothing to show for it — not
surprisingly, since the Iranian regime has foiled the “truth commission”
at every turn.
We at the World Jewish Congress approach the AMIA anniversary, as we do each
year, with a heavy heart. We grieve for our many friends lost and live with
the aftermath of the atrocity.
What have we learned since the AMIA bombing?
We’ve learned that the world loves to forget. But as Jews, we must heed the
commandment of “zachor” – to remember. To paraphrase Genesis, the voice
of our brothers’ blood is crying out to us from the ground. Some people say
that “justice delayed is justice denied,” but we will keep insisting until
justice is done.
The way forward on this case is the same as it always was: America, Argentina
and the West must insist that the Iranian regime stop putting up roadblocks
and dust and hand over the suspects. If Iran does not do so, it can never be
accepted back into the family of nations no matter how many nuclear bombs it
promises to forgo.
(Robert Singer is CEO of the World Jewish Congress.)