Buenos Aires, Argentina
Wiesenthal Center Represented at 20th Anniversary Commemoration
of AMIA Bombing Buenos Aires, 22 July 2014
At 9.53 am on 18 July 1994, a car bomb demolished the AMIA Jewish welfare centre building leaving 85 dead and 300 wounded.
At 9.53 am on 18 July 2014, a twentieth anniversary commemoration was held in the street outside the AMIA, attended by thousands, including families of the victims. Their representatives addressed the gathering, demanding that the perpetrators - Hizbollah and its Iranian sponsors - be brought to justice. The names of the victims, aged between 5 and 71 were read.
The Argentine government and its Jewish Foreign Minister,Hector Timerman, were harshly criticized for signing a so-called "AMIA Truth Commission Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)" with Iran, reportedly a secret deal to close the investigation in exchange for a large-scale commercial treaty. The Special Prosecutor for this enquiry, Alberto Nisman, has accused Iran of planning and financing the attack and Hizbollah for carrying it out. The Center was instrumental in securing the eight INTERPOL Red Notices still pending for the arrest of those suspects. So far, none have been brought to justice.
The Center's solidarity delegation members were Director for Latin America Sergio Widder and Director for International Relations Dr.Shimon Samuels, joined by Dr. Graciela Vaserman Samuels representing UNESCO.
"The same INTERPOL arrest warrants that facilitated the late Simon Wiesenthal's hunt for Nazi war criminals, especially in Argentina, have been tarnished by the current Argentine-Iranian stratagem. Those responsible for the AMIA bombing supplied HAMAS with many of the rockets presently launched at Israeli civilians. Whether the victim is Buenos Aires or Tel Aviv, Tehran's target is constantly the Jew," stated Samuels. "Our Center denounced the MOU even before its significance became public. It is high time for it to be revoked on the basis of an Argentine Federal Court ruling it unconstitutional. It is both immoral and a farce," added Widder. The rally ended with a video message from Pope Francis sent from Rome. As an Argentine, he expressed his personal sympathy and focused on the aberration of terrorism in the name of religion. Parallel to the public commemoration, a special session on memory was held in the building for teenage pupils from community, state and international high-schools.
Related side-events included an inter-faith ceremony for the victims at the Buenos Aires Cathedral - where Pope Francis has inaugurated a plaque in memory of the Holocaust - and a concert at the Colon Opera House where the names of the victims were once again read out by members of their families. SWC delegation with AMIA leadership and Argentine political and religious (L_R: Dr. Graciela Vaserman Samuels, Sergio Widder, Víctor Chama -President, Argentine Zionist Organization, political leaders from Buenos Aires province, Dr. Alejandro Broitman -ORY, home for Jewish individuals with disabilities-, Dr. Shimon Samuels).
For further information, please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158 or Sergio Widder at +54911 4425-1306, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.
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