The Algemeiner noted our commemoration of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jewish organizations on Sunday marked the 27th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
The 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) was orchestrated by Iran and carried out by the terrorist group Hezbollah.
Despite decades of efforts by the Jewish community, the terrorists involved have never been brought to justice.
The six Iranian and Hezbollah operatives behind the attack have escaped arrest and prosecution, while investigating prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found murdered in 2015, before he was to unveil accusations of collusion between the governments of Argentina and Iran to cover up the attack.
B’nai Brith International marked the anniversary, and emphasized, “No perpetrators have been held accountable.”
Pro-Israel lobby AIPAC concentrated on those perpetrators, noting that the bombing was committed by Hezbollah “at the instruction of Iran’s top leadership.”
“Iran continues to fund and promote terrorism around the world,” they said.
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris asked, “26 yrs later, who’s been caught, tried & imprisoned? No one.”
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.
Michael Dickson, Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, also noted the lack of accountability for the terrorists, and said the AMIA victims have been “struggling for justice ever since” the bombing.
The World Jewish Congress said that it and the Congreso Judío Latinoamericano, an umbrella organization for Latin American Jews, “are still leading efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
On Friday, the head of Argentina’s umbrella Jewish group lambasted the timing of a court hearing that was held as victims commemorated the anniversary of the attack.
The hearing was scheduled for Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to appear in an inquiry into a 2013 agreement her then-government had negotiated with Iran.
Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA) head Jorge Knoblovits said the timing was “unnecessarily confrontational and goes against the memory” of the victims.
“If the feelings of the victims of the greatest terrorist attack of the 20th century are disrespected, it is very difficult to reach justice and end impunity,” he said. “We are very ashamed and very embarrassed that you cannot wait two, three weeks or a month to exercise the right of defense, which you can do so legitimately and constitutionally. But to do so today is offensive.”
B'nai B'rith Special Advisor on Latin America Affairs Adriana Camisar wrote about how there is hope for Argentine Federal Prosecutor Alberto Nisman's complaint against former Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman to see the light of day.
Nisman charged that they secretly negotiated a pact with Iran in order to get impunity for the Iranians accused of plotting and executing the AMIA attack. Nisman's complaint will finally be investigated. He “mysteriously” died days after making extremely these serious allegations.
The blog was published by The Times of Israel. Click the button below to read it on their website or scroll down.
Camisar's blog was also published in Spanish by the Argentine news outlet El Tribuno. Click below to read the Spanish version.
Jan. 18 will mark the second anniversary of the “mysterious” death of Argentine Federal Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. For more than ten years, Nisman had been in charge of the investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires.
He was found dead in his apartment four days after making extremely serious allegations against then President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and other people close to the government. Nisman stated he had extensive evidence that the government had secretly negotiated a pact with Iran in order to get impunity for the Iranians accused of plotting and executing the AMIA attack.
The pact the prosecutor was referring to—known as the Memorandum of Understanding—was signed in January 2013. Through this agreement, both governments pledged to create a "truth commission" to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing, something as absurd as creating a Nazi commission to investigate the Holocaust. At the time, the government justified the signing of this pact on the need to discover the truth. However, it seemed clear to most people who knew the case, that the signing of this pact represented a major shift in Argentina’s foreign policy, as it attempted to improve relations with Teheran at the expense of the bombing’s many victims.
The pact never came into force because the Iranian Parliament did not ratify it, and also because it was ultimately declared unconstitutional by an Argentine Federal Court. But it would have given the Iranians access to all the documentation of the case, and made it easier for them to get rid of the Interpol red alerts that Nisman had secured against the accused.
Nisman’s death left the country in shock and there are still no clear answers as to what exactly happened to him. However, there is now some hope that his complaint will finally be investigated.
Right after Nisman’s death, a brave prosecutor tried to get the courts to open a serious investigation into his allegations. But Daniel Rafecas, the judge assigned to the case, dismissed his complaint in a very expedited way and with questionable legal arguments. His ruling was appealed but the Federal Court quickly dismissed it as well. A federal prosecutor subsequently appealed this decision before the Court of Cassation—the last resort that the Argentine criminal system admits before resorting to the Supreme Court. But the prosecutor who needed to allow the case to get to the Court of Cassation failed to do it (probably because of his known ties with the former government) and therefore, all doors seemed to get closed and most Argentineans believed that a proper investigation would never take place.
However, several things changed since then. On Dec. 10, 2016, Mauricio Macri took office as the new president of Argentina, and one of the first things he did was to let the pact with Iran die. He did this by not appealing the ruling that had declared it unconstitutional. Macri also said that he expected the judiciary to act with independence and to get to the truth.
Several months ago, the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA), which is the Jewish umbrella organization in Argentina, made a new presentation alleging that the case should be re-opened because of “newly found evidence,” and requested to be admitted as a plaintiff. The new pieces of evidence submitted were a recording that was found in which Timerman—in a conversation with the former head of the AMIA—conceded that he was negotiating with the ones that “placed the bomb,” and the ruling that declared that the pact with Iran was unconstitutional.
Rafecas, the original judge of the case dismissed the request and so did the Federal Court, but when the issue got to the Court of Cassation once again, they finally decided to re-open the investigation. The Court of Cassation accepted the DAIA as a plaintiff and ordered Rafecas and the other judges that had intervened to withdraw from the case.
For the first time in two years the possibility to get to the truth seems real. And, of course, this case could shed light on what really happened to Nisman, as his death is undoubtedly linked to his complaint.
It is still too early to know if the investigation will go as far as it needs to go, but the re-opening of the case is certainly a promising sign
#Argentina2016 Twitter Coverage:
B'nai B'rith leadership joined the rest of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations of the United States on a mission to Buenos Aires to express solidarity in their concerns over the ongoing AMIA bombing investigation, particularly the unresolved death of former prosecutor Alberto Nisman.
The delegation met with Congresswomen Patricia Bullrich and Laura Alonso, authorities from DAIA on AMIA, Eduardo Elztain, Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Marcos Aguinis, among others.
B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin and Mario Wilhelm, president of B'nai B'rith Argentina, represented the organization in those meetings.
The visit was covered by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Buenos Aires Herald as well as Spanish newspapers Iton Gadol, La Nacion, Infobae, Cronista, Clarín highlights of which can be found below:
Following the tragic and mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in January, just hours before he was scheduled to deliver his findings on the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, a new name has been introduced to the case.
Daniel Rafecas, a respected human rights and Holocaust expert and former B'nai B'rith Argentina honoree, has assigned the next step of the investigation, according to articles by Arutz Sheva (English), Agence France-Presse (Spanish) and Agence France-Presse (Portuguese).
Separate investigation continues into the circumstances of Nisman's death, details of which are included in the full coverage below:
Por otra parte, el juez Daniel Rafecas, experto en derechos humanos y en el Holocausto, tomará la causa del supuesto encubrimiento de la presidenta Fernández a exgobernantes iraníes.
Rafecas juzgó a militares de la dictadura (1976-83) por delitos de lesa humanidad y por sus estudios sobre la Shoá que perpetraron los nazis recibió los premios Derechos Humanos de la Fundación B’nai B’rith, Moisés 2011 de la Sociedad Hebraica Argentina y Gilbert Lewi de la Fundación Museo del Holocausto de Buenos Aires.
O juiz Daniel Rafecas, especialista em direitos humanos e sobre o Holocausto, acolherá a denúncia de suspeita de acobertamento contra a presidente Cristina Kirchner a favor de ex-governantes iranianos, supostamente envolvidos em um atentado antissemita em 1994, em Buenos Aires.
Rafecas julgou militares da ditadura (1976-83) por crimes contra a humanidade e foi agraciado por seus estudos sobre a Shoá praticada pelos nazistas com os prêmios de Direitos Humanos da Fundação B'nai B'rith, Moisés 2011 da Sociedade Hebraica Argentina e Gilbert Lewi, da Fundação Museu do Holocausto de Buenos Aires.
More on Nisman's Death Below
On the latest edition of Radio JAI, Eduardo Kohn, B'nai B'rith director of Latin American Affairs, discusses several important issues facing the continent's Jewish population.
Topics include: the people of Israel are united against the ongoing attack by Hamas; anti-Semitic attacks in the United States, Europe, Latin America; the unacceptable calls for Israeli restraint by Latin American countries; Iran and the 20th anniversary of the AMIA bombings.
Listen to the full podcast below:
Eduardo Kohn, director ejecutivo de la Bnai Brith para Latinoamérica, reflexionó en Radio Jai acerca de la delicada situación que se vive en Israel, debido a los incesantes misiles que caen desde Gaza. "Mientras Hamas pide la desaparición de Israel, el Estado judío le pide a Hamas que deje de bombardear a su población civil", señaló.
In the 20 years since the tragic bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, no progress has been made to hold the Iranians accountable.
That is the premise of an op-ed penned by B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, which appeared in the Times of Israel the day before the 20th anniversary.
Mariaschin walks through the timeline and the politics surrounding the event, which remains the most devastating terrorist act ever in Latin America.
Read his full op-ed below:
Buenos Aires: The other Iranian crime
The deadline for reaching an accord between the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, China, France and Russia, plus Germany) and Iran on the country’s secretive nuclear program — July 20 – is fast approaching. Reports in recent days have indicated the usual foot-dragging and prevarication on Iran’s part, which we have come to know over the years, reinforcing skepticism that a genuine deal to move Tehran from its objective of developing nuclear weapons can actually take place.
But there is another July date focusing on Iran, important in its own way, which may escape international attention in the midst of the meltdown of Iraq: July 18 marks the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish social service center in Buenos Aires. On that day in 1994, a massive terror bombing in the heart of the Argentine capitol killed 85 and wounded another 300. It stands as the most devastating terrorist act ever in Latin America.
In the aftermath of the bombing, the international community was led down a primrose path of arrests and a trial. It came to naught when it was clear that all of this was based on a faulty investigation and trumped-up charges. The masterminds and perpetrators of the crime — now universally believed to be Iranian agents and their higher-ups in Tehran — nor any local accomplices, have to date been brought to justice.
In 2005 then-President Néstor Kirchner’s government issued a decree formally accepting a share in the blame for the abject failure of the investigation, calling it a “national disgrace” and a widespread cover-up of the facts. That was followed by the appointment of a highly competent prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, who set out, in some detail, how top Iranian leaders had ordered Hezbollah to carry out the attack.
Nisman, working quickly, formally charged Hezbollah and its Iranian masters with the bombing, and called for the arrest of then-Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others, including Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s defense minister and former commander of the Revolutionary Guards. Nisman’s case was compelling, and in 2007, Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese national. With these Interpol “Red Notices” issued, some assumed the case was on its way to being resolved.
Even a casual observer of Iranian behavior would have come to the quick conclusion that Tehran never had any intention of arresting, extraditing or otherwise cooperating on the AMIA case. Matters stalled for five additional years, until Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, in a U.N. General Assembly speech in 2012, inexplicably announced that meetings with Iran would take place on the sidelines of the United Nations to resolve the matter, as if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had undergone veracity transplants.
And then, the ultimate Iranian ruse: Early last year came the announcement that the governments of Iran and Argentina had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a “truth commission” to investigate the bombing. Defending the agreement, Argentine authorities explained that while trials in absentia cannot be held in the country, prosecutors could travel to Tehran to depose witnesses.
Sounds good if you’re going to Canada or the Netherlands to gather evidence. But did anyone remotely familiar with how Iran conducts business really think that, for example, it would serve up Vahidi to be questioned by a visiting Argentinian judicial official?
By a narrow vote, the Argentine Chamber of Deputies approved the MOU. Shortly thereafter, the indefatigable and undaunted Nisman, now working under the weight of the ill-conceived MOU, published a 502-page indictment, accusing Iran of establishing terrorist networks throughout Latin America, dating back to the 1980s.
Earlier this year, the Argentine Federal Criminal Appeals Court struck down the MOU, stating that it conflicts with, and undermines an on-going investigation approved years ago by the government’s executive and legislative branches, an order both the Kirchners endorsed. The court ruled the agreement with Iran unconstitutional. The government recently appealed the ruling. Some Argentinian legislators and legal experts make the case that trials in absentia are indeed constitutional. But those suggestions will now be on hold while the appeal process soaks up valuable time, further stalling the drive to bring much-needed closure to this horrific act.
A year-and-a-half later, the MOU has produced zero results. No surprise in that. A country that seeks nuclear weapons, threatens its neighbors, sends rockets to terrorist organizations, supports the ruling regime in Damascus and is a serial abuser of human rights, would not likely own up to the murder and mayhem in caused on that July day in Buenos Aires in 1994. And because of that, 20-years and counting, there continues to be no justice for the victims and their families.
On the latest edition of Radio JAI, Eduardo Kohn, B'nai B'rith director of Latin American Affairs, discusses several important issues facing the continent's Jewish population.
The topic this week revisits the 1994 AMIA bombings in Buenos Aires, the denial of involvement by Iran and B'nai B'rith's response to an Argentine court's decision to dissolve the fictitious "Truth Commission."
Listen to the full podcast:
Daniel Mariaschin, vicepresidente y CEO de la B'nai B'rith Mundial, concedió una entrevista al diario “El País”, en que expresa el descontento de la organización con el acercamiento entre Uruguay y Palestina –materializado en los votos en la ONU a favor del Estado Palestino-, alegando que es necesario que Palestina no se sienta respaldada cuando negocia con el Estado israelí.
Habló también de la preocupación por la posibilidad de que presos de Guantánamo sean recibidos en Uruguay, y se refirió al crecimiento del antisemitismo en el mundo. También, en más de una ocasión, alude a Irán en términos que el comunicado define como mentiras infundadas:
“Hemos estado seriamente preocupados en los últimos años sobre la penetración de la influencia iraní, sobre todo en América Latina. Los países de este hemisferio son democracias que verdaderamente no tienen nada en común con el régimen iraní, no deberían tener nada en común. Irán es un abusador de los derechos humanos, es un Estado patrocinador del terrorismo, y está trabajando en un arma nuclear", expresa Mariaschin.
"El 18 de julio es el 20 aniversario del atentado a la AMIA en Buenos Aires. Los iraníes estuvieron profundamente vinculados en este crimen, las huellas digitales están allí, e Irán no ha demostrado un interés demostrable de cambiar sus modos. Ahora mismo están apoyando a Hezbollah, que es instrumental del apoyo de Bashar Al Assad en Siria, con la continuación y perpetuación del régimen sirio que ha matado a 150 mil personas”, agrega el vicepresidente y CEO de la B'nai B'rith Mundial.
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