Part 1: AMIA in Advance of 27th Anniversary of Deadly Terror Attack in Buenos Aires
Part 2: Shared Threads: AMIA, Burgas and Other Global Terror Attacks
(Washington, D.C., July 16, 2021)--B’nai B’rith International hosted a two-part virtual series—Hezbollah: Sowing Global Terror—in advance of the anniversaries of two deadly attacks on Jews.
The bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and wounded more than 300 took place July 18, 1994. Terrorists detonated a car bomb, killing and maiming those who worked at the AMIA (the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building and destroying the structure that housed so many Jewish Agencies in Buenos Aires. It was the deadliest terror attack ever in Argentina.
In 2012 on the same date, a suicide bomber blew up a passenger bus carrying Israeli tourists from Tel Aviv at the Burgas Airport in Bulgaria. The explosion killed the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israelis and injured 32 other Israelis.
Even though there is ample evidence that Hezbollah—a terrorist group that's a proxy of Iran—is behind both attacks, there is reluctance to tackle the terrorist organization head-on to this day.
In Part 1 of our series, “Commemorating AMIA,” we spoke with Luis Czyzewski, the father of a victim, about his search for justice. The interview, in Spanish with simultaneous English translation, was conducted by Adriana Camisar, B’nai B’rith’s Special Advisor on Latin American and U.N. Affairs from Argentina, with a special introduction by CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin. Czyzewski, whose 21-year-old daughter, Paola, was killed in the attack, has spent the last 27 years fighting for justice for his daughter and all of the victims of the attack. That unforgettable, tragic day was the first time Paola ever entered the AMIA building. She was visiting during a break from her law studies to assist her parents, who both worked at AMIA.
Czyzewski noted that there is no method, formula or book that says how to move forward after such a horrific loss. That the families of the victims have a burden they will carry throughout their lives. He said the many investigations into the bombing have revealed much about the attack, but that what we don’t have are convictions.
Camisar and Mariaschin commended Czyzewski for his courageous fight for justice.
In Part 2, “Shared Threads: AMIA, Burgas and Other Global Terror Attacks,” Mariaschin interviewed two experts about Iran’s proxy terror arm, Hezbollah, and its malign global reach. Guest Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow at The Washington Institute and director of its Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Our 2nd guest was Gustavo Perednik, whose long resume includes writing two books dealing with the work of his friend, the late AMIA case prosecutor Alberto Nisman, “To Kill Without a Trace” and “To Die for Argentina.”
Perednik said that Nisman would have approved of combining AMIA and Burgas for commemoration, because he would have appreciated the connecting of the dots between multiple attacks and how the linked events expose Iran’s influence in terrorist attacks across the world—and by extension its guilt. Levitt said the Burgas attack didn’t happen in a vacuum and also observed that Hezbollah sees terror against innocent civilians as a legitimate path to achieving its objectives.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.
(Washington, D.C., July 17, 2020)--B’nai B’rith is commemorating the 26th anniversary of the worst anti-Semitic attack in Argentina’s history. On July 18, 1994, terrorists drove a van loaded with explosives to a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA). The attack killed 85 civilians and wounded 300 others. Its perpetrators, widely thought to be Hezbollah linked to Iran, have not been brought to justice.
In a discussion with B'nai B'rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, Eduardo Kohn, BBI director of Latin American Affairs, said, “Latin America, especially South America, did not understand what was happening or even want to understand. In 1992, the reaction of Latin American countries, Latin American governments, was to say, there has been a bombing in Buenos Aires against the Israeli embassy, but this is…the import of the Middle East conflict. It was an attack on Argentina. It was an attack on the Jewish community. It was a clear anti-Semitic attack [targeting]…the center of the heart of Jewish community in Latin America, Argentina.”
Watch a virtual discussion with Mariaschin, Kohn and Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs Adriana Camisar by clicking the link here.
In the discussion, Camisar outlined some of the reasons that made terrorists target Argentina’s Jewish community. “At the time, our president was [Carlos] Menem, who had decided to have a closer relationship with the U.S., with Israel," Camisar said. "Nisman, who was the prosecutor of the AMIA case, thought that one of the reasons was that Menem had canceled a nuclear agreement with Iran, but there were other reasons. I remember he cited also the fact that Argentina had the largest Jewish community in South America. They knew that the borders of Argentina were very porous, very easy to cross. This is sad for me to say, but they also knew there was a lot of corruption in Argentina, so it was fertile ground to do something like this. And one other thing – there was a lot of anti-Semitism in the security and armed forces of Argentina, so maybe that made it easier, too.”
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.
(Washington, D.C., July 15, 2019)--In the 25 years since the deadly terror attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires – the heart of the Jewish community in Argentina – no one has ever been brought to justice. In the latest B’nai B’rith International podcast, Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs Adriana Camisar joins CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a conversation on the attack that killed 85 and wounded more than 300.
Camisar and Mariaschin discuss the repeated miscarriages of justice that have pervaded the decades-long investigation into the bombing, which was perpetrated by terrorists linked to the government of Iran and Hezbollah.
They also discuss the murder of AMIA case Prosecutor Alberto Nisman in 2015, who became regarded as the last victim of the terrorist attack.
In addition to the history of the case, Mariaschin and Camisar discuss the current state of affairs: whether achieving justice for the bombing’s victims is a realistic possibility, how the media continue to cover the case, how the United States can assist diplomatically and other pressing issues.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org
B’nai B’rith International remembers the 23rd anniversary of the Israeli Embassy bombing in Buenos Aires. The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who drove a truck loaded with explosives into the corner of the embassy on the afternoon of March 17, 1992. The terrorist detonated the bombs and killed 29 people, injured 242 and also destroyed a church and a school.
Until the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building was bombed in 1994, it was the deadliest terror attack in South America. In the tragedy at the AMIA building, 85 people died and 300 people were injured. Iran has long been linked to both bombings, but none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice.
Iranian involvement and alleged Argentinian complicity in the cover-up in the AMIA attack has been recently reinserted into the public consciousness. The suspicious death of Argentine Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman has sparked outrage among Argentinians and created a demand for answers. Nisman died shortly after he filed a complaint against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman alleging they offered Iran impunity before jointly creating the “Commission of Truth,” designed to find those responsible for the attack.
“While we await more answers on Alberto Nisman’s death and the Argentine government’s actual role within the ‘Commission of Truth,’ we cannot forget where and when Iran’s savagery in South America began: at the Israeli Embassy on March 17, 1992. And B’nai B’rith will not forget that,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.
The attacks on the embassy and on the AMIA building have been credited to Iran’s terror arm Hezbollah, making the news of Iran and Argentina’s creation of the “Commission of Truth” in January 2013 and the allegations of the president and foreign minister shielding Tehran from punishment all the more shocking.
“B’nai B’rith has followed Nisman’s investigation into the AMIA bombing over the years and we have strongly supported his efforts. We hoped that if he uncovered the truth behind AMIA, the perpetrators behind the embassy bombing may be brought closer to justice,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Iran, through Hezbollah, has carried out global terror attacks for decades. Tehran needs to be held accountable. His death creates a gaping void in the pursuit of terrorists.”
NYC Snowstorm Forces Postponement of U.S. Event
Every year on January 27 the world recognizes United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day, a date selected marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation and B’nai B’rith International was active throughout Latin America, commemorating this important day.
In Uruguay an exhibit on Anne Frank was created and inaugurated in Montevideo’s city hall, the capital and the country’s largest city. Uruguayan President José Mujica attended the event, addressing the audience and the entire nation in a speech broadcast on radio and television. Mujica’s remarks focused on the evils of the Shoah and the atrocities of genocide. Meanwhile, the General Assembly of Uruguay held a solemn session in which representatives of all parties addressed the legislature in commemoration of the Holocaust. B’nai B’rith, the overall Jewish community and the Ministry of Education also hosted an academic event titled “70 Years After Auschwitz was Closed” at Montevideo city hall.
With all the tensions swirling within Argentina following the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman—the man responsible for investigating the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building that killed 85 and wounded 300—Holocaust Remembrance Day in Buenos Aires was extremely emotional. Typically the commemoration ceremony is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice and the Undersecretary of Human Rights, but amid the questions surrounding Nisman’s death all Jewish organizations declined to attend. B’nai B’rith has formally declined an invitation for the past two years following Argentina’s signing of the “Memorandum of Understanding” with Iran, an agreement which purports to investigate the terror attack.
Instead, a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony was held at the AMIA building. The commemoration was a crowded, emotional scene as Holocaust survivors were present and the AMIA president spoke on behalf of the Jewish organizations present. B’nai B’rith Argentina President Mario Wilhelm lit the fourth candle on the menorah on behalf of partisans and Jewish fighters who died while resisting the Nazis.
B’nai B’rith sponsored a Holocaust Remembrance Day program in Santiago, Chile as well, where it was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with ministers, ambassadors, civilian, religious and military authorities, survivors and their families in attendance.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz addressed the audience, highlighting the government’s commitment to protecting minorities in Chile and the urgent need to reject all types of discrimination pervasive in society.
Executive Vice President of the National Institute of Human Rights and winner of the Light and Memory Award Lorena Fries also spoke, as did B’nai B’rith Chile President Emma Finkelstein.
In her remarks, Finkelstein discussed the main threats to Israel, Jews around the world and to Chile. She acknowledged the success of the Anti-Discrimination Act that was enacted last year, but regretted the fact that anti-Semitism was not explicitly included as a means of discrimination. Finkelstein also called for a bill seeking to establish hate speech as a crime and for the Holocaust to be included in the official curriculum of the Ministry of Education.
“On behalf of the Jewish community and as president of B’nai B’rith Chile,” Finkelstein said, “we know it is our obligation to raise our voice and condemn these actions that we hope will not be accepted by the international community. We owe it to the dead but, above all, we owe it to the living, to our children as well as to your children.”
In Brazil two ceremonies were held, including an interreligious ceremony with Christians and Muslims at the Congregação Israelita Paulista in São Paulo. The second ceremony was hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs at the Itamaraty Palace with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in attendance.
Unfortunately, a snow storm in New York City forced the postponement of B’nai B’rith International’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day program at the United Nations. This year’s program was to focus on Arturo Toscanini, one of the most renowned orchestral maestros of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Tuscanini was a staunch anti-fascist who publicly took a hard-line stance against the oppression and racism of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler and supported the establishment of the orchestra now known as the Israel Philharmonic in 1936 in solidarity with young Jewish musicians escaping Nazi persecution. The B’nai B’rith program was to be held in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations. The event will be rescheduled.
Alberto Nisman bravely fought for justice after 1994 bombing of Jewish building in Buenos Aires
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
We mourn the shocking loss of brave Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead late Sunday night at his home under mysterious circumstances.
A prosecutor is investigating his death, which is preliminarily being called a suicide.
It appears Nisman died on Sunday. He was scheduled to appear today before the Argentine Congress to go over his recent findings.
Nisman was courageous and determined in his investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building that killed 85 and wounded 300. Just days ago, B’nai B’rith commended Nisman for his dogged investigation that led to his filing a complaint against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman alleging they offered Iran impunity before jointly creating the “Commission of Truth,” designed to find those responsible for the attack.
For years, Nisman heroically followed evidence in the terror attack wherever it led.
When the “Commission of Truth” was first signed two years ago, B’nai B’rith was dubious as to whether any actual information would surface, let alone lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators. Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror, is widely acknowledged to be behind the AMIA attack.
Officials from the top levels of the government were named in Nisman’s original report as being responsible for the bombing. Interpol issued arrest warrants for the attack, but no arrests have ever been made. Given Iran’s deplorable judicial track record and its refusal to turn over those previously implicated in the bombings, there was little doubt any serious “truth” would be produced.
We have closely followed Nisman’s investigation over the years and have strongly supported his efforts. His death creates a gaping void in the pursuit of terrorists.
B’nai B’rith sends its deepest condolences to Nisman’s family.
B’nai B’rith Commends Argentine Prosecutor for Pursuing Alleged AMIA Cover-Up by Top Government Officials
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International commends Argentine Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman for continuing to press for answers in 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building that killed 85 and wounded 300. In a shocking turn of events, yesterday Nisman filed a complaint against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman alleging they offered Iran impunity before jointly creating the “Commission of Truth,” designed to find those responsible for the attack.
When the “Commission of Truth” was first signed two years ago, B’nai B’rith was near-certain that no actual information would surface, let alone lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators. Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror, is widely acknowledged to be behind the AMIA attack. Officials from the top levels of the government were named in Nisman’s original report as being responsible for the bombing. Interpol issued arrest warrants for the attack, but no arrests have ever been made. Given Iran’s deplorable judicial track record and its refusal to turn over those previously implicated in the bombings, there was little doubt any serious “truth” would be produced.
But Nisman’s allegations that the president and foreign minister essentially shielded Iran from any blame in the attack before announcing the formation of the “Commission of Truth” are serious, and they raise questions about the suggestion that the Argentine government may have been naïve in this matter.
B’nai B’rith hopes that because of Nisman’s courage in getting to the bottom of this apparent obfuscation and deception, not only will his fellow countrymen, but the rest of Latin America and the world open its eyes to the evils of Iranian regime and those caught in its web of terror.