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.
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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.”