Argentinean Ambassador Says AMIA Justice Should Be Part Of U.S. Dialogue With Iran
New York, NY, July 17, 2009 … Marking the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish community center, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was one of three organizations that convened a commemoration to honor the victims. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds more wounded in the 1994 suicide bombing of the AMIA-DAIA Jewish community building, the deadliest terror attack in Argentina's history.
Senior Iranian officials are accused of orchestrating the attack, which was carried out by Hezbollah operatives. Fifteen years later, none of the alleged perpetrators have faced trial.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, delivered a tribute at the commemoration, held at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Manhattan, and said the League would continue pursuing justice in the AMIA attack, as well as the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29.
"Iran was clearly involved in these attacks and over the past 15 years, its influence in Latin America has only intensified," Mr. Foxman said. "With renewed focus on Iran, post-election, we hope that the international community will address Iran's extremist policies, its nuclear weapons development and its efforts to export its policies and methods in Latin America."
Mr. Foxman added, "15 years is too long for the families of the victims to live without a measure of justice. No effort should be spared until justice is served."
Speaking at the remembrance, Argentina's ambassador to the United States, Héctor M. Timerman, reiterated his country's commitment to achieving justice for the victims, and asked ADL to ensure that the issue is part of any dialogue between the US and Iran.
"If there is going to be dialogue with Iran, the only request from Argentina is that American Jews do not forget the AMIA," Amb. Timerman said. "We must bring those who were responsible to justice, so that they will be judged in court, where they deserve to be."
In response, Mr. Foxman committed to raising the issue with the United States government.
"There are some events that have a special place in our memory; the AMIA attack is one of those events," said Asaf Shariv, Israel's Consul General in New York, in remarks at the commemoration. "The government of Israel will never forget, and we will continue to pursue justice in this case."
Tributes were also delivered by Angel Schindel, Vice President, Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA), Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon of B'nai Jeshurun and Janice Shorenstein, President of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
Mr. Schindel spoke of a "moral duty" not to forget the victims. "We stand together with their families and seek justice. We can not allow them to be killed twice."
During the commemoration, the names of the victims from both the 1992 Israeli Embassy attack and the 1994 AMIA attack were recited.
Representatives in New York from a number of Latin American states were on hand, including: Alejandro Bertolo, Acting Consul General of Argentina; Wladimir Valler Filho, Deputy Consul General of Brazil; and Carolina Ayala Aceves, Consul for Political Affairs of Mexico.
Representatives from the New York Governor's office and the New York City Comptroller's office, as well as Father Carlos Mullins, an Argentinean priest and interfaith relations expert, also attended the remembrance.
In a letter to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner timed to the anniversary of the AMIA attack, ADL praised the Argentinean government for making important progress in the search for justice and encouraged it to continue standing with like-minded states against terrorism.
ADL presented the New York remembrance program in partnership with B'nai Jeshurun and the JCRC. The League is also co-sponsoring or participating in AMIA commemorative events in Massachusetts and Florida.