July 14, 2014 – New York – AJC marks with deep sadness the 20th anniversary of the terror bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. “The target was a Jewish institution, the victims were of different faiths, and an entire country, Argentina, continues to search for justice,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Latino and Latin American Institute (LLAI).
Eighty-five people, Jews and non-Jews, ranging in age from five to 73, died, and another 300 were injured, when a powerful bomb leveled the AMIA building at 9:53 AM on July 18, 1994. An Argentine investigation concluded that Iran was responsible.
AMIA is an AJC international partner, and AJC has stood at the side of the local Jewish community from the first moments of the tragedy, when an AJC group traveled to Buenos Aires, calling for justice and warning about the ongoing Iranian attempts to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.
Several AJC regional offices across the U.S. will hold community memorial events on July 17 and 18.
In Miami, on July 17, AJC LLAI will host its ninth annual commemorative ceremony. Miguel Bronfman, the principal lawyer for AMIA, will deliver the keynote address, and the consuls general of Argentina and Israel in Miami will speak.
Similar commemorative events will take place in Chicago, on July 17, and in Philadelphia on July 18.
The AMIA attack was the deadliest against a Jewish target in the Diaspora in decades. In 2007, Argentine government prosecutor Alberto Nisman concluded that Iran bears direct responsibility for the attack, and Interpol has since been seeking the apprehension of five Iranian officials. In addition, there are pending investigations into the local connection and cover up of this crime which hindered the pursuit of justice.
Families of the victims and survivors are forever scarred. “My life changed forever,” says Anita Weinstein, who was inside the building that morning, preparing for the organization’s centennial celebrations that year. Weinstein and AMIA Executive Director Daniel Pomerantz addressed the AMIA tribute session at the AJC Global Forum in Washington, DC in May.