From the desk of Daniel Chejfec, executive director of the Jewish Federation of NEPA
On March 17, 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed leaving 29 dead. The Argentine administration at the time, under President Menem, was ineffectual in their investigation and the case remains open to this day. Two years later, on July 18, 1994, the Jewish community headquarters on 633 Pasteur Street in Buenos Aires was bombed, leaving 85 dead. The AMIA building was completely demolished by the attack. Over the years, the investigation was hampered by interference by the Menem administration, and later by the Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Kirchner’s administrations. While much was found about the bombing in spite of the interference, and most of it pointing to Iran as the origin of the attack, as well as Hezbollah’s operational involvement, the case remained unsolved. Investigators in the case testified about being abducted and tortured by elements connected with the Kirchners. Their testimonies were dismissed.
In 2013, Argentina and Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding to investigate the bombing which, for all intent and purposes, gave Iran control over the investigation. In May 2014, the Argentine government, under Mauricio Macri as President, voided the MOU. Macri’s defeat by Cristina Kirchner delivered a blow to the ongoing investigation.
In January 2015, the prosecutor in charge of the case, Alberto Nissman, accused then-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, of covering up Iranian involvement in the bombing in exchange for financial support. He arranged to present a 300-page document of proof to the Argentine Congress. The day before he was supposed to appear in front of Congress, he was found dead in his bathroom. The government initially ruled it suicide, but subsequent investigations determined he was assassinated.
Since July 18, 1995, the Jewish community in Argentina organizes a public mobilization in front of 633 Pasteur Street demanding Justice for the victims. To this day the bombing case, as well as the murder case of Alberto Nisman, remains open with no determination of responsibility. Cristina Fernandez is today vice-president of Argentina.
On July 18, 2022, I had for the first time since the bombing, the opportunity to attend that demonstration and I did so in the name and memory of those of my friends who lost their lives that day.