25 years since AMIA bombing: The world must never surrender to terror | By WJC President Ronald S. Lauder

19 Jul 2019 Facebook Created with Sketch. Twitter Created with Sketch. Email Print
25 years since AMIA bombing: The world must never surrender to terror | By WJC President Ronald S. Lauder

Twenty-five years ago, a suicide bomber drove a van loaded with 275 kilograms of explosives into the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) center in Buenos Aires, the heart of Latin America’s largest and most thriving Jewish community, killing 85 people and wounding more than 300. This remains the deadliest attack in Latin American history and the worst strike against any Jewish community outside of Israel to date. It was also a chilling prediction of the wave of indiscriminate terror that continues to encapsulate the globe today.

Only two years prior to that attack, the Israeli Embassy in the Argentine capital was targeted in another car bombing. In each of these cases, the terrorists sought explicitly to murder Jews, but their target was all of Argentina and democratic society as a whole, undercutting the very values of freedom and tolerance upon which our modern nations are built.

Jews have been subjected to violent attacks from time immemorial, before and since these bombings. But this brutal mass murder underscored the inescapable truth that the hydra of hatred knows no boundaries. Terror may first manifest itself against the Jews, but it never ends there.   

Repeated investigations and indisputable evidence have made it ever clear that the Buenos Aires bombings were carried out by Hezbollah under the mastermind of its patron, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yet, well over two decades later, the victims and their families are still waiting for justice to be served. Not a single perpetrator or organizer of these attacks has been brought to trial, despite international warrants for their arrest.

Iran remains the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, through its proxy, Hezbollah, spreading its violent wings across continents, from Latin America to Europe and throughout the Middle East.

Other terror groups, such as ISIS and Al Qaida, have dominated headlines in recent years as the greatest threats to global peace and security, but it is Hezbollah and Iran that can be singled out as a source of inspiration for the calamity and destruction perpetrated by subsequent jihadist groups, united against their common enemy, the West. 

Hezbollah has been responsible for dozens of catastrophic and deadly attacks, and yet its political wing is still not recognized by several international organizations, including the UN, as a terrorist entity. The AMIA bombing is a tragic example of Hezbollah’s murderous ambitions. The international community must never forget the threat posed by this terror group. 

In the years since the seminal AMIA bombing, the world has learned that we are all targets in the battlefield of fundamentalism and extremism, regardless of our religions, nationalities, skin color, or faith. Islamist organizations such as Hezbollah claim that theirs is a war of attrition against the Zionist regime, as they call it, and against proponents and supporters of the Jewish state, but in reality, the entire civilized world is fair game. 

From Buenos Aires to London, Mumbai, Copenhagen, Paris, Pittsburgh, Sri Lanka, Christchurch, and San Diego, we repeatedly see the horrific results of global terrorism continuing to threaten our efforts to maintain a peaceful coexistence, consistently and diligently endangering national development and international coordination.

It is only a matter of time before the next terrorist attack strikes, be it against another synagogue, another mosque, another church, or another major public square, where innocent people gather simply to live their lives and express their liberty as members of a democratic nation. 

It is imperative that authorities on both national and international levels take all necessary measures to ensure that impunity no longer prevails. If we allow Hezbollah and Iran to evade justice, then we grant the very same freedom and submission to all terrorists worldwide.

As we mark 25 years since the bombing that changed Latin America and the world, we must pledge not to let another 25 years pass without justice. We must never surrender to terrorism, lest we wish to be the next target. We owe this to all victims of terror worldwide, and to our children.   

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter
The latest from the Jewish world