BUENOS AIRES – To commemorate the 27th anniversary of the terror attack on the Argentine Jewish community’s headquarters, political representatives from across Latin America this week joined leaders of the Latin American Jewish Congress, the regional affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, in signing a formal declaration against terrorism.
The official statement, signed by officials from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay, calls for combating international terrorism, ensuring legal frameworks to protect the lives of citizens and safeguarding the individual rights of people against the threat of destruction, hatred and death. The statement also rejects all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.
Eighty-five people were killed and more than 300 injured on July 18, 1994, when bombers struck the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building, resulting in the deadliest terror attack to date in Argentina, home to the largest Jewish community in South America. Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, have long been linked to the AMIA attack, though the perpetrators remain at large.
“The AMIA attack underscores the inescapable truth that hatred knows no boundaries,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said. “It is imperative that authorities on both national and international levels take all necessary measures to ensure that another 27 years do not pass without justice. We owe this not only to our loved ones in Buenos Aires, but to all victims of terror worldwide.”
The online commemoration was hosted by the Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC) in partnership with the office of the president of the Argentina Chamber of Deputies.
“Strong democracies are those that speak out strongly against terrorism,” Sergio Massa, president of the Argentina Chamber of Deputies, said at the beginning of the forum.
Jack Terpins, president of LAJC, highlighted the importance of this event in its persistence for justice, saying, “One of the greatest desires of Jewish communities around the world is that soon, the memories of the victims of this attack are accompanied by justice.”
Claudio Epelman, executive director of LAJC added: “The AMIA cause is also a Latin American issue. More international cooperation and more democracy will translate into less international terrorism.”
LAJC Secretary-General Jorge Knoblovits, president of the umbrella organization for Argentina’s Jewish community (Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas, or DAIA) and LAJC Vice President Ariel Eichbaum, president of AMIA, also took part in the event.
In addition, presidents of the Jewish communities of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay participated and signed the declaration.
Since 2007, LAJC has convened Latin American political leaders to pay tribute to the victims of the AMIA attack and to promote legislative initiatives with the aim of thwarting terrorist activity in the region. More than 350 members of the parliaments of Latin America have participated to date.
The World Jewish Congress has previously held global events in connection with the anniversary of the bombing.
The AMIA attack occurred two years after the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29 and wounded 242.
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