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Justice has still not been served!

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Rescue workers search through the remains of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community center after a bombing on July 18, 1994. (Credit: AP)

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This past Saturday marked the 26th anniversary of the AMIA bombing, a terrorist attack which took place at the headquarters of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The attack claimed 85 lives, wounded over 300, and reduced the area around the building, the heart of Jewish life in Argentina, to rubble.

For nearly 20 years, the Jewish community of Winnipeg has gathered to remember the lives lost in the AMIA tragedy and COVID-19 wasn’t going to change that. 

“We became aware of the impact of the AMIA bombing as we began a relationship with the Jewish community of Argentina starting in the mid-1990s,” Elaine Goldstine, Chief Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg told the community in a message sent on behalf of herself and Federation president, Joel Lazer. “For nearly 20 years, we have gathered as a community to voice our sorrow for the families who were affected and voice our dismay at the lack of justice in the wake of the attack,” stated Goldstine. “Even though we are not able to gather as we normally do, it is our duty to remember this tragedy.

The AMIA bombing was by far the worst terrorist act in the history of Argentina and accounted for the largest Jewish death toll from antisemitic terrorism outside Israel since World War II. A suicide bomber drove a rented van loaded with a 275 KG bomb through the front gates of the seven-story AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires. At 9:53 a.m. he detonated the bomb, leveling the building. The blast destroyed adjacent buildings and damaged apartments, shops, and houses.

In the days following the bombing, Israel sent Mossad agents to Argentina to investigate. The Israeli Police also sent a team to assist with the investigation and victim identification. The IDF sent personnel to help with body extrication while Argentina closed its borders fearing more terrorist attacks.

The AMIA bombing came just two years after the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires which killed 29 and wounded 242. It was considered Argentina’s deadliest attack until the AMIA bombing. The Islamic Jihad Organization, which operates under the umbrella of Hezbollah and is linked to Iran, claimed responsibility for the Embassy bombing. 

It is worth noting that one day after the AMIA attack, a suicide bomber brought down a Panamanian commuter plane killing all 21 passengers, 12 of whom were Jews. Seven days later the Israeli embassy in London was car-bombed, and thirteen hours later a similar car bomb exploded outside a Jewish community centre in London. No one was killed but 22 were injured and substantial damage was caused to property.

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It is widely believed that an Arab traveling under an alias took down the Panamanian airliner while Islamic Jihadists were behind the London bombings. Five Palestinians were later arrested and two convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in connection with the bombings. Ansar Allah, a Palestinian Jihadist organization widely held as a front for Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Back in Argentina the investigations into the AMIA atrocity were mired in controversy and corruption. 

In May 2013, Prosecutor Alberto Nisman published a 502-page indictment accusing Iran of establishing terrorist networks throughout Latin America – including in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname – dating back to the 1980s. Nisman also said new evidence underscored the responsibility of Mohsen Rabbani, the former Iranian cultural attaché in Argentina, as mastermind of the AMIA bombing and “coordinator of the Iranian infiltration of South America”.

Families of the 1994 AMIA bombing victims commemorate the anniversary of the attack in 2006. (Credit: AP)

In January 2015, Nisman filed a 300-page complaint accusing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman of “covering up” Iranian citizens allegedly involved in the 1994 attack. Nisman said his accusations were based on phone taps on close political allies of Fernández, who he said conspired in a “sophisticated criminal plan” to negotiate with Rabbani himself, one of the main suspects of perpetrating the deadly bombing.

Shortly after filling the 300-page complaint, Nisman was found dead at his home in Buenos Aires, mere hours before he was due to testify at the Argentine parliament. While a gun and spent shell casing were found next to the body, and a government official said the death was likely a suicide, many considered the death suspicious, if not convenient.

CD4HR manager Firas Al Najim, holding a Hezbollah flag, pushes for Hezbollah and IRGC to be removed from the list of terrorist organizations in our country

Recently, in Canada, pro-Iranian elements have been pushing for Hezbollah and IRGC to be removed from the list of terrorist organizations in our country. Leading the call “on the Canadian government and intelligence services to review the placement of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force and Hizballah on Public Safety Canada’s (PSC) list of terrorist entities,” is none other then the Canadian Defenders for Human Rights (CD4HR) organization, known for their antisemitic tropes.

While Argentinian authorities have been unable to locate those responsible for either of the two bombings, it is widely accepted that Hezbollah masterminded and perpetrated both acts of terrorism. 

26 years later, justice has still not been served!

The AMIA attack wasn’t just an attack on Argentina’s Jewish community. It was an attack on all Jewish communities. It is therefore imperative that the Canadian government not buckle to the pressure and demands of Iranian proxies and the likes of CD4HR.  

Ron East is an educator, community leader and public speaker. He’s spent a decade teaching in the Jewish and public school systems and spent a significant amount of time in various leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector including Executive Director of Football Manitoba and the Manitoba chapter of CFHU. Ron has published numerous newsletters, award winning magazines and online publications and is currently the Publishing Director of TheJ.Ca.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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