Rage lives on 20 years after horror of Amia

By Adam Feinstein, July 17, 2014
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The aftermath of the 1994 car bomb attack on the Amia Jewish centre in Buenos Aires

The aftermath of the 1994 car bomb attack on the Amia Jewish centre in Buenos Aires

Feelings have been running high ahead of the July 18 anniversary of the 1994 bombing of the Amia Jewish centre in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people and wounded more than 300.

The protests began at the World Cup in Brazil. Demonstrators picketed the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte before the Argentina-Iran match. They held banners which read: "Twenty years without justice" and "a red card for lack of justice".

The Argentinian authorities have accused eight Iranians of carrying out the Amia attack - including its former President, Ali Rafsanjani - and demanded their extradition.

The World Jewish Congress asked Fifa to hold a minute's silence before the match but the request was
rejected.

Their leaders did not protect us or share our pain or demands for justice

Argentina and Iran signed a controversial Memorandum of Understanding in Addis Ababa in January 2013. Under this agreement, they pledged a joint probe into the bombing. This provoked anger, both from those who consider the Iranians responsible for the attack and from those who believe the Argentinian government is covering up the truth. On May 15, a court in Buenos Aires declared the agreement unconstitutional but the ruling was appealed by the government.

Over the past two weeks, police stepped up security around Jewish institutions across Buenos Aires following bomb threats.

Several events to mark the anniversary were planned for Buenos Aires this week by groups representing Argentina's Jewish community - at around 200,000, the largest in Latin America.

Amia itself and Daia, the umbrella organisation representing Argentinian Jews, will hold a ceremony at Amia's headquarters while Memoria Activa will demonstrate in front of the main court. Another group, 18-J, is to hold a march in the Plaza de Mayo.

The leader of Memoria Activa, Diana Malamud, mother of one of the victims of the Amia bombing, said her organisation's protest would be in open defiance of both Amia and Daia: "Their leaders did not protect us, did not share our pain or demands for justice," she said. She was particularly disappointed that Amia and Daia had supported the Buenos Aires-Tehran agreement.

Laura Ginsberg, whose husband, José, died in the bombing, said there were "profound political differences" between the victims' organisations.

    Last updated: 3:45pm, July 17 2014