Too many 7/18s

Two weeks ago, the Argentine newspaper La Nación announced: “AMIA Bombing: unidentified DNA found amid human remains and is suspected that it could be the attackers.” Readers should be pardoned for believing that we are in 1994, the year in which the AMIA Jewish community center was bombed. That the local press would report as a scoop new evidence taken from the scene of a crime perpetrated last century is a telling commentary on the arbitrary evolution of the various investigations that emerged after that fateful July 18: on the Iranian involvement, on the Syrian track, and on the local connection. And also about the cover-up of the AMIA case, the infamous Memorandum of Understanding between Cristina Kirchner ´s Argentina and Iran, the Buenos Aires-Teheran complicity denounced by prosecutor Alberto Nisman, and the still un-clarified death of the prosecutor himself. In a kind of inverted Mamushka process, where each Russian doll produces an even bigger one, from the ruins of AMIA flourished new causes, mysterious clues, sloppy investigations, atrocious outcomes and surprising revelations.

Unlike other countries that suffered terrorist attacks after which the intellectual and material authors were quickly identified, for the last 23 years Argentina bore witness to multiple errors, plots and even scabrous situations. This mess turned bizarre when the terrorists were summoned by the victim-country to join the investigation, when the president of the republic was denounced for treason by the main prosecutor, and when he was found dead of a shot in the head just hours before he was going to offer testimony in Congress.

Nevertheless and in spite of so much political, judicial and police chaos, thanks to Alberto Nisman we know the essential. We know that it was the ayatollah regime who planned this atrocity. We know that it was the Islamist group Hezbollah who executed it. We know that President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, along with other government minions and unofficial figures, sought to exculpate the murderers with the spurious aim of being able to trade with them and to ally with them politically. That required crushing justice and truth, so they tried that. Things did not go exactly as the conspirators wished –truth prevailed. But there was no justice for the victims, either. True, INTERPOL- issued red alerts hang over the heads of important officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But the chances that the long arm of the Law will reach them are remote.

Today, the Jews of Argentina, with the support of much of society, will meet once again at the premises of the rebuilt AMIA building. As every July 18 for the last 23 years, we will honor the memory of the victims and demand justice. Almost a quarter of a century after the largest Islamist attack in Latin America took place, expectations are low. But our determination is high.

About the Author
Julian Schvindlerman is an Argentine writer and journalist specializing in Middle East affairs. He lectures on World Politics at the University of Palermo and is a regular contributor to Infobae and Perfil. He is the author of The Hidden Letter: A History of an Arab-Jewish Family, Triangle of Infamy: Richard Wagner, the Nazis and Israel; Rome and Jerusalem: Vatican policy toward the Jewish state; and Land for Peace, Land for War.
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