By Laura Rigge
The Argentine Jewish community is in a state of unrest, as new revelations have come to light regarding the circumstances of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was in charge of the investigation, was found dead under mysterious circumstances Jan. 18, the day before he was set to testify about the Argentine government’s protection of Iran, which many believe to be responsible for the bombing.
Investigators believe that not only was Hezbollah responsible for the attack, which killed 84 people, but that Argentina made a deal with Iran that ensured that the Hezbollah agents responsible would never be prosecuted in return for a trade deal. Michael Salberg, director of international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, described it as “a saga of 20 years of unresolved murders.”
In the wake of Nisman’s murder and the subsequent dismissal of the case he had built, the Argentine Jewish community, which at 150,000 people is the largest in South America, has become increasingly on edge.
Although 400,000 people marched in Buenos Aires protesting Nisman’s murder and the continued defiance of the Argentine government, recent polls revealed that a quarter of the population of Argentina harbors anti-Semitic views.
Meanwhile, the victims of the 1994 bombing and their families continue to lack closure, and few have confidence that they ever will, Salberg said.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an overseas partner of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, continues to serve the Jewish community of Argentina and is closely monitoring the situation.
Learn more about the current state of affairs in the Argentine Jewish community at the annual Bethlehem Federation Shabbat on Saturday, May 2, at 9 a.m., at Congregation Brith Sholom. Free and open to everyone.