BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentina’s agreement to jointly investigate with Iran the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center was criticized at a memorial marking the terror attack.
Further inflaming the heated atmosphere was the absence of Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner from Thursday’s ceremony.
AMIA President Leonardo Jmelnisky told the crowd that “the Memorandum (of Understanding) with Iran is counterproductive and against the clarification of the cause.”
Sofia Guterman, the mother of a victim in the attack that killed 85 and injured more than 300, said it was “a pact between and an assaulted and his aggressor. It is absurd and will guarantee the impunity of the criminals.”
Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said Kirchner did not attend the ceremony because she was in Colombia meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos. Critics accused Kirchner of avoiding the ceremony on purpose. She also did not attend last year after having attended several prior commemorations. Only one senator from her Justicialist Party was on hand for the ceremony.
Jorge Knoblovits, the secretary general of the DAIA Jewish umbrella group, told JTA, “When you assume public responsibilities, you also have to accept the responses of the public. It is a shame the president didn’t attend the AMIA event. She would have to risk hearing the opinions of the street.”
Commemorations also are being held Thursday in Israel and the United States.
“We have the confirmation that today the AMIA bombing victims will be mentioned in a Yizkor in the main ceremony of the Maccabiah Games at Teddy Stadium,” said Waldo Wolff, vice president of DAIA, who is participating as an athlete at the Maccabiah.
In the United States, the American Jewish Committee commemorated the AMIA attack in Miami, Fla., at the Skylake Synagogue with the participation of Chaim Shacham, consul general of Israel to Miami.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in January and ratified by the ruling majority in Argentina’s national parliament in February. The Iranian parliament has not yet ratified the agreement.