Argentine president, addressing Jewish group, vows progress on AMIA probe


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – Argentine President Mauricio Macri promised to “make headway” in investigating the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center in an address to Jewish leaders in the capital city.

Macri addressed the opening gala Tuesday night of the Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress, which is being held this week for the first time in Latin America. The group’s plenary will include discussions of the AMIA Jewish center bombing and the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy, both of which remain unresolved.

“We are fully committed to contribute in any way we can to make headway with this investigation,” said Macri, who reminded his audience that his government, during its first week in power in December, voided an agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing, calling it “unconstitutional.”

“Here, we suffer the ravaging consequences of two bomb attacks. We are still in the dark of what happened,” Macri said.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the embassy and AMIA attacks “were not just attacks on Jews, but attacks on Argentina.” He also said the shooting death of Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who was investigating the AMIA bombing, was “not just an attack on a Jewish lawyer. This was an attack on Argentina’s entire system of justice.”

The Argentine judiciary has not yet determined whether Nisman’s death was a homicide or suicide.

“President Macri, you have promised that after all this time, Argentina will bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice,” Lauder said at the gala at the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires. “We believe you. We trust you. And the World Jewish Congress stands with you to help in any way that we can.”

Macri was joined at the event by his foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, and his human rights secretary, Claudio Avruj, a former executive director of DAIA, the Jewish political umbrella in Argentina.

The president also spoke about the “historic ties” between Argentina and Israel, noting the large Argentine community in Israel. He also revealed that at the last World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January, he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “we want to boost our relationship in order for us to work closer than ever in order to defend peace throughout the world.”

On Thursday, WJC delegates will participate in a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the embassy attack, during which Israel’s minister of education and of Diaspora affairs, Naftali Bennett, and Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti will speak.

“Senor Presidente,” Lauder said in Spanish Tuesday night, “the WJC came to your beautiful city because the Jewish community of Argentina is the largest and most successful in all of South and Latin America, and also because for more than 20 years the terrorists of three great crimes still have not been brought to justice.”

Recommended from JTA