February 26, 2001
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) stands in solidarity with the Jewish community in Argentina. Terrorism has plagued Argentina’s recent history. In 1992 the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 29 people and leaving many seriously wounded. In 1994 the building which housed both the delegation of the Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA) and the Jewish Argentina Mutual Aid Society (AMIA) was destroyed. The lives of nearly 100 Jewish and non-Jewish Argentineans were taken, hundreds more were wounded and precious archives of Argentinean Jewish history were destroyed.
The JCPA has had a longstanding commitment to the fight against terrorism, whether in Argentina or elsewhere in the world. We were encouraged when President Fernando de la Rua took office in December 1999 and immediately committed himself to accelerating the investigations into the bombings and to eliminating those local and federal law enforcement officials who have been unhelpful in this process. The upcoming trial of the Buenos Aires police officers accused of complicity in the AMIA attack is a step in the right direction. In addition:
- The Argentinean government should seek to bring all the perpetrators of these heinous crimes before competent judicial tribunals;
- Access should be granted at the trial of the policemen to independent human rights organizations and NGOs in order to insure a transparent and fair proceeding.
- The Argentinean government should safeguard against future attacks on the Jewish community. This includes addressing the problem of extreme political forces in the country that promote or tolerate racial hatred and engage in acts of anti-Semitism, such as cemetery desecration.
The United States government has an important role to play in encouraging the Argentinean government to pursue vigorously the fight against terrorism. We urge our member organizations to keep these issues at the forefront of the U.S and world attention until they have been resolved in a satisfactory manner. We urge President George W. Bush and the members of the 107th Congress to use their good offices with the government of Argentina to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators of the two terrorist attacks to justice.