September 2019 -- Elul 5779-Tishri 5780,  Volume 25, Issue 9

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Left to right:  Israel Nitzan, Deputy Consul General of Israel; Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President for Research Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Tomas Haendler, Event Chair, AJC Westchester/Fairfield Board of Directors; Scott Richman, Director, AJC Westchester Fairfield.

Memorial Ceremony Commemorates 25th Anniversary of AMIA Bombing

By Stephen E. Lipken

 

Under the auspices of AJC Westchester/Fairfield, Westchester Board of Rabbis; Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) and multiple synagogues in New York and Connecticut areas, approximately 250 people from the Jewish community came together at Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, Rye on  Monday, August 5th to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of an explosive-laden van suicide bombing of Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), building, Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring many Jews and non-Jews.

 

“It is the worst terrorist attack against a diaspora Jewish community since the end of the Shoah,” AJC Director Scott Richman stressed.  “It became clear that Iran and Hezbollah had their fingerprints on this terrorist attack... and after 25 years of waiting, nobody has been brought to trial.

 

“Part of the reason is corruption in Argentina. The appointed Special Prosecutor [Alberto Nisman] was assassinated in 2015.   We come together to remember, to reflect…and say that we want justice…

 

“The form of justice that we are asking for is first, the perpetrators brought to trial and secondly, Hezbollah be declared a terrorist entity the world over…AJC and AJC Global have launched a campaign to get Hezbollah’s political wing declared a terrorist entity.  Its military wing was declared a terrorist entity.”

 

Rabbi Marcelo Kormis, Congregation Beth El, Fairfield and native of Santiago, Chile, recounted being a first responder in Buenos Aires that day, giving pastoral comfort to families waiting to hear if their relatives were still alive.

 

Next, Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski, Congregation Sulam Yaakov, Larchmont, originally from Argentina, decried the loss of his close friend, Naum Javier Tenenbaum, who perished in the attack. Borodowski sang the haunting El Mole Rachamim, stressing, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

 

In conversation with Richman, Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) warned about Hezbollah “sleeper cells” in Latin America, United States and Egypt, plus “narco-terrorism,” Mafia-like drug trade financing terrorist activities.

 

As economic sanctions were called for against Hezbollah, the audience lit 85 candles, commemorating the senseless deaths.