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Shelley Faintuch

SHELEY FAINTUCH: WHY REMEMBER AMIA Jewish Community Centre of Buenos Aires ?

by Shelley Faintuch, July 11, 2011

[A longer version of this article will be published in the Jerusalem Post]

In the history of modern antisemitism, many claim that there is a complete distinction between anti-Jewish sentiment and anti-Israel sentiment. Some believe that the two are inextricably intertwined.  As a Jewish community, and as members of the larger community of Winnipeg and Canada, we have to ask ourselves where the truth lies.

Fact: In 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Argentina was bombed. The Islamic Jihad Organization, linked to Iran and Hezbollah, took credit. 29 were murdered. 242 were injured. One might say that bombing an Israeli Embassy is tantamount to bombing Israel, and that therefore this particular act was anti-Israel in nature. In fact, some have argued that it had nothing to do with antisemitism.

Fact: However, on July 18, 1994, the AMIA Jewish Community Centre of Buenos Aires was bombed. 85 were murdered. More than 300 were injured. The building, which had been a centre for Jewish cultural life, was destroyed. There can be no doubt that this act was an act against the Jewish people (even though some non-Jewish workers and passers-by were among the victims). No one has been brought to justice. However, it is widely known that this was a terrorist attack organized and carried out by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah targeted Jews in a Jewish institution. There can be no doubt that this was a terrorist act of antisemitism. And why attack Jews? Because the State of Israel is Jewish?
Throughout the history of antisemitism, there has been a deep-seated hatred of the Jews: first as the “killers of Christ”, therefore evil; then as the genetically defective evil people; now as the state that is inherently evil because it is peopled by evil. No matter what the reasoning is, the Jews and now Israel, have been and still are scapegoats. By focusing on Jews and the Jewish nation-state of Israel, nefarious regimes whip up “the longest hatred” and thus can divert attention from themselves and their international power goals.

It has, therefore, become more important than ever to remember. We must remember the 85 victims of the AMIA bombing. We must remember their families and friends who have suffered. We must remember the more than three hundred injured victims. And we must say it as it is: All of these innocent people were intentionally harmed by terrorists who are not encumbered by the simple basic laws of humanity. The bombing of the AMIA centre was an evil act of antisemitic terrorism. It was an act undoubtedly perpetrated by Hezbollah – the proxy for The Islamic Republic of Iran. Let us not forget that Iran refers to Israel as “the Zionist regime”, the “enemy of Islam” the “little Satan” and “the ‘cancerous tumour’ that should be removed from the region”. We must remember that no one has yet been brought to justice so that we can unleash all of the power we can muster as individuals, as a people and as nations to bring justice into play on the world stage. Let no one forget what happened on July 18, 1994; for if we do, we play into the hands of evil and become yet more of history’s bystanders.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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