After 26 years, Argentine government joins ceremony to commemorate terrorist attack on Israeli embassy

Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Ilán Sztulman, speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the terror attack on the embassy in Buenos Aires, that killed 29 and injured 242. (Courtesy/Israeli Embassy)


BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — For the first time, the ceremony to commemorate the terrorist attack on Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires was co-sponsored by the Argentine government.

The ceremony which took place on Friday to mark the 26th year since the attack also was held for the first time in the country’s human rights center instead of at the site where the attack occurred.

“Today we have decided to remember here, as a symbol that this is a top priority issue in the government’s human rights agenda “said Argentina’s Vice President Gabriela Michetti, the main speaker of the event.

The terrorist attack that destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, killed 29 and injured 242, in the first international terrorist attack on Argentina’s soil.

The site of the ceremony was Argentina’s National Archive of Memory, where the office of the Secretary of Human Rights is located.

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The building served as the Mechanics School of the Navy, or ESMA, and was used by the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983) as one of the main secret detention centers for torture and extermination of political activists who struggled against the regime.

The iconic place remains open as a museum commemorating those crimes and others crimes against human rights.

“There is a paradigm shift in the Argentine State. The attack happened to us, Jews and not Jews, Israelis and non-Israelis, that’s why we are here in this place, because what happened to us happened to all of us, “said speaker Claudio Avruj, Argentina’s secretary of human rights.

The event was attended by survivors of the attack and relatives of the victims, as well as representatives of the Israeli embassy. Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Ilán Sztulman, said that the tribute was a clear expression that the attack “was a fact that has affected the entire Argentine society, this site shows that universality.”

“Twenty-six years after this tragic date, the citizens of the world are moved again because the perpetrators did not pay for the crime. The Republic of Iran, through Hezbollah, continues to expand terror globally. As we said here 26 years ago, terrorism will not defeat us,” Sztulman said.

A photo exhibition “Solidarity is Memory” about the 1992 attack was inaugurated last Friday and will remain on display for two weeks. Some of the photographs will be incorporated into the permanent exhibition at the human rights memory center.

Argentina has accused Iran of perpetrating the 1992 attack and also of the deadly 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 and injured hundreds. The perpetrators of both crimes have never been caught.