Argentine Jewish groups to boycott government Holocaust ceremony

Julie Wiener

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Argentina’s major Jewish institutions will boycott the country’s official Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony this year in order to protest the death of AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

Leaders of AMIA, DAIA, the Holocaust Museum of Buenos Aires, the Argentine Zionist Organization and the Simon Wiesenthal Center said that they will not participate in the government-organized event Jan. 27. Several officials who asked not to be identified cited prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s suspicious death on Jan. 18 and the information in his 300-page criminal complaint as reasons for boycotting the ceremony.

According to Nisman’s complaint, Argentina’s government signed a deal with Iran to hide Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires in exchange for commercial and oil benefits. The complaint says President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman “took the criminal decision of inventing Iran’s innocence to satisfy commercial, political and geopolitical interests of the Argentine republic.”

Nisman, who led the bombing probe for a decade, was found dead in his apartment on Monday of a gunshot wound just hours before he was to testify at the National Congress.

On Wednesday 3,000 people attended a protest at the rebuilt AMIA headquarters in Buenos Aires, AMIA officials reported. At the rally, organized by AMIA and DAIA, protesters demanded “truth and justice” from the government. During the rally, when Julio Schlosser, the president of DAIA, noted that 85 people had been killed in the AMIA attack, people in the crowd shouted “86,” a reference to Nisman. The number 86 has become shorthand on social media to refer to Nisman’s death. No one from the government or the ruling parties attended the Buenos Aires rally.

In Israel, 250 Argentine Jews, including a woman who identified herself as Nisman’s cousin, attended a protest Friday morning at the Argentine embassy in Tel Aviv. Several held placards reading “Yo soy Nisman,” Spanish for “I am Nisman.”

The organizations will hold their own Holocaust memorial ceremony at the rebuilt AMIA headquarters on the morning of Jan. 27.

The Latin American representative of the Wiesenthal Center Sergio Widder told JTA, “We join the decision of the other Jewish NGOs in this sensitive moment. We want to send a message to the government, a message that there is a bad mood these days, that we are farther than ever from the possibility of finding truth and justice in the AMIA case”.