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, JTA reported Sunday.
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.
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.”
“26 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.
Iran has denied involvement in the AMIA attack. Earlier this month, the Argentinean judiciary announced that former president Cristina Kirchner and other senior members of her government have been referred for public trial over an alleged cover-up of Iranian involvement in the AMIA bombing.
Kirchner, her former foreign minister Hector Timerman and others in her 2007-2015 administration are accused of abuse of power and obstruction for signing a memorandum of understanding with Iran in 2012 that would have established a “truth commission” to investigate the bombing.
The case against them was opened in January 2015, on the basis of charges brought by Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who was found dead in mysterious circumstances four days later.
Leaders of Argentina’s Jewish community, which at 300,000 people is the largest in Latin America, criticized the accord between Argentina and Iran when it was signed in 2012. In 2014, an Argentine court declared the agreement to be unconstitutional.