Twenty-five years after the grisly terrorist attack on the main Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 Jews and wounded at least 300, the pain persists — and so do far too many questions. The perpetrators of the massacre have never been brought to justice, and too often, the official response from the Argentinian government has been shaped more by international politics than the demands of justice.
Last week, the U.S. marked the 25th anniversary of the attack by imposing financial sanctions on a Hezbollah leader believed to be the mastermind behind the attack. And the government of President Mauricio Macri officially designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization, a step in the right direction. But that designation will be meaningful only if it leads to an active effort to hold the individuals, governments and terrorist groups involved in the massacre, notably Hezbollah, accountable for their actions.
Why does it matter after all these years?
It matters because justice delayed isn’t justice at all. And of course there is the lingering agony for survivors of the attack and for the families of the dead.
It matters because Hezbollah remains a dagger poised over Israel’s heart, and because Iran — now engaged in a dangerous game of brinkmanship with the Trump administration — is still both a major backer of the terrorist group and a direct threat to a Jewish state it hates.
It matters because 25 years of ineffective investigations and cover-ups by the government in Buenos Aires remain an encouragement to terrorists everywhere — those determined to sow mayhem in Israel, but also those targeting this country and its allies.
And it matters to the Latin American Jews who have lived in a new world of uncertainty and unease since the 1994 bombing.
There is evidence the Argentinian government may be edging closer to a serious pursuit of justice. According to The Times of Israel, lawmakers are now considering legislation to enable the trial in absentia of suspects in the bombing, and the government has moved to freeze Hezbollah assets. Some officials are now conceding that their country’s pursuit of justice has been less than vigorous.
For the families of victims, for survivors, for endangered Jews everywhere and for a world still facing multiple terrorist threats, bringing this terrible saga to a close by prosecuting those responsible for the attack and unambiguously holding Iran and its client Hezbollah accountable remain critical priorities. Justice delayed is better than no justice at all.