This Week’s Guest: Avi Weiss
On July 18, 1994, a car-bomb struck the headquarters of AMIA—the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, the largest Jewish community center and social-service agency in Buenos Aires—killing 85 people and wounding 300 more. It was the worst single attack on Diaspora Jews since the Holocaust.
A quarter-century later, the perpetrators of this terror attack have still not been brought to justice. And in this month’s Mosaic essay, Rabbi Avi Weiss, the well-known Jewish activist, tells the story of the shameful cover-up of the AMIA bombing and his involvement in trying to unwind it.
As soon as he heard about the attack, Weiss packed his bags and traveled to Argentina to be present with the suffering Jewish community there. But he soon found himself confronting the then-president of Argentina, Carlos Menem, and attending a cabinet meeting where it became clear to him that the Menem government was not serious about catching and punishing the perpetrators of this horrific crime.
In this week’s podcast, Weiss joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to discuss his essay. He recounts his initial trip to Argentina and surreal meeting with Menem, reflects on his many journeys back to Argentina in the years since the bombing, and offers his thoughts on the complicated role of the Jewish activist who operates outside the corridors of power to demand justice for his people.
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as the original Broadway cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof and “Above the Ocean” by Evan MacDonald.
Every Thursday, the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic will bring to your car/earbuds/home stereo/Alexa the latest in our efforts to advance Jewish thought. For more on the new podcast, check out our inaugural post here.
If you have thoughts about the podcast that you’d like to share, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send us an email at [email protected]. We’re grateful for your support, and we look forward to a new year of great conversations on Jewish essays and ideas.
More about: AMIA bombing, Argentina, Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic