In its pyramid of crimes, ADL acknowledges genocide as the highest form of hate crime and genocide denial as the highest form of hate speech.
Therefore, NPFH’s human rights mission clearly conflicts with the ADL’s policies of genocide denial and helping Turkey to defeat Congressional affirmation of the Armenian genocide. It is contradictory and absurd for NPFH to be responsible for combating hate in our communities while its creator and sponsor is actively engaged in genocide denial, which is the highest form of hate speech and the final stage of genocide.
Thus, Armenian-Americans and other human rights advocates are asking cities and towns nationwide who participate in the No Place for Hate program to sever their ties with the ADL. In Massachusetts, seven communities have already disassociated from the ADL.
After pressure from the New England Region ADL and other Jewish-Americans, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman issued a highly disingenuous press release on August 21, 2007 that some claimed was an acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. It read, in part: “We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities . . . the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.”
This carefully worded statement is not an acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide.
First, aside from the fact that the Armenian Genocide began in 1915 and lasted until 1923 (not 1918), the statement uses the qualifier “tantamount.” The Armenian Genocide was not “tantamount to genocide.” It was genocide.
Second, and most critical, is that by employing the word “consequences,” the statement circumvents the international legal definition of genocide by avoiding any language that would imply intent, a crucial part of the 1948 UN Genocide treaty.
Article II of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such . . .”
Legal scholars have long regarded the word “intent” in that definition to be key. That is, to be termed genocide, the deaths cannot simply be an accident or the “consequence” of conditions beyond the responsible party’s control. The actions must have been planned and deliberate.
Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. Ambassador to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1915, wrote in his book, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story:
“When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact . . . I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this…and with them the one motive was cold-blooded, calculating state policy.”
Notice that Morgenthau speaks of Turkish “motive” and “calculating” policy, which are the equivalent of intent. In contrast, the ADL speaks of “consequences,” as if the mass murders were not intentional or calculated.
Even Turkey admits that many Armenians died during this period. Turkey claims, however, that these deaths were not intentional, but simply the “consequence” of wartime conditions.
The ADL’s August 21, 2007, press release was dishonest and a demonstration of bad faith. In effect, with this statement, the positions of the ADL and Turkey are still identical: denial of the Armenian Genocide.
As a leading human rights organization that has done such commendable work to combat Holocaust denial, the ADL is expected to speak with absolute moral clarity about the Armenian genocide.
On September 27, 2007, after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, Mr. Foxman reiterated that Armenians should respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission "to investigate what happened in the past."
According to the ADL’s own web page, this type of proposition is genocide denial in its most insidious form: “On the surface, Holocaust deniers portray themselves as individuals and groups engaged in a legitimate, dispassionate quest for historical knowledge and ‘truth’ [yet] seek to plant seeds of questioning and doubt.”
The IAGS labeled Turkish calls for a joint historical commission of Turkish and Armenian scholars “propaganda,” not scholarship. In an October 5, 2007, letter to Congress, the IAGS further described this proposal as a “red herring [that] would only serve the interests of Turkish genocide deniers.”
Please refer to Appendix 2 for a full text of the IAGS letter to the US Congress.
In their June 13, 2005, letter, the IAGS told Turkey’s prime minister that “scholars who advise your government and who are affiliated in other ways with your state-controlled institutions are not impartial [and] such so-called ‘scholars’ work to serve the agenda of historical and moral obfuscation when they advise you and the Turkish parliament on how to deny the Armenian Genocide.”
Further, independent Turkish writers, scholars, and historians, including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk and Professor Taner Akcam, who write about the Armenian Genocide are charged with “insulting Turkishness” under the notorious Article 301 of the penal code and face trial and death threats.
Finally, these proposed commissions to examine the Armenian Genocide are no different from last year’s Holocaust conference in Iran that the ADL rightly condemned. Mr. Foxman was quoted as saying, “We believe this type of Holocaust denial has no place in the family of nations, and that it is essential for European and world leaders to condemn this conference and everything it stands for.”
Three days after issuing his highly duplicitous statement on the Armenian genocide, Mr. Foxman, in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Turkey, apologized for having put his government “in a difficult position,” and expressed his “sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey.”
The Prime Minister subsequently said of the ADL: “The wrong step that has been taken is corrected. . . They said they shared our sensitivity and expressed the mistake they made [and] will continue to give us all the support they have given so far.”
Yet to date, no apology to the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their heirs has been issued by the ADL.
Moreover, Mr. Foxman has since stressed repeatedly that he shares the Turkish government’s opposition to having the U.S. Congress even discuss the Armenian Genocide, much less vote on a non-binding Congressional resolution affirming the historical record.
We should mention that ADL not only sponsors and certifies that a NPFH program follows ADL’s rules, but also requires that a municipal “governing body”, such as a town or city council, or a school committee, certify the local NPFH. Thus, the municipal government and elected and appointed officials, not just the NPFH, are bound to the ADL.
The ADL issued a statement on August 21, 2007 regarding the Armenian Genocide. Yet, this statement deliberately used ambiguous language to appear simultaneously to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, appease the Turkish government, and circumvent the actual definition of genocide as stated in the 1948 UN Genocide convention. The hypocrisy of the ADL’s stance and statement is further revealed below:
A. Article II of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such …”
Legal scholars have long regarded the word “intent” in that definition to be key. That is, to be termed genocide, the deaths, harm, and so on cannot simply be an accident or the “consequence” of conditions beyond the responsible party’s control.
B. The ADL Statement on the Armenian Genocide of August 21, 2007:
“…the consequences of those actions [by Turkey] were indeed tantamount to genocide.”
Notice that this statement uses the word “consequences” rather than “intent”. It is clear that the ADL statement not only avoided the key word “intent” but also worded its statement such that the events of 1915 – 1923 could not fit the UN definition of genocide.
We know that even Turkey admits that Armenians were killed or died in 1915-23. However, Turkey claims that such was not its “intent,” but simply the “consequence” of wartime conditions. Thus, the positions of the ADL and Turkey are, in effect, identical: genocide denial.
The wording of the ADL statement is too exact and legalistic to be other than deliberate. One is led to the conclusion that the ADL retained expert legal advice to craft its disingenuous statement.
C. Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. Ambassador to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1915 ,wrote in his book, “Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story”:
“The Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact…I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this…and with them the one motive was cold-blooded, calculating state policy.”
Notice that Morgenthau speaks of Turkish “motive” and “calculating” policy, which are the equivalent of intent. In contrast, the ADL speaks of “consequences” as if the mass murders were not intentional or calculated.
Along with some other organizations, the ADL has lobbied against Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide for many years.
Mr. Foxman has called the current genocide resolution a “counterproductive diversion.” Speaking to reporters in New York after meeting with the Turkish prime minister in late September, Mr. Foxman stated, “US Congressmen are not historians. Therefore, they cannot judge what happened in history.”
Armenian-Americans find this position extremely hypocritical given the numerous resolutions passed by the US Congress on the Holocaust.
The national ADL must now demonstrate good faith through clear and forthright support of United States recognition of the Armenian genocide, including Congressional affirmation.
Please find two recent examples below:
Japan Resolution 121:
July, 30th 2007: the House passed resolution 121 recognizing crimes committed by Japan
"Whereas the Government of Japan, during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, officially commissioned the acquisition of young women for the sole purpose of sexual servitude to its Imperial Armed Forces, who became known to the world as ianfu or `comfort women; "
the house has resolved (something the Armenian genocide resolution lacks)
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan--
(1) should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed Forces' coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as `comfort women', during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;
Holocaust Resolution 226:
June 11, 2007 House Resolution 226: Whereas some 6,000,000 Jews were slaughtered pursuant to Adolf Hitler's diabolical plan for the total extermination of the Jews during the Third Reich, and even more would have perished had it not been for the efforts of a number of United States Government officials who spoke out forcefully against American policy and persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the need for extraordinary measures to save Jewish lives;
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) honors the efforts and contributions of those who worked for the establishment of the War Refugee Board and for a more active United States policy to rescue Jews and other victims of Nazi repression who were in imminent danger of death and to provide these persecuted minorities with relief and assistance during World War II; and
(2) commends in particular the actions of Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Josiah DuBois, Jr., and John Pehle for their dedication and devotion to helping rescue Jews and other persecuted minorities in the Holocaust.
Has ADL supported resolutions acknowledging acts of genocide and resolutions condemning genocide denial before?
Below, please find a partial list of US Congress and International resolutions that the ADL has supported.
July 22, 2004
Concurrent House Resolution 467 and Senate Resolution 133
“Congress declares that the atrocities unfolding in Darfur, Sudan, are genocide, and urges the Administration to refer to such atrocities as genocide”
ADL Press statement regarding Resolutions 467/133:
July 23, 2004…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended Congress for condemning the atrocities being committed in the Darfur region of Sudan as "genocide."
"We applaud Congress for this bipartisan effort to marshal support for a more robust U.S. response to the genocidal atrocities in Darfur," said Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "As Jews, we are acutely aware of the lesson of the Holocaust, to never again remain silent in the face of such acts. We are confronting a crisis which challenges us to action while there is still time, and not to delay as in the case of Rwanda. Time is running out, but American pressure can still make a difference and reduce the death toll in Darfur."
United Nations General Assembly Resolution denouncing denial of the Holocaust
Introduced by the U.S. representative on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day (UNGA res 60/7)
January, 26 2007
The ADL encouraged support by writing (ADL letter below) to the UN representatives who had not endorsed the resolution. Those countries included: China, Egypt, Jordan, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brazil and Japan.
January 23, 2007
“It is a sad reality that the denial of the Holocaust is becoming increasingly common. Just last month, Iran held an international conference questioning the Holocaust which brought together some of the world's leading anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers. The United Nations itself is not immune from this poison. The Iranian ambassador to the Human Rights Council sent a letter on January 8 to the council president defending the Holocaust denial conference.”
"We urge you to support this important declaration by the international community reinforcing that it will never forget the Holocaust and rejecting those who seek to deny it. Furthermore, such a declaration is critical to ensuring that the world does not ignore current and future acts of genocide"
The ADL’s actions—opposing genocide recognition to appease a foreign government which is committed to denying this crime against humanity—puts the ADL leadership in direct conflict with the very ideals that the No Place for Hate program aims to foster in our communities.
Until there is a change in position on this issue at the ADL national leadership level, the ADL as an organization has no moral authority to sponsor any anti-bigotry or anti-hate program. NPFH simply cannot credibly continue to be a subsidiary of the ADL.
NPFH chapters would have to change their names since NPFH is a registered federal trademark of the ADL. NPFH chapters would then simply continue their good work under a different name. The structure, membership, general goals, and activities of NPFH would remain the same as they are now. But, again, NPFH cannot continue to be sponsored by an organization whose policies and actions are incompatible with human rights and the stated mission of NPFH.
This is a human rights issue. Acknowledgment is the right of all people who have suffered genocide.
In a letter to the Newton Human Rights Commission, Prof. Henry Theriault wrote:
“Genocide denial is not a legitimate dispute about history, but an intentional campaign to falsify the historical record. Its goal is not simply to exonerate the perpetrators of the crime. It is a renewed attack on the victim group. Through it, deniers identify themselves with the perpetrators of the violence to hound survivors and their progeny through time, so that they can never escape the genocide that they survived. As one of the world’s foremost scholars of genocide and denial, Israel Charny of Hebrew University, has put it, genocide denial is a renewed assault on the humanity of the victim group, a celebration of the genocide that mocks the sensibilities of the victims and reasserts the power of the perpetrators over them, including even the history written about them. It conveys the clear message that what happened was justified and demonstrates to victims the impunity of the perpetrators not only to escape responsibility for what they did but, through future agents, to commit genocide again if they so choose.”
Genocide resolutions help to bring awareness of genocide and its prevention to the public and international community.
Writing in Haaretz, Israeli columnist and former education minister Yossi Sarid declared, “Denying another nation’s Holocaust is no less ugly than denying ours. It is also dangerous. Today’s denial is tomorrow’s Holocaust … If the world had risen up in protest against the genocide of the … Armenians, the Holocaust of the Jews might also have been averted. This is not a mere assumption … A week before invading Poland, Hitler addressed his officers (August 24, 1939): ‘I have ordered my Death-Head Formation to kill mercilessly and without compassion men, women and children of Polish derivation and language. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’”
On September 11, 2007, in a statement on Newton’s decision to stop participating in the ADL’s NPFH program, Mayor David B. Cohen wrote:
“The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is an important step along the path of freedom and justice, and crucial in combating other genocides now and in the future.”
First and foremost, the Turkish government has spent millions of dollars on public relations firms to fight U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, hiring high-priced lobbyists, including former congressmen, to advance their denialist agenda.
Also, various Turkish organizations, some corporate lobbies, and other organizations have long worked against acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. Armenian-Americans and others have criticized those groups and persons for some time.
Unlike other groups, the ADL is identified as a human rights organization whose “purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.” Human rights are universal and must never be subordinated to political interests. In order to be true to its mission, the ADL must work to secure justice and fair treatment for all victims of genocide, including Armenians.
The ADL is the only human and civil rights group we know of that has opposed Armenian genocide recognition.
As a leading human rights organization that has done such commendable work to combat Holocaust denial, the ADL is expected be at the forefront of condemning the denial of the Armenian genocide.
Why is the ADL not acknowledging the Armenian genocide and opposing congressional affirmation of the Armenian genocide?
Israel, at Turkey’s request, agreed that some of the leading American Jewish organizations would lobby in Washington, DC on behalf of Turkey. Lobbying against Armenian-Americans, particularly against Armenian genocide resolutions, was part of that agreement.
Also, the ADL has argued that acknowledging the Armenian Genocide would jeopardize the safety of the Jewish population of Turkey. This argument is tantamount to appeasing terrorists. Additionally, there are a number of logical flaws in this contention that expose its unfounded basis:
• The ADL has bestowed a number of awards upon the leadership of Turkey emphasizing the country’s magnificent history of tolerance and openness. Many Turkish-Jews, such as prominent businessman Jak Kamhi, have echoed these points. Thus, if Turkey has been and continues to be such a tolerant place, then why would one worry about the safety of Turkish-Jews?
• The ADL rightfully condemns the reprehensible statements coming from Iran’s leadership regarding the Holocaust. Is the ADL not worried about the safety of the 20,000 or so Iranian-Jews living in Iran? Surely, if Iranian-Jews are safe enough for the UN, the U.S., Israel, and other world bodies’ condemnation of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial, then Turkish-Jews are most definitely safe given the ADL’s assertions of Turkey’s magnificent history of tolerance.
• Jack Nusan Porter, the Secretary of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a scholar and former Rabbi, states that this issue is simply a “red herring.” (Read the Armenian Weekly interview with Jack Nusan Porter)
Here is what a Boston Globe editorial (August 18, 2007) says:
The ADL says it is worried about the fate of the Jewish community in Turkey and Turkey's strategic relationships with the United States and Israel. But Turkey's treatment of its Jewish minority and its foreign policy shouldn't depend on a historical lie. If the national ADL doesn't acknowledge the genocide, it is complicit in a cover-up.
Jewish historians, elected officials, rabbis, and individual Jews, as well as a number of Jewish organizations, such as the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Zionist Organization of America, have long been supportive of acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide and Congressional resolutions on that genocide. On October 10, seven out of eight Jewish-American Congressmen on the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favor H.Res.106.
In the past months, the response from Jewish-Americans has been nearly 100% positive, except for a small number of leaders at the top of the ADL and some other organizations, who are out of step with their own communities.
Helen Epstein, author of, made the following statement to the Lexington Selectmen on October 15, 2007:
“As the daughter of Czech Jews whose families were murdered during the Holocaust, [I understand] not only the facts of destruction of life, culture and community but the long-term psychological ramifications of genocide and the healing power of validation.
[…] " It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator," writes Judith Lewis Herman. The perpetrator asks nothing of us but to be silent. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement and remembering.
The head of the ADL has chosen not to do this. As a Jew who understands what this means, [I urge] that No Place for Hate sever ties with the ADL.”
American Jewish World Service (New York, NY)
Americans for Peace Now (Washington, DC)
Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (New York, NY)
Jewish Social Policy Action Network (Philadelphia, PA)
Jewish War Veterans of the USA (Washington, DC)
Jewish World Watch (Encino, CA)
Progressive Jewish Alliance (Los Angeles, CA)
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Wyncote, PA)
Jewish Voice for Peace (Oakland, CA)
Union for Reform Judaism (Washington, DC)
Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring (New York, NY)
Zionist Organization of America (New York, NY)
A majority of the members of the House of Representatives and over 30 US Senators from both sides of the aisle have co-sponsored the resolution.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel has called genocide denial a “double killing.”
In “The Eight Stages of Genocide,” Holocaust scholar Gregory H. Stanton writes, “The black hole of forgetting is the negative force that results in future genocides.”
Leading comparative genocide studies expert Israel Charny describes denial as “first the physical deed, followed by the destruction of remembrance of the deed.”
Dr. Charny explains that the harm of denial is profound. It is a renewed attack on the victim group, mocking its suffering. It celebrates the success of the genocide, emphasizing perpetrators’ impunity and victims’ powerlessness even to tell what happened. It is a veiled threat, that deniers in the perpetrator group see nothing wrong with the past genocide and are ready to commit genocide again.
Noted documentary filmmaker Andrew Goldberg has stated: “What happened to the Armenians is one of the most inhumane acts in the history of the human race. The victims of that event and their children have never been acknowledged and affirmed, and it is important that we, as non-Armenians and Armenians, affirm and acknowledge this tragedy, and send a clear message to those attempting to deny this tragedy that we will not allow their position to make progress into this international conversation.”
Reacting to Mr. Foxman’s statement that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide should be left to historians not politicians, Liora Harari, a member of the Needham, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission, said: “I come from a family of Holocaust survivors and I know that for them, the recognition of the Holocaust by the world and the recognition of Germany as being responsible for it was very important for them in the process of healing and moving forward.”
We strongly believe that our communities must reject this delaying tactic and sever ties immediately.
The ADL has refused to call the extermination and expulsion of Armenians from their ancestral lands by its proper name – genocide – for years. Worse, they have actively lobbied for Turkey to defeat formal recognition of this genocide by the United States government.
It is clear that the ADL is playing for time, hoping that the passion currently surrounding this issue fades over the next couple of months. Armenians, however, have been seeking justice for 92 years. We will wait no longer.
The national ADL, under pressure from its New England region, purportedly revised its position on recognizing the Armenian Genocide, yet steadfastly refused to support passage of the Congressional resolution affirming this genocide, calling it “a counterproductive diversion.”
Yet by asking for a delay until November, the ADL appears to be saying that the leadership alone could change the organization’s stance on the genocide, but that the decision to alter the ADL’s position on the Congressional resolution requires the approval of the larger group.
This raises the question of who, exactly, formulated the ADL’s original position of refusing to recognize the genocide and working to defeat passage of the Congressional resolution. Was it a decision solely of the leadership, or was the entire organization involved in setting this policy?
Another reason not to wait until November is that the ADL has demonstrated remarkably bad faith since announcing its “new” attitude on the Armenian Genocide.
First, the ADL’s statement of August 21, 2007 employed language actually designed to contravene the legal definition of genocide as encoded in Article II of the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948. This international agreement defines genocide as acting “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Intent is the key defining term in determining whether genocide has been committed. In its August 21 statement, the ADL announced, “We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities...the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.”
Aside from the reprehensible qualifier “tantamount,” the statement speaks of consequences, not intent. Even Turkey acknowledges that many Armenians died as a consequence of conditions during World War I. Turkey denies, however, a deliberate, intentional policy of genocide. By employing such underhanded language, the ADL is, in reality, continuing to advance Turkish genocide denial because with that wording, the atrocities committed against the Armenians could not be defined as genocide.
Further, there have been numerous reports in the Turkish press that the ADL expressed “sorrow” for the discomfort their statement caused the people of Turkey, and quickly moved to reaffirm their close ties. The Turkish Prime Minister subsequently announced, “the wrong step that has been taken is corrected,” and that the ADL “shared our sensitivity and expressed the mistake they made [and] will continue to give us all the support they have given so far.”
Consequently, Armenian-Americans and others involved in human rights work do not believe that the ADL is sincere in its re-evaluation of the Armenian Genocide. Rather than truly change, they have engaged in verbal semantics and hired a high-priced public relations firm to perform damage control.
Further, waiting two more months to address the Armenian Genocide issue will give the ADL that much more time to work to defeat passage of the Congressional resolution.
The Jewish-American community of New England has been almost uniformly supportive of their Armenian neighbors. Indeed, the New England Regional ADL was largely responsible for the so-called modification of the national ADL’s position. Yet, New England is only one of over 25 ADL regions, and to our knowledge, the only one to take such an ethical stance.
In a worrying development, however, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman has since made comments that he and New England Regional Director Andrew Tarsy now “see eye to eye” on the resolution. Indeed, an August 29 article in the Jewish Daily Forward reported, “this effectively meant Tarsy agreed with the ADL’s opposition to the passage of a congressional resolution.”
There remain, however, voices in the local ADL and No Place for Hate communities who sincerely wish to reform the ADL from within and counsel against severing ties. While that is a laudable goal and we wholeheartedly back their efforts and appreciate their principled support, we do not agree that this is the correct strategy.
First, it is clear that the ADL modified its position only in response to pressure from local communities who withdrew from the No Place for Hate program. If communities do not end their association with the ADL, the ADL will have no motivation to change.
Further, while we applaud those who wish to work within the ADL to transform it, it is an internal matter for the organization. Local municipalities should not be involved in such discussions.
As it now stands, the Anti-Defamation League is actively engaged in genocide denial and in working to prevent Armenian-Americans from seeking justice through a Congressional resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.
No city or town should be associated with such unethical behavior. Anyone who is committed to working for human rights, equality, and justice must support severing ties with the ADL and its auxiliary, No Place for Hate, immediately.
MSNBC: Turkish PM meets representatives of US Jewish community
September 27, 2007
Meeting with representatives of groups including the Conference of Presidents, the Appeal of Conscience, the Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress, and Bnai Brith International in New York late Wednesday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the genocide claims as baseless. The allegations were not supported by any scientific or historical grounding.
Following the meeting, Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said that at times there could be disagreement between friends, referring to the League’s had accepted the events of 1915 as being tantamount to genocide. However, Foxman said that the issue should not be the subject of a resolution of the US Congress. “We believe that a matter between Turkey and Armenia related to history should be tackled between the two parties, not in the US Congress or the parliament of any other country,” he said. “This is not a political matter and those in the Congress are not historians.”
Turkish Daily News: Energy deal with Iran dominates PM's agenda, Erdogan asks for support from the Jewish Lobby
September 28, 2007
Another important meeting that Erdoğan attended on the third day of his NY visit was with the Jewish lobby. More than 20 high-ranking names of the Jewish lobby came to the meeting. Erdoğan asked for the continuation of the Jewish lobby's long time support against the Armenia genocide allegations. Last month, one of the most influential organizations among the Jewish lobby, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) made a statement saying that Turkey's actions against Armenians between 1915 and 1918 "were tantamount to genocide."
Although ADL National Director Abe Foxman issued a statement saying that his words were misunderstood, Turkey still felt threatened by this move of the ADL. Foxman, who was also in meeting, talked to the press afterwards. This time he openly stated, “Neither the French parliament nor the American Congress is the place to discuss Armenian allegations.” Foxman also said that he hopes Armenians can call a commission into being to solve this long-standing problem with Turkey.
Today’s Zaman: Foxman: US Congress can’t debate ‘genocide’
September 28, 2007
"I believe this issue should not be debated at the US Congress or the French National Assembly," Abraham Foxman, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in New York. He also said he hoped Armenians would somehow respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission of academics to investigate what happened in the past.
Foxman said disputes between Turks and Armenians can best be settled between the two countries, not via resolutions passed in parliaments. "US congressmen are not historians. Therefore, they cannot judge what happened in history," he said. Commenting on his meeting with Erdoğan, he said it was very useful and asserted that "friendships are not ruined because of words."
Erdoğan said at the meeting that the Armenian genocide allegations had no basis and that they were not supported by any scientific or historical document, according to a statement released by the Prime Ministry after the meeting. "The prime minister said Turkey expected the Jewish community in the US to continue their support, as it has done to date," the statement said.
Jerusalem Post: Turkish PM: There was no Armenian genocide
September 29, 2007
Speaking with officials from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress and other groups, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the genocide claims were not supported by any scientific or historical documentation. Erdogan also reiterated Turkey's call to Armenia to establish a joint commission to study historical facts, and asked the Jewish representatives to continue to support good relations between Turkey and the US Jewish community, according to a statement released following the meeting.
ADL national director Abraham Foxman reiterated Wednesday that the issue should not be the subject of congressional resolution, according to MSNBC. "We believe that a matter between Turkey and Armenia related to history should be tackled between the two parties, not in the US Congress or the parliament of any other country," he said. "This is not a political matter and those in the Congress are not historians."
"I believe that we should focus on the future, not the past. If the Jewish community, the United States and the Congress are willing to assist, they should bring together Turkey and Armenia for the [sake of the] grandchildren of the two parties," Foxman said.
The Jewish Daily Forward: Armenian Genocide Crisis Tests Tight Ties Between Turkey and Israel, ADL to Ankara ‘Deep Regret’
August 29, 2007
The ADL itself tried to calm tensions by issuing a statement opposing a congressional resolution recognizing that a genocide took place and by sending a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing “deep regret” and the desire to “deepen our friendship.”
Sensoy [Turkey's ambassador to the U.S.] told the Forward that Turkey was “very disappointed” by the ADL’s statement “because it changed the premise of everything we had achieved with the U.S. Jewish community.”
Foxman told the Forward that he has had numerous conversations about the issue in recent days and stressed that the ADL had not changed its position on the congressional resolution. […] “We want to make sure the Turkish government understands that the use of the word ‘genocide’ doesn’t change our position on what Congress needs to do,” Foxman told the Forward. “Some people don’t understand it. Some people understand it, and the Turkish prime minister is among them.”
Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, made clear to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that Ankara expects at least as much from Israel, demanding that Jerusalem “deliver” American Jewish organizations and ensure that Congress does not pass the genocide resolution. “Israel should not let the Jewish community change its position,” Tan reportedly said. “This is our expectation, and this is highly important, highly important.”
Haaretz: Peres to Turks: Our Stance on Armenian Issue Hasn't Changed
August 26, 2007
The Turkish media reported over the weekend that ADL President Abraham Foxman sent Erdogan a letter stating the ADL has "utmost respect for the Turkish people." "We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders in a difficult position. I am writing this letter to you to express our sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey in the past few days," Foxman's letter reportedly read.
Today's Zaman: ADL Corrects ‘Genocide’ Mistake in Letter, Erdoğan Says
August 25, 2007
The US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed regret over debates centered on its recent decision to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in a letter addressing PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Foxman said in his letter that the ADL had huge respect for the Turkish people and has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation, expressing deep regret over what the Turkish people had to go through in the past few days since it agreed to recognize the alleged genocide, reversing a long-held policy, the Anatolia news agency said……"The wrong step that has been taken is corrected," said Erdoğan in subsequent comments to reporters. "They said they shared our sensitivity and expressed the mistake they made. … They said they will continue to give us all the support they have given so far," he added.
Reports in the Turkish media said the move followed a telephone conversation between Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday….Reports said Peres then called ADL National Director Foxman.
"We must encourage steps to create an atmosphere in which Armenia will respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission to assist the parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences [...] The force and passion of the debate today leaves us more convinced than ever that this issue does not belong in a forum such as the United States Congress," the ADL's Thursday statement said, going on to say: "Although independent scholars may have reached a consensus about the genocide, in an effort to help accomplish the reconciliation there is room for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days."
August 27, 2007
The national Anti-Defamation League rehired its New England regional director yesterday, less than two weeks after firing him for publicly breaking with the national leadership and acknowledging the Armenian genocide that began in 1915.
But Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director, said he did not rehire Tarsy to appease critics. What mattered, Foxman said, was that the two men now "see eye to eye."
Tarsy's reinstatement was effective immediately, and both men said they were happy to be moving forward together.
The ADL did, however, rehire its New England regional director, Andrew Tarsy, after firing him for publicly breaking with the national leadership and acknowledging the Armenian genocide. Foxman said he had made the decision after a series of conversations and that this effectively meant Tarsy agreed with the ADL’s opposition to the passage of a congressional resolution.
[In mid-August], the local board called on the national ADL to both acknowledge the genocide and support the congressional resolution, and Tarsy spoke out publicly, saying he strongly disagreed with the national position.
Within hours, Foxman fired Tarsy. But as board members, Jewish leaders, and Armenian-Americans rallied to support Tarsy last week, Foxman reversed course. Last Tuesday, he conceded that the Armenian massacres "were indeed tantamount to genocide."
The Jewish Daily Forward: Armenian Genocide Crisis Tests Tight Ties Between Turkey and Israel, ADL to Ankara: ‘Deep Regret’
August 29, 2007
Foxman told the Forward that he has had numerous conversations about the issue in recent days and stressed that the ADL had not changed its position on the congressional resolution.
The following are unedited excerpts from the American, Israeli and Turkish press.
And the final thing the Turks "get" from Israel is access to the Jewish lobby in Washington. Talk candidly to Turkish academics, politicians and journalists and they will say that one of the reasons Israel is valuable to Turkey is because of the ADL, the American Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and similar organizations. Without a strong lobby of its own in Washington, Turkey looks to these organizations to put in a good word in Congress or with the administration when issues of importance to Ankara - such as issues regarding the Armenians or Cyprus - make their way to those bodies.
Diplomacy: The politics of principles
Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post
August 23, 2007
Turkey expects Israel to "deliver" American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I, Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. ...Tan said he understood that Israel's position had not changed, but "Israel should not let the [US] Jewish community change its position. This is our expectation and this is highly important, highly important."... In the eyes of the Turkish people, Tan said, his country's strategic relationship with Israel was not with Israel alone, but with the whole Jewish world. "They [the Turkish people] cannot make that differentiation," he said. Tan said he understood that the American Jewish organizations were just that - American Jewish organizations. But "we all know how they work in coordinating their efforts [with Israel]," he added. The Turkish people "are waiting for this effort on the part of Israel to straighten out, to put this issue in perspective," he said.
While senior Israeli government officials said Sunday that Israel was trying to explain to Turkey that it did not control the American Jewish organizations, Tan did not accept that argument. "On some issues there is no such thing as 'Israel cannot deliver‚'" he said, adding that this was one of those issues. Tan, who served two terms in Washington in the 1990s and worked closely with American Jewish organizations on this issue, said Israel had proven its ability to deliver the organizations on this matter in the past.
Turkey: 'Israel must get US Jews to back down'
Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post
Aug 27, 2007
Turkey was so alarmed by a proposed House resolution calling the mass slaughter of Armenians by Turks during World War I a "genocide" that it dispatched its foreign minister to persuade American Jewish leaders to lobby against it.
At a suite at the Willard Hotel in Washington on February 5, Abdullah Gül met with representatives of the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Friends of Lubavitch, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and United Jewish Communities. According to one participant in the meeting, the Turkish foreign minister "made a hard sell," against House resolution 106, whose short title is "Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution."
Turkey Up in Arms over House Resolution against Armenian ‘Genocide'
By Eli Lake - The New York Sun
February 22, 2007
The Turkish lobbying has had some effect. B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) are set to convey a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the resolution to U.S. congressional leaders. The ADL and JINSA have added their own statements opposing the bill. "I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. "The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment. "The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress."
U.S. Jews enter debate on Armenian/Turkish history
By Ron Kampeas - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
April 27, 2007
Four large U.S. Jewish groups have lent support to Turkey's position in opposing the passage of two resolutions pending in Congress that call for official recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) have recently conveyed a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the resolution to U.S. congressional leaders, officials from the groups told the Turkish Daily News.
In their letter, leading Turkish Jews have urged congressional leaders to postpone considering the genocide measures. In conveying the letter to Congress officials, the four U.S. Jewish groups tacitly agreed to its contents. Going further, the ADL and JINSA have also added their own statements opposing the bill.
Four Jewish groups back Turkey on Armenian genocide
Turkish Daily News
April 26, 2007
Jewish support for the Armenian grievances has not been unanimous. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who represents a large Armenian constituency and has introduced House Resolution 106 calling for U.S. recognition of the 1915 genocide, has sent letters to four Jewish organizations criticizing their positions. The Jewish legislator admonished the American Jewish Committee (AJ Committee), B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which had jointly transmitted to House leaders a letter from the organized Jewish Community of Turkey.
In his written response, Schiff took the action of the American Jewish organizations as "tantamount to an implicit and inappropriate endorsement of the position of the letter's authors." He added, "I cannot see how major Jewish American organizations can in good conscience and in any way support efforts to deny the undeniable." In a phone interview, Schiff reaffirmed his criticism of the Jewish organizations and surmised that their opposition was influenced by Israel, worried about harming its good relationship with Turkey. "It would be a terrible mistake if the Israeli government became involved in this matter," he said.
The Armenian Genocide Debate Pits Moral Values Against Realpolitik
By Tom Tugend, Jewish Journal
May 4, 2007
Every year on April 24, the day that Armenians commemorate the killings, a resolution calling for the use of the controversial term is proposed in Congress and then beaten back. Some Jewish groups claim credit for ensuring that such a resolution never passes.
Jewish advocacy groups, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, B’nai Brith and American Jewish Committee “have been working with the Turks on this issue” for more than 15 years, said Yola Habif Johnston, director for foundations and community outreach at Jinsa. “The Jewish lobby has quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing,” she said.
Showdown Set in ‘Genocide’ Debate
Rebecca Spence, The Jewish Daily Forward
Sep 02, 2006
On Sunday, in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide - the slaughter of at least 1 million Armenian civilians by the Turkish Ottoman regime - will be memorialized.
What does the State of Israel and many of its American Jewish lobbyists have to say about it, about this first genocide of the 20th century? If they were merely standing silent, that would be an improvement. Instead, on the subject of the Armenian genocide, Israel and some US Jewish organizations, notably the American Jewish Committee, have for many years acted aggressively as silencers. In Israel, attempts to broadcast documentaries about the genocide on state-run television have been aborted. A program to teach the genocide in public schools was watered down to the point that history teachers refused to teach it.
In the US Congress, resolutions to recognize the genocide and the Ottoman Turks' responsibility for it have been snuffed out by Turkey and its right-hand man on this issue, the Israel lobby.
Rattling the Cage: Playing politics with genocide
Larry Derfner – The Jerusalem Post
April 21, 2005
The Jewish community in the U.S. and the Israel issue are also entwined in the pressure campaign preventing approval of the resolution. "The community is certainly a player on this issue," said a key Jewish activist in Washington, who like many others involved in the issue, asked to remain off the record. Representatives of Jewish organizations reported "a sense of discomfort," as one described it, when coming to explain their position on the Armenian resolution; on one hand, the Jews as a community are sensitive to the tragedy experienced by the Armenian people, but on the other hand, there are Israel-Turkey relations to consider. "We have always had a level of uncertainty regarding the balance that should be kept between the moral factors and the strategic interests," one Jewish organization official cautiously explained.
Last year, Jewish organizations, primarily the American Jewish Committee (AJC), have been more active in thwarting the resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide. This year the politicians managed of their own accord and the resolution will be postponed even without the involvement of Jewish organizations. But a central activist in a Jewish organization involved in this matter clarified that if necessary, he would not hesitate to again exert pressure to ensure the resolution is not passed and the Turks remain satisfied. The same activist said he had received numerous requests in the past to work against the Armenian cause in Congress. "The State Department asked us, other people in the administration did, even the Turkish Jewish community asked us to act on this issue," he said. The prevailing opinion among the large Jewish organizations is that "Turkey's relations with the United States and Israel are too important for us to deal with this subject," according to one community activist who was involved in blocking Resolution 193 last year. The more expansive explanation, offered in meetings and discussions, is that "the Armenian genocide is a matter for historians, not for legislators."
The Jewish community's involvement in the issue of the Armenian genocide is affected by the status of Israel-Turkey relations. One senior organizational official related that during the honeymoon years of Turkish-Israeli ties, the Jewish organizations were more enthusiastic about openly helping Turkey thwart previous Armenian-related resolutions in Congress.
Armenian lobbyists are facing a lost cause
Nathan Guttman – Haaretz International
August 12, 2004
October 5, 2007
The Honorable Tom Lantos, Chairman
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member
House Foreign Affairs Committee
US House of Representatives
Dear Chairman Lantos and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen:
We write to you as the leading international organization of scholars who study genocide. We strongly urge you to pass H. Res. 106.
In passing this resolution the US Congress would not be adjudicating history but instead would be affirming the truth about a genocide that has been overwhelmingly established by decades of documentation and scholarship.
Truth of the Scholarly Record
It is disingenuous of the government of Turkey to use the red herring of a “historians’ commission,” half of whose members would be appointed by the Turkish government, to “study” the facts of what occurred in 1915. As we have made clear in our Open Letters to Prime Minister Erdogan (6/13/05 and 6/12/06), the historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous. It is proven by foreign office records of the United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, and perhaps most importantly, of Turkey’s World War I allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, as well as by the records of the Ottoman Courts-Martial of 1918-1920, and by decades of scholarship. A “commission of historians” would only serve the interests of Turkish genocide deniers.
The abundance of scholarly evidence led to the unanimous resolution of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Turkish massacres of over one million Armenians from 1915 to 1918 was a crime of genocide.
America’s Own Record
The Joint Congressional Resolution recognizing and commemorating the Armenian Genocide will honor America’s extraordinary Foreign Service Officers (among them Leslie A. Davis, Jesse B. Jackson, and Oscar Heizer) who often risked their lives rescuing Armenian citizens in 1915. They and others left behind some forty thousand pages of reports, now in the National Archives, that document that what happened to the Armenian people was government-planned, systematic extermination—what Raphael Lemkin (the man who coined the word genocide) used in creating the definition.
By passing this resolution, the U.S. Congress would also pay tribute to America’s first international human rights movement. The Foreign Service Officers and prominent individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, and Cleveland Dodge, who did so much to help the Armenians, exemplify America’s legacy of moral leadership.
The parliaments of many countries have affirmed the fact of the Armenian Genocide in unequivocal terms, yet H. Res. 106, a commemorative, non-binding resolution, has faced opposition from those who fear it would undermine US relations with Turkey. It is worth noting that, notwithstanding France’s Armenian Genocide legislation, France and Turkey are engaged in more bilateral trade than ever before. We would not expect the US government to be intimidated by an unreliable ally with a deeply disturbing human rights record, graphically documented in the State Department’s 2007 International Religious Freedom Report on Turkey. We would expect the United States to express its moral and intellectual views, not to compromise its own principles.
The Armenian Genocide is not a controversial issue outside of Turkey. Just as it would be unethical for Germany to interfere with the historical memory of the Holocaust, we feel it is equally unethical for Turkey to interfere with the memory of the Armenian Genocide. Elie Wiesel has repeatedly called Turkey’s denial a double killing, as it strives to kill the memory of the event. We believe the US government should not be party to efforts to kill the memory of a historical fact as profound and important as the genocide of the Armenians, which Hitler used as an example in his plan to exterminate the Jews.
We also believe that security and historical truth are not in conflict, and it is in the interest of the United States to support the principles of human rights that are at the core of American democracy.
Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
International Association of Genocide Scholars
Steven Leonard Jacobs
University of Alabama
Marc I. Sherman
Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Israel
Jack Nusan Porter, Newton, MA
New York University, USA
Peter Balakian, USA
Colgate University, USA
Ben Kiernan, USA
Yale University, USA
U. of Buenos Aires, Argentina
University of Pittsburgh, USA
Wellesley College, USA
Immediate Past President:
Israel W. Charny
Institute on Holocaust & Genocide, Jerusalem, Israel
December 8, 2005
We are so absorbed in the fast pace of day to day events that we often overlook the fact that many of today's issues have their roots in important developments that predate our short-term memories.
For example, as we speak about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, not everyone realizes that "genocide" is a word that was not coined until 1943 by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish jurist. Turkish propagandists know this well. They point out that what happened to the Armenians could be a massacre or a tragedy, but not genocide, simply because the term genocide did not exist back in 1915. This argument is as ridiculous as saying that Cain could not have murdered Abel because the word murder was not yet invented at that time!
Mr. Lemkin had repeatedly mentioned in his writings that as a young man he was so troubled by the Armenian mass murders and the then on-going Holocaust that he coined the word genocide and worked tirelessly until the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, on Dec. 9, 1948.
A recently discovered half-hour CBS program, first broadcast in 1949, includes a rare TV interview with Lemkin on the UN Convention and the Armenian Genocide. A short segment of that interview was shown last month by documentary filmmaker Andrew Goldberg during a ceremony held in New York City, awarding Peter Balakian the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize for his book, "The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response."
We were able to obtain a copy of that entire TV program which was moderated by CBS's Quincy Howe. He begins the show with a recap of various genocides throughout history. Here is the transcript of his narration on the Armenian Genocide as well as the interview with Lemkin: "Modern man too -- man in the last 100 years -- has been guilty of this crime of group murder. Choosing so-called modern reasons and using modern methods, men of our own time have persecuted and destroyed other men, singling them out because of the group to which they belonged. We all remember some of these instances. Do you also think of them as cases of genocide?"
Over scenes of Ottoman Turkish soldiers on horseback chasing down and killing unarmed Armenian men, women and children, the moderator continues:
"Yes, these folks are not playing games. They are running for their lives. Men on horseback. It doesn't matter much who they are. Let's say they are modern cavalry out on orders of their commanders. They are huntsmen out on the chase. Only, the prey doesn't happen to be a fox. The prey is people. These [showing film footage of a group of Armenians] were the victims.
They are Armenians and the place is in Asia Minor. But that doesn't matter either. They could be anyone, anywhere. Of course, it mattered to them. Nearly 2 million of them were driven from their homes to perish in the desert or die before they got there. Why? Well, the reason given was that they were friendly to the enemy of their rulers; that they were a fifth column; that they were spies. Every one of the 2 million of them...."
Raphael Lemkin then explains to the moderator how his interest in genocide began: "I became interested in genocide because it happened to the Armenians; and after[wards] the Armenians got a very rough deal at the Versailles Conference because their criminals were guilty of genocide and were not punished. You know that they [the Ottoman Turks] were organized in a terroristic organization which took justice into its own hands. The trial of Talaat Pasha in 1921 in Berlin is very instructive. A man (Soghomon Tehlirian), whose mother was killed in the genocide, killed Talaat Pasha.
And he told the court that he did it because his mother came in his sleep ... many times. Here, ...the murder of your mother, you would do something about it! So he committed a crime. So, you see, as a lawyer, I thought that a crime should not be punished by the victims, but should be punished by a court, by a national law."
Cong. Emanuel Celler (D-NY), who was also interviewed in that same CBS program, added: "Pres. Wilson, a great democratic leader, tried to save the Armenian people from genocide during the First World War and shortly thereafter."
This newly discovered tape has great historical value. It defines the Armenian Genocide as a genocide just a few weeks after the adoption of the UN convention on genocide and shows Raphael Lemkin explaining how he was influenced by the tragic events that befell the Armenians in 1915.
Anyone seeing this interview with Lemkin and the accompanying film footage would have no doubt that genocide is the most appropriate term to describe the mass murder of Armenians.
Jewish Voice For Peace
September 27, 2007
Dear Massachusetts Human Rights and Relations Commissions,
We at the Boston chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace are writing to the Massachusetts human rights organizations to applaud those communities that have severed ties with the Anti-Defamation League in the face of their failure to support US recognition of the Armenian genocide. We encourage all the cities and towns to join the debate. We ally with those in the Jewish community who have acted to hold the ADL accountable--asking whether they are primarily a civil rights/human rights organization or as a columnist characterized them in the Jerusalem Post, a “player on Israel's diplomatic field.” ADL leadership has chosen to prioritize Israel’s strategic alliance with Turkey and demean the lifelong Armenian effort to gain US and world recognition by calling it a “counterproductive diversion.” As the controversy over the Armenian genocide has shown, the ADL cannot both sponsor “No Place for Hate” (NPFH) and represent the Israeli government.
We pose this question to all the cities and towns: Given the national ADL’s cavalier attitude toward the suffering of others, does the ADL have the moral authority to represent the meaning of NPFH, that is, can we trust their commitment to the safety and dignity of all of us? Residents in Watertown (and then in Arlington, Newton and Belmont) have answered that question in the negative, severing their ties with NPFH until the national ADL agrees to support the US resolution recognizing the genocide. We hope other communities will do the same.
This controversy has not only put a spotlight on the Armenian genocide and the ADL, but on the diverse Jewish population, where many have voiced their outrage at the ADL’s position. Jewish Voice for Peace is part of that healthy and vibrant debate which has made clear the ADL has neither the moral authority nor the ability to speak for US Jews.
As human rights groups, you understand the need to build alliances and to recognize the humanity of all the residents in your cities and towns. We ask that the Massachusetts Association of Human Rights and Relations Commissions plays an important role in raising these issues in all the communities your members represent.
Dr. Alice Rothchild, Martin R. Federman
Co-chair, Boston Chapter, Co-chair, Boston Chapter,
Jewish Voice for Peace Jewish Voice for Peace
The New York Sun
by Hillel Halkin
August 28, 2007
The latest flap, involving the Anti-Defamation League and its director Abraham Foxman, over Jewish recognition of Turkey's genocidal killing of Armenians during World War I is more pathetic than anything else.
It is sad and shameful that, under pressure from Israeli governments fearful of antagonizing the Turks, Jewish organizations in both Israel and the Diaspora have been so reluctant to acknowledge a historical truth that is well-documented and beyond serious challenge.
As understandable as may be Israel's desire to preserve good relations with Turkey, the only Muslim country with which it has close economic and military ties, its behavior in regard to the Armenian genocide has been craven. For a Jewish state to abet the denial of genocide because it deems this necessary for the defense of Jewish interests is to make a mockery of the campaign against Holocaust denial. Worse yet, it is to make a mockery of Jewish accusations against the world for standing by and doing nothing while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
The Los Angeles Times
May 1, 2007
'Never again' for Armenians too
Several American Jewish groups abandon their anti-genocide zeal when it comes to Turkey's massacre of Armenians.
By Daniel Sokatch and David N. Myers
DANIEL SOKATCH is executive director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.
DAVID N. MYERS teaches Jewish history at UCLA.
…it is troubling that some major Jewish organizations have lined up in support of Turkey's efforts to keep the U.S. Congress from recognizing the Armenian massacres as an act of genocide. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and B'nai B'rith International recently conveyed a letter from the Turkish Jewish community opposing a resolution recognizing the genocide.
The ADL and the JINSA also added their own statements of opposition, suggesting that the massacre of Armenians was a matter for historians, not legislators, to decide.
The American Jewish community has insisted, and rightly so, that the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and other governmental bodies formally commemorate the Holocaust. Why should Jews not insist on the same in this case, especially given the widespread scholarly consensus that what happened to the Armenians from 1915 to 1923 was genocide? After all, the man who coined the term "genocide" to refer to the Holocaust — the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin — cited the Armenian massacres as a precedent.
July 10, 2007
Abraham Foxman Should Be Fired
By Mark Oppenheimer
There are so many reasons to hate Abraham Foxman, the executive director of the once-proud Anti-Defamation League, but surely the best reason has to be his collusion with the Turkish government to perpetuate denial of its genocide against Armenians nearly 100 years ago.
The Israeli government has long been part of this historical fudge, but at least it has the excuse -- however meager -- of Realpolitik: Bush goes boating with Putin, Israel dallies with genocide-denying Turks, China and Somalia do their petro-dance...and so it goes.
But for a non-profit like the ADL, which in fact has done important work to combat not just anti-Semitism but other forms of ethnocentrism and racism, to shill for Holocaust-deniers (yes, the Armenian genocide can fairly be called a Holocaust) is inexcusable. He should be fired.
The Jewish Advocate
August 16, 2007
ADL’s Faustian bargain tactics?
By Andrew G. Bostom
[Abraham Foxman’s] contention of neutrality on the Armenian genocide is both morally-challenged and patently false: The ADL is actively lobbying against the Armenian genocide recognition legislation in the both Houses of Congress (HR and SR 106). Foxman submitted letters against the resolutions to Congress from Turkey’s vestigial Jewish community, adding ADL’s own letter opposing the bill.
Since 1950, the Turkish press and Islamic literature have steadily increased their output of theological Islamic anti-Semitism – based on anti-Jewish motifs in the core Islamic texts. As elsewhere in the Islamic world, this melded into anti-Zionist invective against Israel.
Today, the most expensive film ever made in Turkey, “Valley of the Wolves,” features a Jewish doctor dismembering Iraqi war dead and harvesting their organs for Jewish markets. Prime Minister Erdogan justified its production and wild popularity. While president of an Islamic fundamentalist youth organization in 1974, Erdogan wrote, directed, and starred in a play focused on the evil nature of Judaism.
Yet ADL ignores the plight of Turkish Jews, defends Erdogan, and apparently believes his “moderate Islamic” regime remains an ally of Israel. Is this silence on Turkish anti-Semitism and immoral denial of the Armenian genocide a Faustian bargain for Turkey’s dubious “support” of Israel?
As a Jew, I find ADL’s efforts to deny recognition of the Armenian genocide morally repugnant, ignorant and particularly inappropriate for an organization geared to reducing – as opposed to abetting and fomenting – anti-Semitism and other forms of irrational hatred.
Andrew G. Bostom is the author of “The Legacy of Jihad” and the forthcoming “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism” (2007).
The Jewish Advocate
August 31, 2007
Jewish Witness to Genocide
By Charles Jacobs
There is legislation in Congress to declare the truth about this genocide. I’ve heard the argument that an American declaration would be counterproductive because the point is to quietly encourage Turkey to come to terms with her past – on her own.
That would be good, but it is surely not the point. The point is – for the victims, for their families and for history – to say the truth.
Jews cannot be therapists here. But we can be Jews. And the Jews of America, especially now, need to do what Henry Morgenthau and Absolom Feinberg knew to do.
We need to reverse our missteps, to lobby Congress, and to strike a blow against Armenian genocide denial. The bill is HR/SR 106.
Charles Jacobs is president of The David Project Center for Jewish Leadership.
The Jewish Journal
August 31, 2007
ADL's decision doesn't go far enough
By David N. Myers
Unfortunately, [the ADL’s August 21 statement] does not go far enough in rectifying the ADL's mystifying policy on this question. For while acknowledging that the massacres were a genocide, the ADL and its national director, Abraham Foxman, continue to refuse to support the congressional resolution (HR 106) that officially recognizes the Armenian genocide.
Yes, Turkey is Israel's best friend in the Muslim world. But apart from the improbability of that country severing its relations with either Israel or the United States, we must ask whether supporting those who falsify and distort the historical record is ever in our or their interests.
Moreover, do not Jews, of all people, have a special responsibility to raise their voices at the sight or prospect of genocide? The answer, as groups such as Jewish World Watch make patently clear, is that we can never abdicate our responsibility to act against ethnic cleansing or genocide, whether committed by friend or foe.
Foxman should follow the logic of his own statement and take the essential next step of supporting HR 106. ……In parallel, our local Anti-Defamation League board should either announce its support for HR 106 --if not here in the heart of the Armenian diaspora, then where? -- or renounce the organization's declared mission "to secure justice and fair treatment to all."
David N. Myers teaches Jewish history at UCLA.
Statements by Dr. Jack Nusan Porter
Treasurer, International Association of Genocide Scholars,
Director, the Spencer Institute for Social Research,
Author The Genocidal Mind (2006).
The Armenian Weekly
September 1, 2007
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) cites the security of the Jewish community in Turkey and Israel's alliance with Turkey for why it has failed to unambiguously recognize the Armenian genocide and support its recognition by the U.S. Congress. Treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Prof. Jack Nusan Porter believes the well being of the Jews in Turkey is not at stake.
”This is really just blackmail,” said Porter, author of `The Genocidal Mind' and `Facing History and Holocaust' in an interview with the Armenian Weekly. “Turkey would never touch the Jewish community. It would never be accepted in the European Union if it touched any Jew in Turkey.
The real question is: Why does this blackmail work? Why do people believe it? In February of this year, Turkish officials met with Jewish groups here in America and put out the word. Most of the Jewish leaders disagreed, but some of them ‘like the ADL leader [Abraham Foxman]' didn't,” he added.
Porter underscored the importance of `educating' Israel in these issues. “We, American Jews, have to educate Israel. It's just the opposite of what it was historically. The Israelis had to teach us how
to be Jewish. Now, we are going to have to teach them how to be a good Jew: Take care of all people, not only yourself.”
Letter to Abraham Foxman
September 11, 2007
Dear Abe: I am sure you have been inundated by email. You face the biggest challenge of your career, one, I fear that you will not survive. Either you move quickly too support HR/SR 106 or the ADL will be rent apart. I enclose an article that shows that Israel and the Turkish Jewish Community will not suffer because then Turkey will never be able to enter the EU. They have used these arguments for years and neither has suffered. The Turkish government has used these arguments as political blackmail for years and they simply are just that –red herrings.
You should hear the eloquent statements at local human rights commission hearings here in Boston area from Armenians. --- The ADL will not win this! Furthermore, what angers many of us as Jews is that you have publicly over the decades not supported HR or SR 106 type resolutions yet gave the impression at the local level that the ADL did. Thus, it came as a complete surprise, that the ADL, one of the great civil and ethnic/racial rights organizations in the country, has opposed the Armenians for years and never told anyone.
This will surely rend the ADL apart if you do not resign and the ADL (and the AJC) do not change course and support HR/SR 106.
I am sending a copy of this to Elie so that he too will change course and support publicly and unequivocally SR/HR 106.
Jack Nusan Porter,
Treasurer, International Association of Genocide Scholars
Director, the Spencer Institute for Social Research
79 Walnut Street Unit 4
Newtonville, MA. 02460-1330
August 25, 2007
The Politics of Hypocrisy
By Evan R. Goldstein
Foxman has particularly distinguished himself by indulging in spineless acts of rhetorical ambiguity, declaring that "this is not an issue where we take a position one way or the other. This is an issue that needs to be resolved by the parties, not by us. We are neither historians nor arbiters." This from a man who rightfully claims that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial amounts to an attempt to destroy Jewish identity! This from the leader of an organization that has rightfully called on the world not to avert its eyes from the genocide underway in Sudan's Darfur region! (One wonders what Foxman would do if Khartoum were on friendly terms with Jerusalem.)
But the outrage only grew, and Foxman ultimately decided out of "concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians." And upon "reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide." This statement, which the ADL released on Tuesday, is stunning on account of its total lack of integrity.
First, note the disingenuous way Foxman lays the groundwork for his disgracefully belated admission of the obvious, by attributing his reversal to the risk of disunity within the Jewish community. What does the unity or disunity of the Jewish people have to do with distinguishing between historical fact and malicious fabrication?
Second, note how Foxman completely fails to grasp the fundamental significance of Morgenthau's legacy (which he was nonetheless clearly intent on co-opting). Serving as America's ambassador in Istanbul at the time of the genocide, Morgenthau alerted his superiors in Washington that the ongoing persecution of Armenians was "assuming unprecedented proportions," ultimately characterizing Turkish aggression as an "effort to exterminate a whole race." (The word "genocide" was not coined until 1944.) And although the American response to Morgenthau's cables was dreadfully feeble, his actions testify to the ethical imperative of bearing witness and acknowledging inconvenient truths. In contrast, Foxman's statement of contrition diminishes the importance of the truth.
Third, note the weasel words "consequences" and "tantamount" - why not just say it was genocide? Long notorious for running the ADL like a personal fiefdom, Foxman has always resisted calls to plan for his eventual departure. In response to a 2003 effort by regional lay leaders to force Foxman's hand on this matter, he blithely told the Forward that when "I'm ready to retire or do something else, I will notify my lay leadership." As someone who believes in the enduring value of the ADL's work on behalf of a more tolerant and pluralistic America, I hope Foxman realizes the time has come.
Evan R. Goldstein is a writer in Washington, D.C. and a contributing editor at Moment magazine.
Lexington, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen Meeting
October 15, 2007
“It may be politically expedient to deny the Armenian genocide but it's morally wrong.
As the daughter of Czech Jews whose families were murdered during the Holocaust, [I understand] not only the facts of destruction of life, culture and community, but the long-term psychological ramifications of genocide and the healing power of validation.
. . . ‘It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator,’ writes Judith Lewis Herman. The perpetrator asks nothing of us but to be silent. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement and remembering.
The head of the ADL has chosen not to do this. As a Jew who understands what this means, [I urge] that No Place for Hate sever ties with the ADL.”
Helen Epstein is the author of “Children of the Holocaust”
September 1, 2007
Genocide and Holocaust Scholars Criticize ADL
By Khatchig Mouradian
Several genocide and Holocaust experts expressed outrage over the idea of convening with Turkish state historians who have made a career out of denying and trivializing the Armenian genocide. When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the idea of a `joint commission' a few years ago, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) sent an open letter to Erdogan saying, `We are concerned that in calling for an impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide. We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars.'
Genocide and Holocaust scholars in the U.S. and Europe, contacted by the Armenian Weekly today, harshly criticized the ADL's statement as well as its hypocritical approach to the Armenian genocide in general.
`ADL is getting into the issue a bit late to be of any substance,' said Dr. Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. `Furthermore, by
Foxman saying there was a need to protect the Turkish-Jewish community, the question is, protect from what if they have lived as a loyal minority for 500 years? This suggests that the ADL is missing
the point and cannot be part of the discourse,' he added.
`A commission now would be a disaster. The Turkish state must make clear that they have a very strong intention to resolve this issue. The rhetoric of the Turkish authorities is not conducive of a
solution. As long as people like Yusuf Halacoglu's very radical, nationalist, even racist historian' Gunduz Aktan and Sukru Elekdag give the tone for the policy of Turkish government, I don't think that you can reach any result from a commission,' said Turkish-born historian and sociologist Taner Akcam, author of A Shameful Act: The Armenian genocide and the Question of Turkish responsibility. `For them the commission would be the continuation of the war they are waging
against the Armenians, whom they consider as the enemy,' he added.
`We don't need a historical commission. We need historians to have completely free and open access to the archives in Turkey so scholars and anyone else can research, write and talk about this history without fear of intimidation,' said Professor Eric Weitz, author of A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation. `That is the key issue: free and open debate without intimidation from the state and from anti-democratic organizations that are allowed to operate with the tacit support of the state.'
`Furthermore, not the regional ADL leader [Andy Tarsy] but Abraham Foxman should be fired,' Weitz added. `He should have been fired a long time ago for many other statements and comments in addition to his long-standing refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide.'
`I'm entirely in agreement with Eric Weitz on the access [to archives] and free debate,' said Dr. Donald Bloxham of the University of Edinburgh who was recently awarded the 2007 Raphael Lemkin prize for his book The Great game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.
`And I reject the silly commission idea,' Bloxham added.
In a recent statement, New England Regional ADL Director Andrew Tarsy and Chair James Rudolph accused “some” Armenian-Americans of spreading “misinformation” and “attacking” the No Place for Hate program. Not only do they fail to provide a single example of alleged misinformation, but their charges are simply incorrect.
While advocating communities sever ties with ADL, due to its refusal to acknowledge unambiguously the Armenian Genocide and its active opposition to a Congressional resolution affirming this genocide, Armenian-Americans have never “attacked” NPFH. In reality, Armenian-Americans, Jewish-Americans and others have consistently praised the invaluable anti-hate and diversity work performed by local committees.
What has been said, however, is that by engaging in genocide denial, the ADL does not have the moral authority to sponsor such important programs in our communities.
Contrary to the ADL’s assertion that it “confronted the moral issue and did the right thing” by using the word genocide, the ADL actually announced, “We have . . . always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view . . . that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.” This is not an honest acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide.
First, ADL does not say “genocide,” but “tantamount to genocide,” or merely its equivalent. More important, ADL describes the “consequences” of Turkish actions. The international legal definition of genocide, however, rests upon “intent.” The 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention states, “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group . . . ”
Certainly, an organization whose mission includes combating Holocaust denial understands the international legal definition of genocide. Their carefully worded, duplicitous statement ensures the Armenian Genocide does not fit the criteria. Clearly, ADL did not do “the right thing.”
The ADL also neglects to mention that after recently conferring in late September with Turkey’s prime minister, ADL’s national director said he hoped Armenians would “respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission of academics to investigate what happened in the past.”
This is genocide denial in its most insidious form. According to ADL’s own web page: “On the surface, Holocaust deniers portray themselves as individuals and groups engaged in a legitimate, dispassionate quest for historical knowledge and ‘truth’ . . . Holocaust deniers seek to plant seeds of questioning and doubt about the Holocaust in their mass audiences.”
The authors next accuse Armenians of “an organized campaign” that is issuing “ultimatums” for “a political demand that ADL support a particular resolution before Congress.”
This is not, however, a political demand, but a moral imperative. ADL did not consider it “political” when it supported Congressional resolutions on the Holocaust, the genocide in Darfur, and recently, the UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Holocaust denial by Iran. Rather, it is ADL that has politicized this issue by lobbying against Armenian Genocide resolutions for over a decade.
Additionally, this is not an “organized campaign” by “some activists,” to harm NPFH, but a natural, grassroots reaction of outrage by all segments of the Armenian community, as well as the Jewish and human rights communities, against ADL’s continuing to abet Turkey’s campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide and silence Congressional discussion of it. It is not Armenians forcing NPFH to disassociate from ADL, but human rights activists and politicians voting their conscience.
Rather than “blaming the victim,” for what is happening to NPFH programs, the ADL should reverse its immoral positions if it is truly concerned with NPFH’s future.
Finally, the ADL states it is “unreasonable,” “wrong,” and “harmful for communities to turn their backs on a program that has made such a difference for residents.” Yet none of the programs in towns that have severed ties have ceased; in fact, they are stronger without the baggage of ADL divisiveness.
In August, the NE Regional ADL leadership took a courageous stand against the national ADL’s policy of genocide denial. We look to them to continue their principled stance against national ADL’s disingenuous statement on the Armenian Genocide and its lobbying for the Turkish government. We also ask that they meet with the New England Armenian community without delay so that any misunderstandings or misapprehensions may be resolved.
It is unfortunate the ADL has chosen to stand not with committed citizens and human rights activists in our communities, but in opposition to their efforts. If the ADL sincerely wishes to engage in “the hard work of fighting hate and promoting diversity,” it should begin by forthrightly acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and working to support, rather than oppose, Congressional affirmation.
Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts, Chair
Armenian Assembly Massachusetts State Chair
October 6, 2007