Statements by human rights advocates & town officials supporting recognition of the Armenian Genocide & criticizing ADL's opposition to it

“We find the ADL’s position unacceptable...By not fully recognizing the slaughter of the Armenian people as genocide, and by not working to influence all nations of the world to set the historical record straight, the ADL is ignoring a clear moral imperative.”

Will Twombly
Co-chair, Watertown, Massachusetts No Place for Hate Committee
August 14, 2007

“Whenever I saw the word Armenian [in the ADL’s August 21 statement on the Armenian Genocide], in my mind I substituted the word Jewish. And whenever I saw the word genocide, I substituted the word Holocaust. And I said, would I be satisfied if this were the response of my leaders? And the answer was no!

[We] want to see justice for the Armenian people, [we] want to see a full and complete recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the ADL and the ADL becoming one of the active supporters of legislation to have the U.S. recognize the historic fact of the Armenian Genocide. We are all prepared to go as far as we need to make sure that those things are realized.”

Newton, Massachusetts Mayor David B. Cohen
August 21, 2007

“The Newton Human Rights Commission agreed that the following must happen:
• National ADL must follow ADL New England, and fully and unequivocally recognize the Armenian Genocide
• National ADL must actively support Congressional resolution HR106
• National ADL must immediately reinstate Andrew Tarsy as Director of ADL New England

While the NPFH program parallels the ideals and values of our community, and while we have been involved from the beginning, we shall reassess our participation with ADL and this program based on what actions, or lack of actions, are taken by the national ADL.”

Newton, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
Excerpts from letter to the ADL
August 21, 2007

“The members of Newburyport’s Commission for Diversity and Tolerance are distraught and dismayed by Mr. Foxman’s and the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) stance on the Armenian Genocide. Not only has the ADL failed to support the Armenian people by advocating for congressional recognition with HR 106, but also, in fact, it has lobbied against the legislation.

We find that the ADL’s logic that led to the statement that a “Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion … and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States” fatally flawed, and contrary to the spirit of ‘Never Again.’”

Newburyport, Massachusetts Commission for Diversity and Tolerance
Excerpts from open letter to the ADL and Abraham Foxman
August 31, 2007

“Many people who partnered with the ADL . . . including many people in the Jewish community itself, have been profoundly disturbed to discover two things: a placement of politics above principle; a reality of genocide denial. I think the organization has to answer to these two very pointed questions. I am disappointed.”

Rev. John Buehrens
Needham, Massachusetts Human Rights Commissioner
September 5, 2007

“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.”

Liora Harari
Needham, Massachusetts Human Rights Commissioner
September 5, 2007

“ADL and the No Place for Hate® program emphasize that the “tip of the pyramid of hatred” is genocide. How can we, in good faith, ask our community to work at the base of this same pyramid while the No Place for Hate® sponsor is actively working against congressional, international recognition of the Armenian genocide?”

Belmont, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
Excerpt from letter to ADL
September 6, 2007

“Hearing the voices of the Armenian community and my own Jewish conscience, I cannot say that we are able to be in the same boat with [the ADL]. To associate a human rights campaign with one that is so awry is the problem, and I feel that would damage what we’re trying to do too much.”

David Fisher
Student Advisory Council, Newton, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
September 11, 2007

“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."

Newton, Massachusetts Mayor David B. Cohen
September 11, 2007

“The MMA has issued a strong and unequivocal statement on the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide and supporting passage of the Congressional Resolution. We applaud the Executive Committee of the New England Region of the ADL for taking this position, and the MMA has called on the national ADL organization to do the same. We will continue to review and monitor this matter, recognizing that while progress has been made, we will subsequently re-evaluate our official sponsorship of NPFH after the national ADL determines whether to adopt this position.”

Board of Directors, Massachusetts Municipal Association
Letter to Massachusetts Town Officials
September 12, 2007

“We, like you in your mission statement, believe it is our responsibility "to secure justice and fair treatment for all." We are surprised and disappointed therefore that the national board of the ADL has not stood with the Armenians as they seek justice and fair treatment.

The national board's unwillingness to fully support recognition of the Armenian genocide is in our view undermining the excellent work of our regional ADL board and our community efforts to be "No Place for Hate."

We strongly support the positions of the New England regional ADL board and therefore call on the national board of the ADL to:
•acknowledge the Armenian genocide as a genocide, not “tantamount to genocide;”
•support the resolution before Congress which officially recognizes the Armenian genocide;
•make these policy changes promptly.

In our opinion, the longer the national board waits, the more credibility the organization loses, and the more difficult it is for us as a committee for human rights to carry on our work in partnership with the ADL.”

Needham, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
Excerpts from letter to ADL
September 12, 2007

“It was impossible to continue our committee’s work, and to regain our credibility in the community, while affiliated with the ADL under these circumstances . . . We cannot fully believe the sincerity of the ADL’s stated goals – to work for the fair and equal treatment of all – until you have completely and wholeheartedly supported the Armenian people in their quest to have their history acknowledged by all nations of the world.”

Will Twombly and Sargeant David Sampson
Former co-chairs of Watertown’s No Place for Hate
Letter to ADL
September 27, 2007

“Many Jews were outraged by the hypocrisy of ADL for choosing to place political expediency above their commitment to human justice, knowing that if any group played that game with the Holocaust, the ADL would be the first to call them for what they were, genocide deniers.”

Cambridge, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
Excerpt from letter to Lexington, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen
October 2007

“WHEREAS the national Anti-Defamation League has failed to recognize unambiguously the Armenian Genocide and has opposed efforts in Congress to do so;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the full recognition and honest discussion of past atrocities – such as the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust – are requisite to understanding and responding to contemporary genocidal crimes against humanity – such as the atrocities in Darfur -- and that legislative measures such as H. Res. 106 constitute an important part of this process.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Arlington Human Rights Commission [supports] the decision to suspend Arlington's involvement in the No Place for Hate® program.”

Arlington, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
Excerpts from Arlington HRC Resolution Rescinding Endorsement of ADL
October 15, 2007

“As commissioners, we appreciate the difficulty of living with a genocide and how much harder it is living with denial.”

David Harris
Chair, Medford, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
October 2007

“At its October 15, 2007 meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to rescind its endorsement of the Town’s formal relationship with the ADL’s No Place for Hate Program . . . We have several concerns, but the most important is the failure of the National ADL to quickly resolve the debate surrounding the recognition of the Armenian genocide.”

Lexington, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen
Letter to the ADL
October 17, 2007

“The town of Westwood has concluded that our ability to carry out the founding principles of the No Place for Hate program is seriously compromised by the ADL’s position on the Armenian genocide and the House and Senate resolution.”

Westwood, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen
Excerpt from Letter to the ADL
October 2007

“While we may sympathize with the complexities of current international relations, we cannot in conscience continue a relationship with an organization that claims to stand for full accountability for genocide, yet stops short of endorsing a Congressional resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide. We cannot endorse selective recognition of hate by an organization that claims leadership in creating a world where there is no place for hate.

This is an issue of direct relevance to citizens of our city and region who include survivors of the genocide as well as descendents of Armenian victims. Acknowledging the truth about the Armenian genocide not only has an impact on survivors and their families, it also has an impact on our ability to address other acts of hate.”

Northampton, Massachusetts Human Rights Commission
Excerpt from letter to ADL’s Abraham Foxman
September 28, 2007

WHEREAS, the Northampton Human Rights Commission has investigated the situation whereby the Anti Defamation League® continues to deny the facts of the horrific Armenian Genocide. From 1915 to 1923 the premeditated, systematic and deliberate murders of more that one and one half million Armenians occurred; and

WHEREAS, the Armenian people continue to be deprived of the right to their history through the denial that this genocide ever took place; and

WHEREAS, The City of Northampton must not continue its affiliation with such an organization as ADL that promotes such a grievous denial.


That the City of Northampton hereby rescinds its partnership in the "No Place for Hate" Campaign co-sponsored by the Anti Defamation League®.

“Upon the recommendation of Mayor Mary Clare Higgins”
Excerpts from Northampton, MA resolution withdrawing from ADL program
October 4, 2007

Clearly we were hoping for a different response from the National ADL [following their November 2 meeting]. We believe that their position on this issue is in conflict with the basic values of the ADL’s own mission statement which reads…”Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike”… After due and thoughtful consideration, the Violence Prevention Coalition now recommends that Bedford suspend its participation in the ADL program. We believe that the ADL’s position has undermined its own program. We believe that organizations and communities cannot pick and choose when to be “No Place for Hate” and when not to be. We see this as an opportunity to demonstrate a non-violent response to an action that we find in conflict with our values.

Bedford, Massachusetts Violence Prevention Coalition (VPC)
Excerpt from letter to Bedford Selectmen regarding Bedford’s Participation in “No Place For Hate” program
November 14, 2007

Taking up the recommendation of the Human Rights Committee, the [Needham, MA] Board of Selectmen decided Dec. 4 to suspend the town’s participation in the Anti-Defamation League co-sponsored No Place for Hate program, citing the organization’s refusal to unequivocally recognize the Armenian Genocide.
“That is denial from my point of view,” said Selectman Jack Cogswell. “It doesn’t comply with my concept of No Place for Hate.”
“It’s heartbreaking we have to do this,” Wasserman said, citing it was a “moral decision” for him. “This is an organization that has lost sight of its mission. I have great hopes they correct that mistake. I hope we can have similar programs until such time.”

Excerpts from Needham Times article
December 6, 2007

WHEREAS: The national ADL held a meeting on November 2, 2007 and officially voted to take no further action on recognizing the Armenian genocide; and,

WHEREAS: The Town of Watertown and other cities and towns have withdrawn their support for the No Place for Hate program; and,

WHEREAS: The MMA Board had previously voted to reevaluate its official sponsorship of the No Place for Hate program after the national ADL determined whether to recognize unequivocally the Armenian genocide and support the congressional resolution;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Town Council of the City known as the Town of Watertown urges the MMA immediately withdraw is sponsorship of the No Place for Hate program and notify all cities and towns of its withdrawal.

Excerpts from Watertown, MA resolution urging the Massachusetts Municipal Association to withdraw sponsorship of ADL program
December 11, 2007

The MMA Board of Directors expresses its strong disapproval that the National ADL did not use the opportunity of its November meeting to clarify and strengthen its earlier statements concerning recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The Board believes that unequivocal recognition of the Armenian Genocide is both a matter of basic justice to its victims as well as essential to efforts to prevent future genocides.

The inconsistency between the National ADL’s position on the Armenian Genocide and the human rights principles underlying NPFH is a matter of great concern to MMA Board members and the municipalities they represent. The MMA feels strongly that it is imperative to speak with absolute clarity on genocide and that, due to the NPFH program’s association with the National ADL, the Association will no longer be a sponsor of the program.

Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)
Excerpt from MMA Statement Ending Sponsorship of ADL Program
April 8, 2008

As Mayor of Somerville, as a parent and as a person, I believe that ensuring the basic human rights of all people is essential. We must promote tolerance and understanding in our communities every day. That is why today, when we commemorate the Armenian Genocide, I am announcing that the City of Somerville is taking the steps to officially rescind our support of the No Place for Hate program.

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts
Excerpt from letter rescinding support of ADL Program
April 24, 2008