May 13, 2016

After a lengthy, unwavering grassroots campaign, No Place for Denial is pleased to announce that the Anti-Defamation League has at last unequivocally recognized the Armenian Genocide and declared its support for United States affirmation of this crime against humanity.

In a statement posted Friday, May 13, 2016, on the national ADL’s webpage, CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt, wrote, “Too often, the response to genocide has been global silence.  So let me be crystal clear:  the first genocide of the 20th century is no different.  What happened in the Ottoman Empire to the Armenians beginning in 1915 was genocide.  The genocide began with the ruling government arresting and executing several hundred Armenian intellectuals.  After that, Armenian families were removed from their homes and sent on death marches.  The Armenian people were subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre and starvation.  What happened to the Armenian people was unequivocally genocide.”

Greenblatt, who replaced Abraham Foxman as national director, also stated, “That is why I am speaking out today and why we would support U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.  Silence is not an option.”

Greenblatt pledged to fight denial by promising, “When individuals or groups deny the Armenian genocide, as recently took place with a billboard in Boston, ADL will speak out and denounce that denial.  In that spirit, I am optimistic about greater cooperation going forward to end all forms of hate and bigotry.”

This is the first time that the national ADL has issued an official, unambiguous written statement acknowledging that the 1915 massacres of Armenians constituted genocide.  It also represents a complete reversal of the organization’s decades-long opposition to United States recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

We hope that the ADL will now play an active role in combating Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and in achieving formal U.S. recognition through a Congressional resolution.

Armenians are grateful for the many allies in the Jewish and human rights communities who steadfastly worked with us over the past nine years to achieve this change in ADL policy.

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Municipalities that believe in universal human rights must sever ties with the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate program because the ADL

  • Refuses to acknowledge unambiguously the Armenian Genocide
  • Engages in genocide denial by echoing Turkish calls for a “historians commission”
  • Lobbies against U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has for years engaged in genocide denial by refusing to acknowledge that the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish government beginning in 1915 constitute genocide. Rather, the ADL has steadfastly allied itself with the denialist government of Turkey by calling for a historians’ commission to study the issue and by actively lobbying to prevent passage of a United States Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

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The ADL’s long-awaited recognition of the Armenian Genocide on May 13, 2016 has been widely reported both here and abroad.  Following are excerpts from a sampling of articles.

Speaking to the Armenian Weekly, Dikran Kaligian, a board member of the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region and Massachusetts chair, said, “Coming from the national director of the ADL, who succeeded Abe Foxman, the statement helps erase the stain on the reputation of the ADL caused by Foxman’s denialist statements and lobbying against genocide resolutions;” he added that the ADL should now advocate for justice for the Armenian Genocide, including the return of confiscated properties.

The support provided by members of the Jewish community who were disturbed by the ADL’s actions was acknowledged by No Place for Denial activist Laura Boghosian:  “Notably, the rabbis and members of Lexington’s Temple Isaiah and Boston’s Temple Israel joined with us to create the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide, whose goals were to reverse ADL policy, educate the Jewish community about the Armenian Genocide, and pursue U.S. affirmation of the genocide.”  Boghosian, who co-founded the coalition, added, “Nine years later, we are still working together and proving that grassroots activism does make a difference.”

Addressing the ADL’s May 13 statement, Armenian Assembly of America co-chair Anthony Barsamian told the Armenian Mirror-Spectator that, “We are pleased that they have come to fully and unequivocally recognize the genocide and support the recognition of the genocide.”  Barsamian praised ADL New England Regional Director Robert Trestan for his participation in local activities commemorating the Armenian Genocide such as the mass held in April at the Boston Holy Cross Cathedral that was organized by the Catholic Church’s archdiocese.  He also credited the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide which he said “worked for nine years.”   

New England ADL’s Trestan stated, “We have been working with the Boston Armenian community for many, many months.  This is the culmination of a lot of discussions and a lot of dialogue . . . There is also concession at the national level that this is the right thing to do.”  He concluded by saying, “I am hopeful for the future.  I am very proud of what has been accomplished here.  I am grateful for the support of the Armenian community and the willingness to work together.  Ideally we look forward to doing some joint programming and to work on some educational initiatives jointly.” 

Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region board member and Massachusetts chair Dikran Kaligian also noted the efforts of Robert Trestan, as well as the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis which issued a powerful statement last year in support of Armenian Genocide recognition.  Kaligian said that the national ADL’s May 13 statement “was a long time coming.”  He said that it was what “activists had asked for, which was the unequivocal acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide and support for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” adding that he was pleased that the ADL “statement goes on to say that they will oppose denial of the genocide.”  The Mirror-Spectator article reports that Kaligian hopes the ADL will “join the diverse coalition working together in Washington in support of two resolutions in Congress, one in support of the Armenian Genocide recognition (House Resolution 154), and the second return of church properties in Turkey (House Resolution 4347).”    

No Place for Denial activist and Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide co-founder Laura Boghosian recounted, “When Boston-area Armenians united to protest the ADL’s genocide denial, human rights advocates and members of the Jewish community stood with us.  Through the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide, the rabbis and members of Lexington’s Temple Isaiah and Boston’s Temple Israel worked with Armenians to educate the Jewish community about the Armenian Genocide and to advocate for U.S. recognition, as well as press the ADL to reverse its denialist policies.  The ADL’s announcement this week of unequivocal recognition and support for U.S. affirmation demonstrates well the power of sustained activism.”        
The Boston Globe quoted Armenian Assembly of America co-chairman Anthony Barsamian as hoping the ADL would back a Congressional resolution that “calls on President Obama to work for ‘Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgement of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity.”

Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America said the ADL statement “is new in that it’s very explicit in breaking with [the Turkish government’s] denials.”

While current ADL New England regional director Robert Trestan told the Globe that the ADL statement was the “most unequivocal statement that we’ve ever issued,” former regional director Andrew Tarsy said that the ADL “ought to lead the conversation about reparations for these families.  The recovery of assets, land, money, items, family heirlooms.  Everything that Holocaust reparations . . . has represented should be on the table.”
A story distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and printed by papers such as Haaretz and the Jeruslaem Post called the ADL statement “the group’s strongest position on the subject,” and noted that ADL support for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide is “a move the group resisted for many years,” due to “concerns for the Turkish Jewish community and relationship among Turkey, Israel and the U.S.”

JTA also reported that the ADL’s refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the massacre of Armenians was reversed “after an internal debate went public and a grassroots campaign by Armenian American activists targeted the ADL in Boston and other cities and towns with large Armenian populations.”
Writing for +972, Dahlia Scheindlin states that the ADL’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide perhaps represents “seismic shifts in the relationship between diaspora Jewry and Israeli society” because “the move breaks with Israeli policy.”  The ADL under Abraham Foxman, she says, mirrored Israel’s resistance to the term “genocide” due to political and economic interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan.  New national director Jonathan Greenblatt, however, “set an example that Jewish leadership for him means choosing a clear and decisive path that is the reverse of Israel’s position.”
Thanking the ADL for recognizing that “the Armenian genocide was, in fact, a genocide,” Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin writes for Religion News Service that Jews should be talking about the Armenian Genocide “because it was a Polish Jewish lawyer and activist, Raphael Lemkin, who first used the term ‘genocide’ to describe the Armenian catastrophe,” and “because when we look at the Armenians, we are looking in the mirror.”  The rabbi also notes that the Armenian Genocide “was to become a model for the Nazis’ program.”
According to The Turkish Sun, the ADL’s statement recognizing the Armenian Genocide “makes a departure from the ADL’s normal compliance with the Israeli government—Noam Chomsky once accused them of ‘having lost entirely its focus on civil rights issues in order to become solely an advocate for Israeli policy.’   Israel have [sic] resisted formal acknowledgment of the term ‘genocide’ for the Armenian massacre due to political and economic interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan.” 
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) released a statement in which he said that he has long urged the ADL to recognize the Armenian Genocide and is “grateful to see the organization come out so strongly for recognition . . . advocating for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and speaking out against those who would deny it, is in keeping with the ADL’s legacy.”  “The ADL,” he continued, “articulates a principle that I have found powerful in my years of working towards genocide recognition, which is that we cannot pick and choose which genocides we will acknowledge because of politics or convenience.  If we hope to live in a world free from the crime of genocide, if the words ‘never again’ are to have meaning, we must be prepared to speak the truth even when it’s difficult.  The ADL’s statement is an important step towards securing the unequivocal recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States.”
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Friday, 05/13/16
After a lengthy, unwavering grassroots campaign, the Anti-Defamation League has at last unequivocally recognized the Armenian Genocide and declared its support for United States affirmation of this crime against humanity. In a statement posted Friday, May 13, 2016, on the national ADL’s webpage, CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt, wrote, “Too often, the response to genocide has been global silence.  So let me be crystal clear:  the first genocide of the 20th century is no different.  What happened in the Ottoman Empire to the Armenians beginning in 1915 was genocide.  The genocide began with the ruling government arresting and executing several hundred Armenian intellectuals.  After that, Armenian families were removed from their homes and sent on death marches.  The Armenian people were subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre and starvation.  What happened to the Armenian people was unequivocally genocide.”

The ADL’s long-awaited recognition of the Armenian Genocide on May 13, 2016 has been widely reported.  We have posted excerpts from some of the articles here.

Thursday, 03/17/16
“Prominent Jewish communal organizations have spent years lending their credibility to a Turkish political agenda to undermine recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” writes former executive director of the Anti-Defamation League Andrew Tarsy in the Jewish Journal.   Although “these organizations have begun to move over to the right side of history,” he says, “the work of rectifying the situation by very powerful players in our community has barely begun.” 
“The Anti-Defamation League in particular maintains an awkward state of semi-silence,” he adds, and continues “to exclude the Armenian experience” and respond to critics “with express or implied charges of antisemitism.” 
Tarsy concludes with a principled call to the Jewish community to make amends:  “Because our organizations have played politics with the truth, to the great detriment of Armenian survivors and their families, American Jews have a wrong of our own to right.  We have an affirmative obligation to play a meaningful role in whatever steps Armenian Americans identify as important for the healing of their collective trauma.”

Thursday, 06/18/15
The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis has issued a powerful appeal for universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, specifically calling on Turkey, Israel, and the United States to definitively affirm that what happened one hundred years was genocide.
The statement also called on the American Jewish community to learn about the genocide and for its official organizations “to unequivocally recognize the Armenian Genocide, to apologize for past reticence, to reach out from heart to heart.”
In an interview with the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, the board’s president, Rabbi Howard Jaffe of Temple Isaiah in Lexington, explained how he began to work with local Armenian community members after learning that the Anti-Defamation League had been lobbying to defeat Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Rabbi Jaffe had previously noted, “I was unaware about the ADL activity on Genocide denial . . . No one in the Jewish community was aware of ADL activity regarding the Armenian Genocide.”
He explained how a group of Boston-area members of the Jewish and Armenian communities, including the rabbis of Temple Israel in Boston, began to meet “with the goal of bringing about greater awareness and ultimate recognition” of the Armenian Genocide.
The full Massachusetts Board of Rabbis statement is included in the Mirror-Spectator article.

Wednesday, 06/10/15
“Abe Foxman has been at the center of many controversies over the years,” including the Armenian Genocide, writes Robert Goldblum in The Jewish Week.  “His back-and-forth on whether the Armenian tragedy from 1915 was indeed a genocide was widely criticized, though he argued that acknowledging it could have endangered Jews in Turkey and could have compromised Israeli-Turkish relations.  The argument fell flat,” he states, “especially coming from a Holocaust survivor.”

Friday, 04/17/15
In a compelling piece on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, former ADL New England Regional Director Andrew Tarsy declares, “National Jewish organizations in the United States have played a dangerous game for decades, giving safe harbor to denial of the Armenian Genocide . . . Jewish leaders have made public comments that deliberately provide cover for those who willfully undermine the truth; and in our name, they habitually advocate against congressional efforts to acknowledge the genocide. Some even take steps to exclude the Armenian story from genocide education curriculums and Holocaust commemoration events.”
“No advocate for this position,” he continues, “has been more outspoken than Abraham Foxman, longtime National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. He has hardly lacked for company among the most prominent professional and volunteer leaders within the ADL and in other national Jewish organizations.”
“Eight years ago,” however, “the Jewish community in Greater Boston made a very different choice . . . to publicly acknowledge that the events beginning in Constantinople on April 24, 1915, were indeed genocide, and that a congressional resolution saying as much was in order.”
“Since the episode in Boston,” Tarsy states, “some of the most prominent national Jewish organizations have followed suit in one way or another, using the word genocide with varying degrees of sincerity and candor and virtually no follow-through.”
“The American Jewish community,” he states, must “retire two morally and strategically bankrupt imperatives that have contributed mightily to this morass,” namely justifying policies without analysis if they are said “to be necessary for Israel’s safety,” and refusing to compare and commemorate the Holocaust “alongside other catastrophic crimes like the Armenian Genocide.”
Tarsy concludes with a clarion call to the Jewish community: “The occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide calls for a new commitment by the American Jewish community to acknowledge the experience of that catastrophe for Armenians and to validate the further destruction caused by its denial. Jewish organizations should also go further and indicate support for Armenian efforts to seek reparations and the recovery of stolen property, not unlike our community has pursued in the wake of the Holocaust. This should also be the moment we commit at the local level to deeper engagement with Armenian Americans. The burden is on us to reach out with sincerity and patience. We can start by listening to their story.”

Monday, 06/02/14
Abraham Foxman’s verbal acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide can be viewed “as an important first step” toward the ADL’s issuing “a formal statement unequivocally recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” writes Laura Boghosian in a Boston Globe op-ed. The ADL, she adds, “should also publicly support the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide currently before Congress, in order to atone for helping to defeat previous resolutions.” Suffolk Law School was wrong to honor Foxman “because he has a decades-long history of denying the Armenian Genocide and opposing acknowledgement of this crime against humanity,” she states, adding, “Would Suffolk bestow such accolades upon a Holocaust denier?” Only after the ADL “decisively affirms the Armenian Genocide” and “endorses formal US recognition,” should the organization “be readmitted to our communities or regarded as a model for tolerance,” she concludes.

Wednesday, 05/28/14
“A fleeting reference in a commencement address is no substitute for a formal and unambiguous statement issued by the ADL, which itself would be meaningless unless combined with the absolute cessation of the ADL’s insidious pro-Turkish lobbying,” writes Katie Vanadzin in the Armenian Weekly. Foxman, she points out, justified lobbying for Turkey because “after the United States, the most important ally Israel has is Turkey.”

Monday, 05/26/14
Suffolk University law professor Ragini Shah rebuts Abraham Foxman’s claim that his opponents engaged in “intimidation and bullying,” stating that these “accusations are without foundation.” Student actions were “respectful,” he writes in the Boston Globe, and included an invitation to ADL members to a community forum, which was ignored or declined.

Friday, 05/23/14
“Pressure, politics, and persistence paid off “ when Abraham Foxman “finally stopped denying the Armenian Genocide,” writes Garen Yegparian. “This carries a very important lesson . . . The pressure must be persistent. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose credibility in the court of public opinion . . . Now, it’s time for more pressure, polite, persistent, pragmatic . . . all to push the ADL, and others of its co-denialists, to fully, clearly, unquestionably, part company with Turkey’s government. The context of the 100th anniversary may provide the opportunity for these groups, and even governments, to be more forthcoming. We’re not done yet. Get to work. Let your Jewish friends know you want and need their support.

Friday, 05/23/14
“Abe Foxman’s reference to the Armenian massacres as genocide, without any qualifiers, is a welcome change,” said Herman Purutyan, Massachusetts chair of the Armenian Assembly of America, but “ADL should confirm this by publishing an unequivocal statement on its website, and joining in the efforts to have the U.S. Congress recognize the Armenian Genocide by passing the resolution currently before it.” Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts chair Dikran Kaligian pointed out that “these reversals of position by major Jewish organizations are quite significant for all those committed to recognition of the genocides of the past century. No longer will Turkey be able to exploit the differences between the positions of these organizations’ leadership and their membership – the vast majority of whom want nothing to do with Turkey’s genocide denial campaign.”

Sunday, 5/18/14
In an interview with the Boston Globe, Abraham Foxman declared that his acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide was “nothing new,” and that “I’ve said it before. People don’t want to listen.” The ADL’s only official statement on the Armenian Genocide, however, remains the 2007 release that labeled it “tantamount to genocide.” Referencing the ADL’s public opposition to a Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Armenian Assembly member Anthony Barsamian told the Globe, “If the ADL now supports the pending Congressional resolution, this would truly be a courageous act against injustice.”

Saturday, 5/17/14
In remarks delivered at Suffolk University Law School’s commencement, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman finally acknowledged unequivocally the Armenian Genocide. Stating his belief that “individual courage and individual responsibility” are “central to combating evil,” he said, “Had there been people of courage to act in 1915 when the Armenian genocide was taking place, had there been international intervention when massacres in Cambodia, Bosnia, and the genocide in Rwanda were happening, innocent lives in great numbers could have been saved.” Foxman, however, accused those who protested his appearance due to his years of genocide denial of bullying and intimidation.

Thursday, 05/15/14
In a letter to Suffolk University’s president, the school’s student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild writes that Abraham Foxman has been “a proponent of many disturbing policies,” and that “there are students of Armenian descent whose families would feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed at commencement” with him as keynote speaker.

Tuesday, 05/13/14
Addressing Suffolk University Law School’s selection of Abraham Foxman as commencement speaker, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian writes, “Suffolk University should listen to its students. It has the chance to take a step forward in rectifying decades of injustice by reversing its decision to honor Abraham Foxman with an honorary law degree at its 2014 commencement. Tolerance of those who deny the Armenian genocide many be politically expedient, but it is nonetheless morally indefensible.”  

Friday, 05/02/14
As a Holocaust survivor, Abraham Foxman is “a man who lived through the attempted extermination of an entire race [but] now denies that truth of another,” writes Pierce Nahigyan in Foreign Policy Journal. “Many at Suffolk are unwilling to participate in that hypocrisy.” Nahigyan explains that Foxman’s opposition to recognition of the Armenian Genocide is “out of loyalty to Israel.” Foxman is quoted as saying, “Our focus is Israel. If helping Turkey helps Israel, then that’s what we’re in the business of doing.” Foxman, he says, “represents a willful blindness – to look the other way on a hundred-year-old crime – for the sake of political expediency.”

Wednesday, 04/23/14
In a letter to the Boston Globe, Raymond P. Ajemian writes, “Genocide is the ultimate injustice. People, organizations, and countries at times make morally wrong decisions because of political expedience, but for Foxman to do so in this case – and only modify his stance under pressure – is extremely offensive because of the organization he represents.”

Wednesday, 04/23/14
Reporting on the protests surrounding Abraham Foxman’s selection as commencement speaker at Suffolk University Law School, the JTA writes that the Armenian Genocide “issue continues to dog the outspoken leader and cause controversy for the ADL, especially in the Boston area, home to a large Armenian community.”

Tuesday, 04/22/14
Amy Willis, president of Suffolk Law School’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told the Boston Globe, “Suffolk claims to embody diversity and be a place for all people, but this clearly is a speaker who does not embody those values.” She cited Foxman’s position on the Armenian Genocide, as well as his approval of racial profiling of Muslims, as evidence of his unsuitability as commencement speaker. President James McCarthy, however, defended the choice based on his “body of work.” 

Wednesday, 04/16/14
The Suffolk Journal cites Abraham Foxman’s opposition to a Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in an article that describes the controversy surrounding his choice as commencement speaker. Foxman called a resolution “a counterproductive diversion” that “takes a position [and] comes to a judgment.”

Tuesday, 04/15/14
The Armenian Bar Association has written a letter to Suffolk University President James McCarthy protesting the selection of ADL National Director Abraham Foxman as law school commencement speaker. Labeling him a “deft and dangerous denier of the Armenian Genocide,” the association points out that had Foxman denigrated the Holocaust, “we trust that you would not have even considered him as your honoree.” “We are outraged at the thought that a genocide denier or relativizer – which is as offensive as an outright denial – like Mr. Foxman, is being pegged for recognition and honor by your university,” the association continues. “Therefore, we urge you to take the high road and withdraw the conferment of the honorary Juris Doctorate degree on Mr. Foxman, and we call on you to replace him as your commencement speaker.” 

Thursday, 04/10/14
A petition demanding that Suffolk University remove ADL National Director Abraham Foxman as its law school commencement speaker has been posted online at by the university’s student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Foxman is also slated to receive an honorary law degree at the ceremony. The petition states, “Mr. Foxman’s presence at commencement not only insults students and their families, but also insults the very foundation of Suffolk Law as a safe place of diversity and acceptance,” and accuses him of supporting human rights only for some, while discriminating against others. Foxman denied that “the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians rose to the level of a genocide . . . refusing to define this tragedy with the appropriate and meaningful political term,” and “has repeatedly commented negatively on the topics of Muslim-Americans and immigrant populations.” The petition concludes by calling for Foxman’s removal, stating, “there is no place for selective diversity and exclusionary practices at Suffolk Law.”

Monday, 03/10/14
In testimony submitted in writing to the Governor’s Council, Laura Boghosian, a co-founder of the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide, explained that media reports alleging the ADL recognized the genocide in 2008 are false. “The 2008 statement,” she wrote, “merely refers back to the 2007 statement,” calling it “troubling” that ADL leadership would assert there was a change in policy in 2008. Addressing Berman’s claim that he disagreed with the ADL’s policy on the Armenian Genocide and tried to change it internally, Boghosian stated, “With an issue of such great moral significance, it is also critical to take a public stand. Many did, speaking out, resigning from the ADL, mobilizing the Jewish community, and in one infamous incident getting fired for defending historical truth. Had Mr. Berman publicly stood for justice then, his fitness to dispense justice today would perhaps not be in question by some.” Boghosian concluded by calling upon “the Anti-Defamation League to fulfill its stated mission of securing justice for all by publicly and unequivocally recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”

Monday, 03/10/14
The opposition to Joseph Berman’s nomination  “was led by Councilor Marilyn Devaney, a Democrat from Watertown, who time and again highlighted Berman’s leadership position in the ADL as a member of both its regional and national boards, and his failure to publicly speak against his organization like others had done when it became clear that the ADL had been lobbying Congress against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” reports the Armenian Weekly. Testifying before the Governor’s Council in opposition to Berman’s nomination, activist David Boyajian declared, “Mr. Berman has been a member of the ADL for about 19 years, and an ADL National Commissioner since 2006.  For 20 years and probably even longer, the ADL has been denying the factuality of the Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey . . . All those years, surely the New England ADL, including Mr. Berman, knew what the ADL was doing.  Did they speak out?  No.” Boyajian also condemned the ADL’s lobbying for Turkey to defeat Congressional resolutions on the Armenian Genocide, asking, “Can you imagine any genuine human rights organization such as Amnesty International actively working against recognition of a proven genocide?”

Thursday, 03/06/14
Joseph Berman’s nomination for a Massachusetts Superior Court judgeship “was rejected in part because he had taken leadership positions with the Anti-Defamation League,” writes the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.  “The criticism of the ADL link dates back to 2007, when the ADL’s national office declined to recognize the World War I genocide of Armenians in the former Ottoman Empire,” explains the JTA. Robert Trestan, executive director of the New England regional office of the ADL, states, however, that the ADL “now fully recognizes the Armenian genocide without reservation.”

Wednesday, 03/05/14
Governor Deval Patrick defended Joseph Berman’s nomination and said criticism of his ADL leadership role was “misplaced,” according to Nashoba Publishing.  The governor said the Armenian Genocide is a matter of historical fact that must not be forgotten or denied, “but the regional ADL has done too much good work for human rights in our community and beyond to cast every supporter aside.”  He also stated that Berman acknowledges the genocide as fact. Councilor Jennie Caissie explained that she voted against Berman because he could not provide any proof that he worked behind the scenes to change the ADL’s position on the genocide, which was “relevant to his truthfulness.” The Governor’s Council rejected Berman’s nomination in a 4-4 tie.  Problematic issues other than his ADL membership included Berman’s truthfulness and his campaign contributions totaling nearly $100,000, leading some councilors to suggest that there was an appearance of his trying to purchase a judgeship.

Wednesday, 03/05/14
“Governor Deval Patrick’s nominee for a Superior Court judgeship has been rejected by the Governor’s Council,” reports the Boston Globe.  “The opposition was led by Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney, a Watertown Democrat [who] objected to Berman’s ties to the Anti-Defamation League during a time when the national organization refused to label as genocide the early 20th century killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks.”

Thursday, 02/27/14
In the second hearing on ADL commissioner Joseph Berman’s nomination to the Massachusetts Superior Court, some members of the Governor’s Council indicated that his ADL membership would not be a factor in their decision. The ADL’s failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide had featured prominently in Berman’s first hearing. Councilor Christopher Iannella pronounced he would base his vote on Berman’s character, experience, and demeanor, not his ADL membership. Councilor Terrence Kennedy defended Berman, saying he had “tried to get the [ADL’s] policy changed.” Councilor Jennie Caissie, however, questioned Berman’s “truthfulness and veracity,” stating he could not provide any proof that he had led an “insurrection” against the ADL’s policy.

Friday, 02/21/14
Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney says she faults Joseph Berman, a “19-year member of the ADL New England and national commissioner, for never publicly speaking out against the national ADL’s direct collaboration with the Turkish government against genocide recognition long before, during and after the issue broke in 2007.”  Mr. Berman not only failed to speak out publicly or resign, added Ms. Devaney, but in contrast, he “received leadership awards from the ADL.”

Thursday, 02/13/14
Governor Deval Patrick says that he and his nominee for Superior Court, Joseph Berman, have “listened to some of the concerns that have been raised by councilors,” but says Mr. Berman should have an opportunity to discuss these issues at another hearing.

Friday, 02/07/14
In a letter published in the Watertown Tab, Kamer Minassian writes that Joseph Brman is not qualified to be a Superior Court judge because as an ADL national commissioner, Berman “unashamedly works with the Turkish government against the Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress.” 

Thursday, 01/09/14
In a letter to the Weston Town Crier, David Boyajian writes that during the period when Massachusetts towns were cutting their ties with the ADL for their “anti-Armenian policies,” Joseph Berman “neither resigned – unlike some others – from the ADL nor spoke publicly against such policies, which remain unchanged.”  Boyajian adds, “the national ADL claims to be a human rights organization, and insists that others commemorate the Holocaust and pass resolutions on it.  Yet it hypocritically works against acknowledgement” of the Armenian Genocide, and that “ as a national ADL commissioner, Mr. Berman is part and parcel of those hypocritical policies.”  

Sunday, 12/22/13
Joseph Berman has been a national commissioner of the ADL since 2006, writes David Boyajian, as the organization “colluded with a human rights violator, Turkey, to deny the Armenian genocide and lobby against congressional recognition of it.”  Because he “neither resigned from the ADL nor spoke out publicly against such policies, which remain unchanged,” the governor should withdraw his nomination.

Friday, 12/20/13
Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Pettito Devaney writes that she is opposed to judicial nominee Joseph Berman because, among other reasons, “Mr. Berman never went against the ADL policy and never changed their policy.  When asked if he made a public statement to that effect, he had no reply.”    The ADL, she says, “deprive the Armenians of their history,” but Mr. Berman notes on his resume his membership in the organization and “of proudly receiving a prestigious ADL Leadership Award.”

Monday, 12/09/13
“The Herald’s editorial is wrong about the Anti-Defamation League’s position on the Armenian Genocide,” writes Laura Boghosian in a letter to the editor.  “The ADL statement of August 2007 does not unequivocally recognize the Armenian genocide,” but rather is a “word game that avoids the intent required for genocide under international law.”

Tuesday, 12/03/13
ADL New England Regional Director Robert Trestan and Jeffrey Robbins, NE Regional chairman, falsely write in the Boston Herald, “And in 2008, we publicly stated that the massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians constituted genocide.”  Trestan and Robbins dismiss the opposition to the Berman nomination as “politics over decency.”

Friday, 11/29/13
Joseph Berman “is not a responsible choice, as I believe he bends his morals to expedience,” writes June Hatfield in a Boston Globe letter to the editor.  “To support an organization that describes the massacre of Armenians only as ‘tantamount to genocide’ is not only immoral, but historically ignorant . . . Should Hitler’s murder of Jews be described as ‘tantamount to genocide?’”

Tuesday, 11/26/13
In an appalling example journalistic error, the Boston Globe’s editorial board writes that local members of the ADL, including Joseph Berman, “succeeded at winning recognition by the ADL of ‘the genocide of approximately 1.5 million Armenians’ from 1915 to 1923.”  Berman, writes the Globe, was among ADL members from Boston who “reset the ADL’s moral compass.”  Ironically, in his testimony that was reported in the Globe on November 13, Berman stated that he does not agree with the national ADL’s position.

Sunday, 11/24/13
“The refusal of the ADL to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and its long-time opposition to Armenian Genocide resolutions in Congress is deeply offensive to the Armenian-American community and discredits an organization that claims to defend human rights,” said Dikran Kaligian to the Armenian Weekly.  “Complicity in the Turkish government’s international denial campaign must be condemned by those who believe in justice for those subjected to crimes against humanity.  Press statements by ADL officials this week show that they still don’t get it.”

Sunday, 11/24/13
Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham accused opponents to Joseph Berman’s nomination of acting from “misdirected outrage, a desperate yearning for attention, or pure barminess.”  Writing that “Some were upset over the reluctance of the national ADL some years ago to label as genocide the slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century,” Abraham defended Berman because he said he had “considered resigning over the issue.”  Despite quoting Marilyn Pettito Devaney as saying to Berman, “I don’t understand how you could stay with the ADL and just ignore that . . . You’ve taken away the history of the Armenians,” Abraham opined, “you’d think he was a card-carrying member of the Klan.”  

Saturday, 11/23/13
The Boston Herald denigrates Marilyn Pettito Devaney as ignorant for opposing the Berman nomination, but then proceeds to display actual ignorance by implying that it was only “prior to 2007” that the national ADL refused to use the word genocide.  

Thursday, 11/21/13
Governor’s Council member Marilyn Pettito Devaney of Watertown is leading the opposition to the nomination of ADL member Joseph Berman to a Massachusetts judgeship.  “In 1939, Hitler, carrying out his horrific mission to exterminate the Jews, said, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’ I do.  And many others do, too, “ she said.  Devaney further stated that if she belonged to a “group who denied the Holocaust,” she would resign.

Wednesday, 11/13/13
Membership in the ADL has caused serious problems for an attorney nominated for a Massachusetts Superior Court judgeship by Governor Deval Patrick.  Joseph Berman, an ADL New England Region board member, was berated for belonging to the organization due to its continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.  In his testimony, Berman said he does not agree with the ADL’s position on the Armenian Genocide, but Governor’s Councilor Robert Jubinville suggested Berman should have left the organization.  “It would have made a principled decision on your part,” he said.

Friday, 08/31/2012 
ADL New England Regional Director Derrek Shulman reiterated the organization’s continued opposition to a Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide at an ADL presentation in Falmouth, MA on July 22.  When asked by Shahkeh Yaylaian Setian to comment on the ADL’s lobbying to defeat the resolution, Shulman replied, “We are opposed to the resolution as are others, such as members of Congress and the President.”

Tuesday, 11/1/2011
“Sometimes it takes friends to tell a friend that the latter has a problem,” begins a letter by David Boyajian calling on the Genocide Education Project to protest Facing History’s partnership with the ADL. “It is clearly wrong for a genocide education organization such as FHAO to affiliate itself with Foxman as long as he and his organization remain foes of Armenian genocide acknowledgment,” writes Boyajian. He states that as friends of Facing History, the Genocide Education Project is “obligated to urge FHAO to withdraw from its partnership with Foxman,” concluding, “When credibility hangs in the balance, silence is not an option.”

Tuesday, 10/25/2011
Responding to David Boyajian’s open letter, Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) wrongly claims that “According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) website, the organization does recognize what happened to the Armenians as genocide.” Facing History itself, states the response, is “unambiguous in its recognition of the Armenian Genocide and continues to educate all . . . about this important history.” Monday 10/24/2011
Facing History and Ourselves should withdraw from its partnership with the ADL in sponsoring a panel discussion on “The New Anti-Semitism” writes David Boyajian in an open letter to the rights and education organization. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman is slated to be a panelist at the November 7 event in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. “Would FHAO partner with an organization and man that diminished the Holocaust and opposed the many Congressional resolutions on the Holocaust?” asks Boyajian. “Why, then, would you partner with the ADL? This is incomprehensible, especially as FHAO has long had an educational program on the Armenian genocide.”

Sunday 10/09/2011
In an Orwellian twist, Turkish human rights activists have consulted with the Anti-Defamation League in their efforts to enact legislation combating hate crimes, including those committed against Armenians. Cengiz Algan, of the Association for Social Change, states there has been “enmity in society against Armenians,” especially following a 2005 conference in Turkey “which sparked great controversy because it included the Armenian side of arguments related to the issue of genocide.” The Anti-Defamation League has long lobbied for the Turkish government against U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Friday 08/11/2011
In an article advocating the use of technology to improve communication between organizations and their supporters, Charles Lenchner cites the Anti-Defamation League’s position on the Armenian Genocide as an example of a group that that is out of touch with its community.Writing in the Jewish journal “Zeek,” Lenchner states: “Organizations actually get in the biggest trouble when they claim to represent a community but don’t actually listen to the community.In October 2007, the top leaders of the Anti-Defamation League were trying to squash an effort to recognize the Armenian Genocide (2). Yet their community disagreed. Abe Foxman had to resort to firing the head of the ADL’s New England region in the course of defending his position, and endured months of beatings in the press. He finally had to reverse course (though he hedged there too).For many in my peer group, the question was not just how Foxman could be so wrong (which he so often is), but how could the ADL, a mainstream organization viewed with admiration by the majority of our community, find itself championing a marginal position at odds with its own mission? Part of the answer is that the ADL does not have feedback mechanisms in place that would have allowed it to gauge the pulse of its own membership beyond the generally right-wing funders that make up its inner circle.”

Tuesday 05/31/2011
According to an article in Haaretz, the Turkish government in 2007 asked the government of Israel to apply pressure on the Anti-Defamation League to moderate its statement on the Armenian Genocide. “Responding to the entreaties of the president of Turkey, Israeli President Shimon Peres also approached ADL national director Abraham Foxman on the issue, after which the organization reversed course and softened its stance.” The article was mistaken, however, in its contention that the ADL had “supported an effort to have the U.S. Congress recognize the genocide.” The ADL has consistently labeled such a resolution “counter-productive.”
In the article entitled “Knesset Speaker working to boost recognition of Armenian Genocide,” Jonathan Lis writes, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin wants to convene an annual parliamentary session of the full Knesset to mark the Armenian Genocide. “Diplomatic considerations, important as they may be, do not allow us to deny the disaster [experienced] by another people,” said Rivlin.
Lis states “in recent years, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry have applied heavy pressure to head off such sessions of the Knesset out of concern that relations between Israel and Turkey would be harmed.” Last week, however, the full Knesset approved for the first time an open, public session on the issue.

Thursday 05/05/2011
“Clear Channel should heed its own Code of Conduct about not supporting political organizations and not, in effect, allocate funds to the highly politicized ADL,” writes Luder Tavit Sahagian in the MetroWest Daily News, addressing Clear Channel’s providing 100 free billboards to the ADL for advertising its anti-bullying program. Rather, writes Sahagian, Clear Channel should donate “several free billboards in years to come to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.” He adds, “With the centennial commemoration of the Armenian Genocide approaching in 2015, the national ADL must prove its commitment to human rights “ by ceasing to lobby on Turkey’s behalf and unambiguously supporting recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Tuesday 04/12
=The ADL’s anti-bulling program is “no different from its discredited ‘No Place for Hate’ program that the Mass. Municipal Association and a dozen cities across Massachusetts cut ties with,” writes Berge Jololian in the Watertown Tab. For that reason, ADL billboards in other towns “should be taken down too if the anti-bullying movement is not to make a joke out of itself.”
=“A bully cannot credibly tell young people not to bully,” declares David Boyajian in the Watertown Tab. “The real bully is the national ADL. It has long conspired with Turkey – which bullies its ethnic and religious minorities, journalists, and dissidents – to deny the Armenian genocide of 1915-23 committed by Turkey, and to bully Congress into not bringing an Armenian genocide resolution to a fair vote.”
Boyajian reviews the history of national Jewish organizations including the ADL that lobby for Turkey. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, for example, “lit up the phones” to defeat an Armenian Genocide resolution, according to a former AIPAC official. Boyajian points out that the head of the New England regional ADL is a former political director of AIPAC. “It’s another disturbing sign that the ADL’s anti-Armenian policies remain essentially unchanged,” he writes.
The ADL, of course, promotes Holocaust recognition,” he adds, “yet displays gross insensitivity by collaborating with a major human rights violator, Turkey, to block recognition of another ethnic group’s genocide.”
Boyajian concludes “if the anti-bullying movement is to be credible to parents and young people, it must disassociate itself from the ADL. If not, the movement will be seen to be as insincere and hypocritical as the ADL.”

Monday 04/11/2011
The Boston Globe reports it is coincidence that a billboard advocating recognition of the Armenian Genocide “replaces one sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, the organization that has drawn harsh criticism for not wholeheartedly embracing the word ‘genocide’ in reference to atrocities that began in earnest in April 1915.” Despite modifying its language on the Armenian Genocide, the Globe article points out that the ADL remains opposed to a Congressional resolution recognizing the genocide.

Tuesday 03/29/2011
=Lily Ordoubeigian writes that she is “appalled” by the ADL billboard on bullying because the ADL itself continues “to bully Congress into not recognizing the Armenian Genocide.” No one “will take seriously any lesson about bullying that is delivered by genocide deniers and hypocrites, namely Mr. Foxman and the ADL,” she concludes.
=Watertown gave the national Anti-Defamation League a strong message more than 3 years ago: You and your opposition to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 are hypocritical and immoral, and you are unwelcome here,” writes Vany Tashjian in the Watertown Tab. “The ADL should take its act to a more appropriate place. I suggest Turkey.”
=An ADL billboard that loomed behind Watertown’s Sevan Bakery has been replaced by one declaring, “Now is the time to turn hope into action, Recognize the Armenian Genocide,” reports the Watertown Tab. A representative of billboard company Clear Channel said the ADL ad was replaced because “the Armenian Genocide recognition campaign was scheduled to post. Armenian Genocide is a paid client.” In contrast, Clear Channel donated 105 billboards free of charge to the ADL; billboards promoting the ADL have been erected across Massachusetts.

Friday 03/25/2011
“I am disgusted that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) just put up a billboard ad about ‘anti-bullying’ on Mt. Auburn St. near Armenian-American stores and churches,” writes Kamer Minassian in the Watertown Tab. “It’s the ADL that’s the bully, working with that other bully, Turkey, to deny the Armenian genocide.” Because the ADL has no credibility “when it comes to human rights or morality,” Minassian declares, “the ADL billboard ad must come down.”


Thursday 12/30/2010
In an interview with the Turkish daily Sabah, Abe Foxman declared that the ADL supports Turkey in its effort to defeat a Congressional resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide. “The Armenian Cause is an issue between Armenia and Turkey, and it should be resolved between those two countries,” asserted Foxman. “The U.S. is wrong when it attempts to meddle in that issue . . . The history should be left to historians. We back Turkey in that issue.”

Friday 12/17/2010
In a December appearance in Los Angeles, Abe Foxman denied denying the Armenian Genocide, but complained about being “forced” to use “the Armenians’ term” to describe the events of 1915-1923, reports Garen Yegparian. “We don’t force anyone to call our experience Shoah,” declared Foxman, who said he has used the terms “massacres” and “atrocities.” Foxman’s comment that “he’s not an historian, he’s just read some stuff about ‘it,’ reeks of the Turkish government’s line about ‘leaving history to historians’ and not involving Congress or any other agency,” writes Yegparian.
“Is it possible that Abe Foxman is just that disingenuous? Given his history in fighting anti-Semitism and for Israel, I think not. Rather, it is his way of masking the unconscionable path he has chosen. The bottom line is, Abraham Foxman is, and is making the Anti-Defamation League a party to, Armenian Genocide denial,” he concludes.

Wednesday 10/13/2010
The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have been “unabashedly pro-Turkish” for decades, writes M.J. Rosenberg on the website Talking Points Memo. ‘The big three Jewish organizations backed Turkey “to the hilt,” he declares, “no matter what the issue – even one as emotional as the Armenian genocide.” Rosenberg adds, “Not long ago, ADL fired an official in Boston for saying that there was an Armenian genocide.”
Yet ever since Turkey opposed Israel’s blockade and invasion of Gaza, “Israel’s lobby in America” no longer backs Turkey. “Turkey, he says, “is the country the lobby loves to hate.” Yet Rosenberg concludes, “these people need to grow up” [because] Israel “needs to be friendly to Turkey.”

Tuesday 10/12/2010
In a letter to the Boston Globe,Laura Boghosian of the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide writes that the Globe erred by printing the ADL acknowledges the Armenian Genocide. “By declaring that the ‘consequences’ of Turkey’s actions were ‘tantamount to genocide,’ the ADL statement supports Turkey’s claim that Armenians died simply as a result of World War I conditions and not from a deliberate, planned program of extermination,” she explains. Most communities who severed ties with the ADL, she points out, did so after the organization issued its only official statement on the Armenian Genocide, judging it unacceptable.
“In opposing the proposed Islamic center in New York City, as well as US recognition of the Armenian genocide,” she concludes, “the ADL has utterly betrayed its original mission ‘to secure justice and fair treatment to all.’’”

Friday 10/08/2010
“Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was confronted at the organization’s annual meeting yesterday in Boston by members who suggested his opposition to a proposed Islamic center near the site of the terrorist attacks in New York has sullied the century-old organization’s reputation for fighting prejudice and promoting religious freedom,” writes the Boston Globe.” Foxman called the proposed center “counterproductive to the healing process.”
The Globe noted, “The anger over the ADL’s was not the first time that Foxman has sparked a controversy. In 2007, he was criticized by Jewish and Armenian-American groups after firing the ADL’s New England regional director, Andrew H. Tarsy, for defying the national organization by acknowledging the genocide of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks.”
Unfortunately, the Globe erred by alleging, “Foxman eventually reversed years of ADL policy and acknowledged the mass killings as genocide.” The only official ADL statement on the Armenian Genocide is worded so that the international legal definition of genocide, requiring intent on the part of the Ottoman Turkish government, is not met. When asked to rectify the statement by issuing an unambiguous declaration, the ADL refused.
The ADL also continues to publicly oppose Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide, calling it “counterproductive.”

Tuesday 08/31/2010
Democratic candidate for Massachusetts state treasurer, Steve Grossman, issued a statement in which he declared he was “proud to have publicly joined the Armenian National Committee and other Armenian organizations in criticizing the Anti-Defamation League and its President Abraham Foxman for refusing to acknowledge the [Armenian] genocide as genocide.” Grossman, a former ADL board member, said, “it troubled me to see this organization quite literally on the wrong side of history. I spoke out publicly in the news media and also worked behind the scenes to help members of the New England region push back against the national position . . . That this issue still has not been resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to the Armenian community is a matter of great regret to me. But I have not given up the struggle.” Grossman also pledged to use the “bully pulpit” of the treasurer’s office to urge Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide, stating, “Failure to act is a shameful blot on the human rights record of the United States.”

Friday 08/27/2010
In an article entitled “The ADL has lost its way under Abe Foxman,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz says Foxman was “mistaken when he almost tore the organization apart three years ago by opposing a Congressional resolution that would have officially labeled the murder of 1.5 million Armenians at the hand of the Turkish government during the First World War a "genocide."
Anshel Pfeffer further states, “In his Armenian intervention, he actively enlisted the ADL in a campaign that subscribed to the anti-Semitic notion that the Jewish money rules Washington. As one Israeli diplomat told me at the time, ‘The Turkish government sees the ADL as an agency of Jewish power, so Foxman thought that if he would allow members of the League to support the resolution, it would harm Israel's strategic relationship with Turkey. He thought he was helping Israel but he simply reinforced the Turks' 'Elders of Zion' fantasy.’ I wonder if Foxman still feels proud of himself for working as Ankara's lobbyist.”

Sunday 08/08/2010
New Voices, a national Jewish student magazine, says a Twitter parody of the ADL’s Abraham Foxman “is pumping out such gems as ‘Oh wait, Israel’s friends with Turkey again? Armenian geno-wha?’”

Friday 08/06/2010
In a compelling Boston Globe opinion piece, Jesse Singal says it has been “bizarre” and “disappointing” watching the ADL come out “against congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide because of the possible damage it could do to Turkish-Israeli relations.” Singal castigates the ADL for its positions on the Armenian Genocide and a proposed NY Islamic center, writing, “On the toughest, most controversial issues, the ADL seems willing to endorse some of the very ideas it was created to fight: that it’s OK to define down genocide when it’s politically expedient to do so, and that it’s OK to codify discomfort with a group of people into law or policy.
In both cases, a strange relativism settled over the organization: Apparently, genocide is always genocide, unless acknowledging this could threaten Israel’s relationship with an important ally. And it’s always wrong to discriminate against a group that merely wants to practice and promote its religion, unless doing so could be painful for the victims of a crime.
It’s impossible to imagine the ADL taking these stances if the genocide in question were the Holocaust or if the building in question were a synagogue or a Jewish community center.”

Wednesday 08/04/2010
“A small minority of prominent, basically conservative leaders in American Jewish organizations (whose opinions definitely don’t represent the majority of American Jews) seems to see anything involving Muslims or Arabs in terms of the Arab-Israel conflict,” asserts Raanan Geberer in a Brooklyn Eagle editorial. “This might also explain the ADL’s opposition to a congressional resolution on the Armenian genocide. Turkey, whose predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, was responsible for this genocide, is one of Israel’s few allies in the Muslim world.”

Tuesday 08/03/2010
Shmuel Rosner asks in the Jerusalem Post if the ADL’s position on the proposed Islamic Center will be “the reincarnation of ADL’s Armenian Genocide blunder?” “The cases are much different,” he states, “but the outcome (having to readjust positions and rewrite statements) might be similar.”

Monday 08/02/2010
The ADL’s denial of the Armenian Genocide continues to be cited as an example of how the ADL has abandoned its mission to “secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach writes that on a critical test of its commitment to basic principles, the ADL has come down on the side of injustice with its stand on the Armenian Genocide. “For those who do not know, 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by the Turks from 1915-1924 in an effort to eliminate Armenians as a race from that region of the world. Turkey, not embracing the "confess and reconcile" model of Germany, has opted instead for the less satisfying "deny and arrest those who speak the truth" model. In 2007, the US Congress was considering a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Apparently they had already recognized that the sky was blue.
Be that as it may, the national ADL issued a statement OPPOSING, (no, not a really bad typo which was meant to say "supporting") the passage of that resolution. Abraham Foxman, the then head of the ADL said essentially that since Turkey and Israel get along so well, we are willing to go along with their equivalent of holocaust-denial . . . Can you imagine Mr. Foxman tolerating the US denying the Holocaust because Germany sends a ping-pong team here? . . . It seems like there should be one test when determining whether to recognize a genocide, and that should be, was there a genocide? The test should NOT be: Was the genocide perpetrated by a country we like or don't like? “
Senator Leach concluded, “If the ADL objects to historically accurate recognition of religious persecution, and actually supports religious discrimination, it’s hard to understand what their on-going purpose could be.”

Saturday 07/31/2010
Several writers have noted the ADL’s hypocritical stand on the Armenian Genocide in recent pieces on the ADL. An article entitled “ADL Joins the Racists. Again.” on the Daily Kos website notes that the “ADL acts not as a human rights organization, but acts primarily as a PR organization for the Israeli government. It has changing views on the Armenian genocide carried out by the Turkish government in the early 20th century. Its stance has always depended on how helpful it will be for Israel, not on the actual events in 1915. It has worked hard to oppose a Congressional resolution when Turkey's relationship was good with Israel, but now that it has deteriorated, they seem to have switched sides. It's not like events of 1915 has changed.”
=And a discussion on the Huffington Post centers on the statement, “Israel seems to have no problem with the Armenian Genocide, the suppression of the Kurds or the occupation of Cyprus. They do have a problem with a TV station broadcasting a TV show (Leading to the Israeli Minister summoning the Turkish Ambassador for a humiliating interview) The Anti-Defamation League seems to have no problem with the Armenian Genocide either, when Congress passed a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide the ADL issued a statement saying that it was a matter for Turkey to resolve without outside interference.”

Wednesday 07/28/2010
The Needham Times published two letters in response to ADL’s Michael Sheetz’s claim that the controversy over the Armenian Genocide “is over.” Needham resident Luder Tavit Sahagian wrote, “Let me set the record straight. The ADL not only continues to deny the veracity of the ongoing Armenian Genocide, but also supports passage of congressional resolutions on all genocides except the Armenian one.” Sahagian explains that the 2007 ADL statement on the Armenian Genocide “was the very opposite of a genocide acknowledgment,” stating “the ADL knows full well that ‘consequences’ is the functional opposite of ‘intent,’ the latter of which is required for an action to legally be termed genocide.” “Under these circumstances,” he asserts, “no program sponsored by the ADL or any other genocide-denying entity is welcome in our town or in any other city or town nationwide and worldwide.”
=Also addressing Sheetz’s statement were Laura Boghosian and Rabbi Howard Jaffe of the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide. “Nothing has changed since Needham took a principled stand in support of universal human writes and withdrew from NPFH, due to the ADL’s denial of the Armenian Genocide,” they wrote. “Many in the Jewish community strongly disagree with the ADL’s position, and have joined with Boston-area Armenians to work toward Armenian Genocide recognition,” they noted, pointing readers to the coalition’s webpage at “Genocide denial is hate speech,” they point out, concluding, “The ADL does not ‘secure justice for all people’ and should not be permitted to instruct others.”

Wednesday 07/21/2010
The ADL may attempt to reinstate its programs in Needham, MA schools, reports the Needham Times. Needham was one of 14 Massachusetts communities to end its affiliation with the ADL’s No Place for Hate program due to the ADL’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. New England ADL board chairman Michael Sheetz told the Times, “We’ve come a long way from the controversy a few years ago. I think the controversy that led to the program’s demise in Needham is over and been over for a long time.” A comment posted to the online article points out that “The ADL has worked with Turkey to cover up mass murder and genocide and to try to stop the US from recognizing the Armenian Genocide . . . Nothing has changed since 2007.”

Friday 07/02/2010
Once the 2009 protocols between Armenia and Turkey were signed, a leader of the Turkish ruling party declared, “Now we don’t need the Jews anymore,” according to an article in the Jewish Times. This statement was “a reference to the aid American Jews, as part of the pro-Israel lobby, had given to Turkey in the U.S. Congress to prevent the passing of an Armenian genocide resolution,” according to the article which analyses the history of the strategic relationship between Turkey and Israel.

Friday 06/18/2010
“The American Jewish community has long been supportive of Turkish interests in the United States, as a NATO ally and based on its strategic relationship with Israel,” writes Abe Foxman on the Huffington Post. Foxman outlines the “shared history based on mutual interests and concerns,” but threatens that “politically active Jewish organizations may have to revisit” the alliance due to recent events.
Yet Foxman seems eager to resume the relationship, writing, “Hopefully, what we are seeing today from Turkey is a temporary detour from the path it has pursued so successfully for years. Hopefully, the friendship we had come to know and to rely on will re-emerge . . . Then we will be able to continue to celebrate our long-held affection and respect for Turkey.”

Thursday 06/17/2010
Abe Foxman says the ADL decided to boycott of a meeting between American Jewish organizations and Turkish officials because, “I believe in dialogue and meetings but there is a point at which it becomes useless to have a conversation,” reports Haaretz. Foxman says Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s comparison of the Star of David to a swastika is “ugly and anti-Semitic.”
Yet Foxman says he would be “delighted to talk” to Turkish officials once they reconcile with the Israeli government.
Also boycotting the meeting with Turkey were the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and B’nai B’rith International, who, like the ADL, had previously lobbied for the Turkish government against Armenian Genocide recognition. The American Jewish Committee, however, “decided to attend the meeting” according to Haaretz, “believing that traditional ties should not be abandoned hastily.” An AJC spokesperson told Haaretz, “There is a history of relations between the U.S. and Turkey and Israel and it shouldn’t be easily discarded.” Like the others, the AJC has a long history of lobbying for Turkey against affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.
=Writing in The Jewish Week, James Besser says it is “offensive” that Jewish organizations for years rebuffed Armenian appeals for help in getting official recognition of the Armenian Genocide.“The fight against genocide is supposed to be absolute – not a matter of politics but of basic morality,” he writes, “a core lesson we have sought to teach the world through Holocaust remembrance . . . memory and historical accuracy matter.”So why,” he asks, “were we so willing to treat Armenian memory as something that could be modified according to the immediate needs of pro-Israel politics?”
Now that Turkey is no longer a friend to Israel, Jews are suddenly discussing supporting Armenian demands for recognition, according to Besser.“It was offensive when we defended Turkey because it was somehow ‘good for Israel,’ and it’s doubly offensive when we use the threat of ending that protection as just another political bludgeon in the pro-Israel wars . . . threatening to change your position on an issue as fundamental as genocide – that’s crossing a line the Jewish community should never cross.”

Wednesday 06/16/2010
Former LA Times reporter Mark Arax writes for Salon that recent acknowledgements of the Armenian Genocide by major American Jewish organizations is a “shameless turnaround” because “for decades, they have helped Turkey cover up its murderous past,” in support of Israel’s alliance with Turkey. Now because “the game has changed,” with Turkey and Israel feuding over Gaza, “the Armenian Genocide has become a new weapon in the hands of Israel and its supporters in the U.S., a way to threaten Turkey.”
In 2007, Arax wrote an article for the Times “that revealed how genocide denial had become a dirty little pact between Turkey and Israel and its lobby in the U.S.” While researaching the story, he interviewed the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman, who “had just returned from a meeting with Turkish military and government leaders to discuss pressuring Congress, the State Department and President Bush to turn back the genocide resolution once again.”
Foxman admitted, “Our focus is Israel. If helping Turkey helps Israel, then that’s what we’re in the business of doing.” Foxman then questioned whether the Armenian Genocide was even a genocide, saying, “It was wartime. Things get messy.” He also asserted that the Jewish community and Congress should not be the “arbiter” of history.
Arax writes that when he “pointed out that the genocide had already been documented as a fact” and that “Congress recognizes all sorts of people’s history” and has passed “resolutions commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, “ Foxman was affronted that “the oneness of the Holocaust was being debased by Armenians.” Foxman, he says, asked him, “You’re not suggesting that an Armenian Genocide is the same as the Holocaust, are you?”
After describing how the Times killed his story, Arax concludes that the recent “rush of Jewish leaders” confessing their past role in genocide denial “aren’t confessions at all. Rather, they are reminders of the debt Turkey owes Israel – and they come with teeth bared.”
=Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt writes in the Sabah Report that “back when Israel and Turkey were strategic allies with extensive military-to-military ties . . . groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and AIPAC encouraged Congress not to pass resolutions that would have labeled what happened to the Armenians at the hands of the Turks during World War I a ‘genocide’ . . . The fact that the ADL was in effect protecting another country against the charge of genocide is more than a little ironic, but who ever said that political organizations had to be ethically consistent?”

Sunday 05/23/2010
An online petition calling on Congress and President Obama to recognize the Armenian Genocide has surpassed its original goal of 10,000 signatures and continues to gain support, reports the Armenian Weekly.
“When you look at the diversity of those who signed the petition, it is clear that there is a strong demand by Americans throughout the country that the United States recognize the Armenian Genocide. It demonstrates that this is not simply an Armenian issue, but a powerful call to align America’s foreign policy with human rights and historical truth,” said ANC member and coalition co-chair Laura Boghosian.
The petition was created by the Coalition to Recognize the Armenian Genocide, a Boston-area group of Jews and Armenians who organized in response to the Anti-Defamation League’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.
To view and sign the petition, go to:

Thursday 03/25/2010
Abraham Foxman, asked to comment by an Azeri media correspondent on the House “Foreign Affairs Committee recognizing made-up ‘genocide of Armenians’ in Ottoman Turkey,” responded by calling the resolution “a counterproductive diversion.” The ADL’s national director declared, “We oppose it,” warning that it “may put at risk the important multilateral relationship between Turkey and the United States,” and that it “will hinder” Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. Foxman later stated, however, that ADL’s opposition “must not be confused with denying history.”

Wednesday 03/10/2010
Jess Hordes of the Anti-Defamation League says American Jewish groups did not actively lobby against recognition of the Armenian Genocide this year because “for some people the enthusiasm isn’t as great as it was in the past, because of concerns about Turkey’s policy on Israel,” reports the Forward. But the Forward notes that “for some in the Jewish community, even silent support for the Turkish side is morally wrong,” and quotes Rabbi Howard Jaffe of Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Mass. as saying, “It is an absolute shande (shame) . . . We can’t be held hostage to Turkey’s immoral behavior.”

Sunday 03/07/2010
“Several American Jewish groups downgraded their traditional opposition” to Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide this year, reports the Jerusalem Post. An ADL spokesman reiterated that although the organization remains opposed to recognition, “We’re not actively making calls, but we responded to calls that we received.” Similarly, a representative of the American Jewish Committee stated, “We took no position on this resolution,” adding that in the past “we have been more assertive in communicating our message that this was not an appropriate vehicle to determine the truth of what happened.”
Both representatives told the Post that the “Turkish Embassy continued to reach out to the Jewish community in the US on the issue.” The Post explained, “Turkey has always looked to Israel and Jewish groups for help lobbying against the bill, a call readily answered by many organizations that have prioritized the Turkish-Israeli strategic relationship.” The Post attributes the change this year to recent strains in the Turkish-Israeli alliance.
The Post also notes that “the US Jewish community has reevaluated its stance on whether to call the deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Turks amid the chaos of WWI a genocide,” due to criticism “from inside and outside the community for not supporting the Armenian position.”

Friday 03/05/2010
Turkey did not seek Israel’s help in defeating the Armenian Genocide resolution, reports the Jerusalem Post. “In past years, Ankara had looked to Israel, and Jewish groups in Washington, to fight the resolution that came up almost every year,” writes the Post. For example, in 2007, the Turkish ambassador to Israel told the Post that “Turkey expected Israel to ‘deliver’ American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution.” Turkish officials did, however, meet with American Jewish groups, including the ADL, this year in order to enlist their support.
Meanwhile, in Israel, Meretz chairman Haim Oron called on the Knesset to recognize the Armenian Genocide, stating “the attempts to deny it and erase it from history is part of a campaign that has consequences for other denials.” The Post reports that “Due to the special relationship and close alliance between Israel and Turkey . . . Israel has avoided recognizing the Armenian genocide at all costs, and the government has in the past thwarted all attempts to promote such an official recognition.”

Thursday 03/04/2010
A Jewish-Armenian coalition has launched a petition to recognize the Armenian Genocide, report the Lexington Minuteman, Watertown Tab, and other Boston-area papers. The coalition was formed in reaction to the Anti-Defamation League’s lobbying for the Turkish government to prevent affirmation of the genocide. “Many in the Jewish community were shocked that the ADL and other national Jewish organizations would actively work to deny another people’s genocide,” explain the coalition’s co-founders. “Coalition members cite the double standard of the Holocaust being universally recognized, while affirmation of the Armenian Genocide is subordinated to politics.”

Wednesday 03/03/2010
Billerica, Massachusetts declined to join the ADL’s No Place for Hate program due to the ADL’s position on the Armenian Genocide, reports a town blog. Board of Selectman Bob Correnti explains that he opposed joining because, “I felt the position of the ADL contradicted the basic tenet of their purpose which was to remind us not to forget the truths and lessons of history.”

Tuesday 03/02/2010
=The JINSA report opposing the Armenian Genocide resolution has been published by the Armenian Weekly. “The Armenian resolution – driven largely by the Armenian American community – should be opposed and defeated,” states the report. “The Congress of the United States is not the place to debate the history of other people in other times . . . The Ottoman and Soviet Empires are gone; Turkey and Armenia are independent countries. Their governments have to find whatever understanding and accommodation are possible. Meddling by Congress – particularly when Turkey has fallen out of political favor – won’t help.” JINSA issued its statement shortly after meeting with the Turkish ambassador and other Jewish organizations, including the ADL.
=American Jewish groups, including the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), met with Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan, to discuss the Congressional resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide, among other issues, reports Hurriyet Daily News. One day after the meeting, JINSA released a report entitled, “The Armenian Resolution Should be Opposed and Defeated.”
=Aysor reports that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan will meet with representatives of American Jewish organizations, including the ADL, AJC, and AIPAC, when he visits the United States on April 14th. “The announced meeting is especially important as it comes to be held before April 24,” writes Aysor. “Erdogan appears to have hoped to receive support by the Jewish lobby.”

Saturday 02/27/2010
The ADL still opposes a Congressional resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide, according to a statement issued by Media Relations Deputy Director Todd Gutnick. The ADL “firmly believes a Congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide is counterproductive. Now that Turkey and Armenia are engaged in diplomatic discussions, we believe it is up to the two countries to work toward reconciliation,” according to the statement issued to a Turkish journalist.

Tuesday 02/16/2010
Andrew Tarsy, former New England Regional ADL director, will speak on “Justice and Genocide: the Armenian tragedy, the power of words and the prospects for prevention” at the University of Maine at Augusta campus on March 8th. Tarsy, who was fired by the ADL for his support of Armenian Genocide recognition, has since received numerous honors for his principled stand.

Wednesday 02/03/2010
A coalition of Boston-area Jewish and Armenian groups and community members has initiated a campaign to recognize the Armenian Genocide by posting an online petition on the activist web site Individuals can fill out a simple online form to have letters advocating recognition sent to the signer’s Congressional representatives, as well as to President Obama. The petition also provides a link to resources and background on the Armenian Genocide.
The coalition’s Jewish members strongly oppose the Anti-Defamation League’s lobbying for the Turkish government against recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and have committed themselves to working with Armenians for affirmation of the genocide. Rabbi Howard Jaffe of Temple Isaiah in Lexington initiated the group, and was joined by Rabbis Ronne Friedman and Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel, Boston.
Click Here to sign the petition.
Read the Armenian Weekly article about the campaign.

Tuesday 01/19/2010
Turkey’s Today’s Zaman reports that the ADL “has made it clear that there has been no change in its stance regarding Armenian allegations of genocide.” According to the paper, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman “insists that two resolutions pending in the US Congress endorsing the genocide claims would not help resolve the dispute between Turks and Armenians.”
=One of the world’s powerful Jewish organizations – Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said adoption of the ‘genocide’ resolution by House of Representatives and Senate wouldn’t be suitable for the moment,” reports the Azeri news service APA. Rather, the ADL supports “the idea of joint historic commission proposed by Turkey.

Saturday 01/16/2010
Jess Hordes, director of the ADL’s Washington office, reiterated that the ADL remains opposed to a Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. In an article published in the Jerusalem Post, Hordes said, “We continue to believe that there was a genocide, but there’s no useful purpose in the House or the Senate passing a resolution on it at this time. It’s a principled post that the better way of addressing this issue is for the Armenians and the Turks to move forward with this through the historical commission.” Hordes also stated that the ADL’s relationship with the Turkish embassy “has been, and I think will remain, close.”
= Ara Nazarian, co-chair of the Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts, has called on Martha Coakley to issue “an unequivocal and forthright statement” addressing her acceptance of an award from the ADL. “It is unfathomable that Coakley and her team would be unaware of the scandal and would accept an award from an institution engaged in blatant genocide denial. Would she have accepted an award from an organization with a shaky stance on the realities of the Holocaust?”

Thursday 01/14/2010
Massachusetts Attorney General and candidate for the U.S. Senate Martha Coakley is being criticized for having accepted an award from the ADL in the fall of 2007, while the ADL was being widely criticized for denying the Armenian Genocide. David Boyajian told the Watertown Tab that Coakley should not have accepted the award and called on her to give it back. “I’m sure she knew the ADL was applying a double-standard,” he said. Coakley is running for the seat of the late Ted Kennedy, a solid friend of the Armenian community. Newspapers in neighboring towns, including Newton and Lexington, have also published the Tab story.

Friday 01/08/2010
In an article chronicling the rise of J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” advocacy group, Kaitlin MacKenzie writes, “ Political groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL . . . have long commanded the attention of U.S. politicians and policy makers.”
These organizations “tend to toe a right-wing line in staunch support of Israel,” she writes, and “often lobbied on Turkey’s behalf against the Armenian diaspora’s interest groups, since Turkey was a staunch friend to Israel (especially militarily).”
J Street, she notes, “gave financial support to members of Congress both for and against the legislation that would label the 1915 events as genocide.” J-Street’s policies, she concludes, “while at times boding well for Turkey, might also have an averse effect . . . whether J Street will stand up for Turkey’s interests in Washington remains to be seen.”


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