ANCEM Statement at Watertown Town Council Meeting

Presented by ANCEM Representative Grace Kehetian Kulegian
August 14, 2007

I rise today to briefly offer the Armenian National Committee's views on an issue of profound meaning to the Armenians of Watertown - and to all of our town's residents who share our commitment to tolerance, respect for diversity, and – ultimately - to creating a world without discrimination and genocide.

Like all of you, we regret that the controversy over the Anti-Defamation League and No Place for Hate has reached this point.

But we could not remain silent in the face of such blatant hypocrisy on a core issue of our common morality - in the face of those who preach tolerance but practice divisiveness and denial.

We had hoped to resolve this issue based on our shared values.

But for the sake of our town, for the sake of No Place for Hate, and on behalf of the many kind and decent members of the ADL, we have taken a principled stand for the truth.

We did not invite this controversy - sparked by the hateful words spoken on behalf of the ADL, by one its misguided officials Abraham Foxman.

Words far outside the proud tradition of the ADL and entirely alien to noble legacy of the American Jewish community as a powerful voice for truth and justice.

Words that have grown more offensive and insulting with each new interview and article.

Words that echo the denialist rhetoric of the Turkish government.

Hypocritical words that strikes at the very heart of the ADL's credibility, that undermine No Place for Hate's ability to make a difference, and, sadly, stain Watertown's reputation as a town that fosters diversity.

Although, we did not begin this conflict, we are committed to seeing this difficult issue through.

We are confident that the just resolution of this matter will deepen Watertown's commitment to tolerance, strengthen No Place for Hate's ability to speak with real moral clarity, and - for the sake of its members and its own future as an organization - end the ADL's truly unfortunate affiliation with genocide denial.

This is an issue that demands action - clear and decisive action by the Council.

On behalf of Watertown's Armenian community - and our century-long history of service and sacrifice for our town - we call upon the Town Council to dissociate itself from the ADL until such time that:

The Anti-Defamation League, through its National Director, Mr. Foxman, openly and unequivocally acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and supports congressional affirmation of this crime against humanity.

Thank you.