2007.08.20 -- ANCEM Letter to NPFH-Arlington

August 20, 2007
Dear Sirs:

I am writing to receive clarification from the Arlington No Place For Hate (NPFH) Steering Committee concerning the Armenian Genocide, its recognition by Congress and your affiliation with the Anti-Defamation League, which continues to promote a policy of genocide denial.

Statements published in the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and The New Republic by Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, calling into question the Armenian Genocide and expressing reservations concerning its acknowledgment by the U.S. Congress, have been a source of great concern to all people who seek to build a world without genocide. It is astonishing to us that Mr. Foxman, who heads an institution whose goal it is to fight intolerance against all races and religions, would claim ignorance about the Armenian Genocide. It appears to be a willful ignorance. Moreover, his repeated references to the tragedy as simply an "Armenian" concern or "someone else's history" goes against the very foundation of NPFH's community-wide approach to seeking to end hatred, bigotry and intolerance.

As we are sure you are aware, in the face of the ADL's genocide denial, the Watertown Town Council voted unanimously on August 14th to cut ties with the ADL's No Place for Hate Program. Subsequently, the New England ADL took the courageous decision to call upon its national leadership to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide and to support Congressional Armenian Genocide legislation. Rather than using the New England ADL's plea as an opportunity to revisit and reverse their genocide denial policy, the ADL National leadership fired New England ADL Regional Director Andrew Tarsy, precipitating the resignation of two Regional Board Members and creating a firestorm of controversy which has significantly tarnished the reputation of this civil rights organization. Since these actions the National ADL has published an Open Letter to the New England Community which, again, utilizes euphemistic language when referring to the Armenian Genocide and falsely claims that that the organization does not take a position on Armenian Genocide legislation.

Affiliation or acquiescence with Mr. Foxman and the ADL National's unconscionable position on the Armenian Genocide seriously undermines the credibility of the NPFH in its efforts to battle against bigotry and intolerance in Arlington.

We respectfully call upon the Arlington NPFH leadership to sever its ties with the ADL until such time as the ADL National leadership issues a public statement acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and calling for the adoption of Congressional legislation (H.Res.106 / S.Res.106) recognizing this crime against humanity.

We look forward to your reply and working with you on future anti-bigotry programs to ensure that respect for diversity and tolerance continue to flourish in Arlington.


Sharistan Melkonian
Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts
47 Nichols Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472