The Armenian Assembly commends Andrew H. Tarsy, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) former New England regional director, and its regional executive committee for publicly acknowledging the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide. We also salute Stewart Cohen, former Chairman of Polaroid Corp. and Mike Ross, a member of the Boston City Council, for resigning from ADL’s regional board in a show of solidarity. In the face of Turkey’s ongoing worldwide campaign to deny the facts of this crime against humanity, Tarsy’s principled stand lives up to the promise and purpose of the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” program.

ADL’s “No Place for Hate” program asks that participants sign a “resolution of respect,” which sets forth the following guiding principles:

I pledge from this day forward to do my best to combat prejudice and to stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would hurt anyone or violate their civil rights. I will try at all times to be aware of my own biases and seek to gain understanding of those who I perceive as being different from myself. I will speak out against all forms of prejudice and discrimination. I will reach out to support those who are targets of hate. I will think about specific ways my community members can promote respect for people and create a prejudice-free zone. I firmly believe that one person can make a difference and that no person can be an “innocent” bystander when it comes to opposing hate. I recognize that respecting individual dignity, achieving equality and promoting intergroup harmony are the responsibilities of all people.

We deeply regret that Tarsy was fired for speaking the truth, and for challenging what he calls ADL’s “morally indefensible” decision to oppose Congressional legislation reaffirming the Armenian Genocide. U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, described those events as a “campaign of race extermination” against the Armenian people.

As a people who have been subjected to the most egregious and extreme form of hate – namely the attempted annihilation of their entire people – Armenians around the world stand with those who have faced similar atrocities. It is especially incumbent upon victimized communities to stand together against hatred, bigotry and denial.

American Jewish community organizations have been divided for too long and have an opportunity to demonstrate their moral leadership by standing with the Armenian people and answering Hitler’s chilling question: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” A first step would be to fully support Congressional legislation, which affirms the Armenian Genocide: H. Res.106 and S. Res.106, pending in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate respectively.