2007.08.21 -- Boston Globe: Letters to the Editor Published on August 21, 2007

The ADL defends itself and fires one of its officials

THE ADL'S Aug. 20 ad in the Globe, under the heading "An Open Letter to the New England Community," states, "We believe that legislative efforts outside of Turkey are counterproductive to the goal of having Turkey itself come to grips with its past. We take no position on what action Congress should take on House Resolution 106." These sentences seem contradictory. The Anti-Defamation League either opposes legislative efforts outside Turkey, or it has no position on the topic. It cannot do both.

The same ad states, "The Jewish community in Turkey has clearly expressed to us and other major American Jewish organizations its concerns about the impact of congressional action on them." However, we have seen many articles describing the historical tolerance and support of Turkey for its Jewish minority. So, if this is true, then what is the worry? And if it is not, then ADL might want to consider a No Place for Hate program there.

The ad maintains, "We are also keenly aware that Turkey is a key strategic ally and friend of the United States and a staunch friend of Israel." We are talking about an issue of human rights, where ADL or any other human rights organization can ill afford to set a precedent as to which issue is politically conducive to support.


IF THE national ADL truly wishes to aid the interests of Israel and Turkish Jews, it should learn from the experience of Milton, a No Place for Hate community. When swastikas were drawn on a local synagogue, Temple Shalom, on the day of Holocaust memorial services, the entire interfaith community came together to support the Jewish community. Every house of worship showed the same poster in front of the building, declaring "Stand Together Milton." A hate crime became a cause for building bridges and strengthening a community. Young people witnessed different community institutions with seemingly different missions uniting in defense of one member.

The welfare of one people depends on the ability and character of all people to stand up against injustice. If the national ADL cannot respond to the very dialogue that it helped create, then it has been rendered obsolete and morally irrelevant.


IN A time when people are called heroes just for doing their jobs, Andrew Tarsy stands out as a hero in the true meaning of the word ("ADL fires local leader who broke ranks; Disagreed with group on Armenian genocide," Page A1, Aug. 18). His willingness to stand up to the national ADL's politically self-serving refusal to apply the term "genocide" to the early-20th-century Turkish systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians, and to publicly state that it was indeed genocide, cost him his job as New England regional director of the ADL. Tarsy answered to a higher moral good. He should be nominated for the Kennedy Library's Profile in Courage award.