ANCEM Letter to the Boston Globe

Submitted: August 2, 2007

Dear Editor:

Abraham Foxman's remarks about the Armenian Genocide are disappointing and unconscionable ["Antibias effort stirs anger in Watertown" 8/1/2007]

For the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization with a 94 year history of dedication to eradicating anti-Semitism, bigotry and extremism, to plead ignorance about the Armenian Genocide is unfathomable. The facts of the Armenian Genocide are well documented by genocide and Holocaust historians around the world, many of whose writings are available as educational resources on the ADL's own website.

Perhaps more troubling, though, is his argument that by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide one serves as an "arbiter of someone else's history" or his statement that "we're not a party to this and, and I don't understand why we need to be made party." Genocide -- be it the Armenian Genocide, Jewish Holocaust, Cambodian Genocide, or the ongoing genocide in Darfur -- is not an Armenian or Jewish or Cambodian or Sudanese issue. Genocide -- and its denial -- is a scourge on all humanity and only through collective vigilance can it be stopped. That is exactly why Watertown and cities across the U.S. have endorsed programs like "No Place For Hate" -- to raise a united, community campaign against the hatred and intolerance that breeds racism and, in extreme cases, genocide. And that is why a majority of House Members -- including all Members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation -- today have cosponsored Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.106).

Foxman's statements reflect a fundamental disconnect from the core values of "No Place For Hate" and the ADL. His arguments are no different than Turkey's standard diatribe denying the Armenian Genocide. It is unfortunate that he continues to defend an unrepentant perpetrator of genocide for what can only be described as short-term political expediency.

Watertown "No Place For Hate" Co-Chairman Will Twombly got it right. "Not to condemn the genocide and fully recognize it for what it was, I personally find inconsistent with the mission of No Place for Hate," stated Twombly. Anything less than an official public statement by "No Place for Hate" speaking honestly about the Armenian Genocide and calling upon Foxman to renounce his denialist agenda would compromise and render ineffective a valuable organization with a noble mission.

Sharistan Melkonian
Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts