ANC of Canada PR: Turkey Pressures Israel

Armenian National Committee of Canada
August 30, 2007

Turkey Pressures Israel to Persuade US Jewish Groups to Deny the Armenian Genocide

Ottawa—The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Armenian Genocide denial campaign and its lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government to block the passage of the United States House of Representatives and Senate resolutions to recognize the Armenian Genocide has turned into an international issue causing turmoil in human rights organizations and in Jewish communities. The upheaval came to light after the town council of Watertown, Mass. voted unanimously to cut its ties with the ADL and its nation-wide program “No Place for Hate.”

Many regional members have since resigned from the ADL board of directors and broke ranks with its national director Abraham Foxman.

Twelve Boston-area Jewish organizations issued a joint statement urging the ADL to “reconsider” its position and appealed to Jews to “never forget the Armenian Genocide and maintain our guard against those who deny its occurrence.”

A large number of human rights activists, journalists, genocide and Holocaust experts, politicians and historians in the US and in Israel have condemned the ADL for its unjustifiable stand on the Armenian Genocide.

Seeing that his position is untenable, and to avoid further criticism, embarrassment and damage, on August 24 Foxman issued a carefully crafted statement modifying the ADL stand. “On reflection, we have come to share the assessment of former Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., that the consequences of the painful events of 1915-1918 were indeed tantamount to genocide,” the statement read.

Within hours after the statement was issued the Turkish government went on the offensive and demanded the Israeli government to “deliver” American Jewish organizations and to ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel Namik Tan said: “Israel should not let the [US] Jewish community change its position. This is our expectation and this is highly important, highly important. On some issues there is no such thing as ‘Israel cannot deliver.’”
Prof. Jack Nusan Porter, treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and author of “The Genocidal Mind” and “Facing History and Holocaust” called Turkey’s pressure on Israel “blackmail.”

Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) said: “We hope that the Israeli government, as a sovereign state, and Jewish organizations will not give in to the Turkish Government blackmail and the use of the Jewish community of Turkey as political hostage. Such immoral behaviour by a government which is known as one of the worst violators of its minorities’ and of basic human rights should not be tolerated by the civilized world.”

The ANCC director expressed the Canadian-Armenian community’s and the ANCC’s gratitude to Jewish leaders and organizations who have “shown moral and ethical courage by standing up for truth and justice in their efforts for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

“We are confident that the excellent, positive and constructive relationship between the Jewish and the Armenian people will not be affected by this controversy. Our two people have too many common bonds to allow one individual’s misguided and shortsighted decisions to derail us form our joint mission for the betterment of mankind and of making the ‘Never Again’ concept a reality,” stated Babikian.