WATERTOWN, MA – The Watertown, Massachusetts Town Council voted unanimously this evening to cut ties with the Anti-Defamation League, citing concerns about ADL National Director Abraham Foxman’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and opposition to Congressional legislation reaffirming that crime against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts (ANCEM).

“The ANCEM applauds the Town Council for stating clearly and unequivocally that there is no place for Armenian Genocide denial in Watertown,” stated ANCEM chairperson Sharistan Melkonian “We hope that this action will prompt the ADL and its National Chairman Abe Foxman to rethink their flawed policies on this issue, recognize the Armenian Genocide and end their efforts to stop its reaffirmation by Congress.”

The proclamation, introduced by Watertown Councillor-At-Large Marilyn Petitto Devaney, stated: “The Town Council has become aware that the ADL, denies the facts of the horrific Armenian Genocide, that occurred from 1915 to 1923, in which the premeditated, systematic and deliberate murders of more that one and one half million Armenians from 1915 to 1923 took place, as well as continuing to deprive the Armenian people of a right to their history - The Town Council can not continue to join with such an organization.”The proclamation went on to reaffirm Watertown’s commitment to “celebrate its diversity and continue to honor its tradition of tolerance and respect for all people for which it has always been known.”

Watertown residents spoke poignantly before the capacity crowd in attendance to express their concerns about local affiliation with the ADL’s genocide denial policies, moving Town Council members to take decisive action and encourage other Massachusetts towns to follow in their footsteps.

In her remarks before the Town Council, ANCEM representative Grace Kulegian stated that “We are confident that the just resolution of this matter will deepen Watertown’s commitment to tolerance, strengthen No Place for Hate’s ability to speak with real moral clarity, and - for the sake of its members and its own future as an organization - end the ADL’s truly unfortunate affiliation with genocide denial."

Complete coverage of the Watertown Town Council decision will be provided shortly.

The Watertown - ADL controversy erupted in recent weeks, with Boston area civil rights advocates, and local Armenian and Jewish American community members expressing disappointment and outrage at recent statements by ADL National Director Abe Foxman denying the Armenian Genocide. Editorials and community letters in the local Watertown Tab and Boston Globe cast a shadow on the credibility of the anti-racism program, No Place for Hate, due to its affiliation with the ADL.