Jewish Voice for Peace Letter to Massachusetts Human Rights and Relations Commissions

September 27, 2007

Dear Massachusetts Human Rights and Relations Commissions,

We at the Boston chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace are writing to the Massachusetts human rights organizations to applaud those communities that have severed ties with the Anti-Defamation League in the face of their failure to support US recognition of the Armenian genocide. We encourage all the cities and towns to join the debate. We ally with those in the Jewish community who have acted to hold the ADL accountable--asking whether they are primarily a civil rights/human rights organization or as a columnist characterized them in the Jerusalem Post, a “player on Israel's diplomatic field.” ADL leadership has chosen to prioritize Israel’s strategic alliance with Turkey and demean the lifelong Armenian effort to gain US and world recognition by calling it a “counterproductive diversion.” As the controversy over the Armenian genocide has shown, the ADL cannot both sponsor “No Place for Hate” (NPFH) and represent the Israeli government.

We pose this question to all the cities and towns: Given the national ADL’s cavalier attitude toward the suffering of others, does the ADL have the moral authority to represent the meaning of NPFH, that is, can we trust their commitment to the safety and dignity of all of us? Residents in Watertown (and then in Arlington, Newton and Belmont) have answered that question in the negative, severing their ties with NPFH until the national ADL agrees to support the US resolution recognizing the genocide. We hope other communities will do the same.

This controversy has not only put a spotlight on the Armenian genocide and the ADL, but on the diverse Jewish population, where many have voiced their outrage at the ADL’s position. Jewish Voice for Peace is part of that healthy and vibrant debate which has made clear the ADL has neither the moral authority nor the ability to speak for US Jews.

As human rights groups, you understand the need to build alliances and to recognize the humanity of all the residents in your cities and towns. We ask that the Massachusetts Association of Human Rights and Relations Commissions plays an important role in raising these issues in all the communities your members represent.


Dr. Alice Rothchild,
Martin R. Federman
Co-chairs, Boston Chapter,
Jewish Voice for Peace

read more


Sunday 9/30
= Read the Op-Ed by Khatchig Mouradian in this week's Jewish Advocate entitled "What would Lemkin do?" Mouradian writes: "Countless Jewish organizations, scholars, journalists, bloggers and activists have come out fiercely to criticize the ADL’s hypocrisy. They have all asked the right question – What would Lemkin do? – and have come up with the right answer, thus honoring Lemkin’s legacy. Perhaps rather than rushing to appease the Turkish government, the ADL would do well to ask the right question, too. "
= Read the letter sent by the Boston Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace to Massachusetts Human Rights and Relations Commissions. Here's a passage: "ADL leadership has chosen to prioritize Israel’s strategic alliance with Turkey and demean the lifelong Armenian effort to gain US and world recognition by calling it a “counterproductive diversion.” As the controversy over the Armenian genocide has shown, the ADL cannot both sponsor “No Place for Hate” (NPFH) and represent the Israeli government. We pose this question to all the cities and towns: Given the national ADL’s cavalier attitude toward the suffering of others, does the ADL have the moral authority to represent the meaning of NPFH, that is, can we trust their commitment to the safety and dignity of all of us? Residents in Watertown (and then in Arlington, Newton and Belmont) have answered that question in the negative, severing their ties with NPFH until the national ADL agrees to support the US resolution recognizing the genocide. We hope other communities will do the same."

Saturday 9/29
=At the end of a conversation with Charlie Rose, Turkish prime minister Erdogan mentions the "so-called" Armenian genocide and speaks about the need for a joint commission to investigate the issue, emphasizing that there is no evidence suggesting that here was a genocide. You can watch the interview and place a comment here.

Friday 9/28
=Zaman reports that after meeting Turkish prime minister Erdogan in New York, ADL national director Abraham Foxman has stated "I believe this issue should not be debated at the US Congress or the French National Assembly." He has also expressed hope that "Armenians would somehow respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission of academics to investigate what happened in the past," and stated that "US congressmen are not historians. Therefore, they cannot judge what happened in history."
=The Turkish Daily News reports that, in a meeting with representatives of the US Jewish community, Turkish prime minister Erdoğan has "asked for the continuation of the Jewish lobby's long time support against the Armenian genocide allegations." The TDN report concludes: "Although ADL National Director Abe Foxman issued a statement saying that his words were misunderstood, Turkey still felt threatened by this move of the ADL. Foxman, who was also in meeting, talked to the press afterwards. This time he openly stated, “Neither the French parliament nor the American Congress is the place to discuss Armenian allegations.” Foxman also said that he hopes Armenians can call a commission into being to solve this long-standing problem with Turkey."
=The Watertown Tab reports that in a letter to the ADL, Will Twombly, former co-chairperson of Watertown’s “No Place for Hate” committee and fellow co-chair Sgt. David Sampson of the Watertown Police Department have stated that “It was impossible to continue our committee’s work, and to regain our credibility in the community, while affiliated with the ADL under these circumstances. [...] We cannot fully believe the sincerity of the ADL’s stated goals – to work for the fair and equal treatment of all – until you have completely and wholeheartedly supported the Armenian people in their quest to have their history acknowledged by all nations of the world.”

Thursday 9/27
=NTV MSNBC reports that during a meeting with representatives of the US Jewish community, including the ADL, Turkish prime minister Erdogan has rejected "allegations the Ottoman Empire committed an act of genocide against its Armenian citizens in 1915. [...] The Prime Minister also recalled Turkey’s call to Armenia to establish a joint commission to study historical facts, and stated that Turkey expected the Jewish community to confirm its support against the baseless allegations." After the meeting, ADL national director Abraham Foxman stated that the "issue [of the Armenian genocide] should not be the subject of a resolution in the US Congress" and added that "This is not a political matter and those in the Congress are not historians."
=Read Eric Eid-Reiner's commentary in the Lexington Minuteman in which he states that "As a Jew and citizen who values the ideals of the No Place for Hate committee's work, and as someone who like the vast majority of genocide scholars and historians acknowledges the Armenian genocide as precisely that - a genocide," . . . "I have come to conclude that disassociation from the ADL's No Place for Hate program is the right choice for our town." He adds, "If an anti-prejudice group in town were affiliated with an organization that denied that the Holocaust was a genocide . . . it would pain me deeply that my town would be willing to stay with this group."
=The Lexington Minuteman reports that due to an overflow crowd of more than 130 "passionate and strong-willed Armenian-American" residents, the Lexington Board of Selectmen was forced to move its meeting from town hall next door to Cary Memorial Hall in order to accommodate the numbers. Community members, both Armenian and Jewish, urged the board to sever ties with the ADL, while acknowledging the good work done by the local NPFH committee. "Clearly there is something worth preserving because of the work they have done," said Lexington resident Noubar Afeyan, adding, "It's important to return to the uncompromised status of this very important program." LHS student Nairi Kachatourian told the board, "Real tolerance is only possible when you don't discriminate. The ADL does." The Board also heard from Jill Smilow, chair of the local NPFH committee and member of the regional ADL board of directors, who said her group "wishes to have further dialogue" before making a recommendation on its status. The selectmen will make its decision at a later date.
=Announcement: Marilyn Devaney is hosting a Public Meeting on ADL/NPFH TODAY, Thursday, September 27, at 7:30pm, at the Watertown Middle School (68 Waverly Ave, Watertown) . Read Devaney's Open letter to the Citizens of Watertown for more information.

Wednesday 9/26
=Announcement: The location of the meeting of the Medford Human Rights Commission scheduled for TODAY, SEPTEMBER 26 at 5:30PM has been MOVED to the HYATT HOTEL across the street from Medford City Hall (85 George P. Hassett Drive).

Tuesday 9/25
= Announcement: A meeting of the Medford Human Rights Commission to discuss the ADL/NPFH issue will be held on SEPTEMBER 26 at 5:30PM at the Medford City Hall, Room 201 (85 George P. Hassett Drive). This meeting is primarily for Medford residents.
=In a follow-up article in the Boston Phoenix, Wendy Kaminer writes about "the similarities between [...] members of the Armenian community today who brook not the slightest equivocation about the moral imperative to label them victims of genocide, and Turkish officials who recently tried to ban a conference on the Armenian genocide question." She concludes that "obviously one person’s hate speech is another person’s truth." The Phoenix is accepting comments on her article.

Monday 9/24
= Announcement: A meeting of the Lexington Board of Selectmen to discuss the ADL/NPFH issue will take place TONIGHT, SEPTEMBER 24 at 7:30 pm in the Selectmen’s meeting room at Town Hall, 1625 Massachusetts Ave. The Selectmen are NOT expected to take a vote on the issue tonight -- the primary purpose of the meeting is to collect testimonials from town residents. This meeting is primarily for Lexington residents. Attendees are reminded that this is a town meeting and are asked to be courteous. It is important that Selectmen pay attention to the important message that is being delivered and not be distracted by unruly behavior such as speaking out of order, etc…
= An editorial on the Armenian Heritage Park in today's Boston Globe states: "Somewhere in Boston, there ought to be a remembrance of this act of mass murder against Armenians in what is now Turkey. This need is highlighted by the recent controversy over the refusal by the Anti-Defamation League to acknowledge the genocide. (The national ADL director changed his mind after protests by Armenian-Americans.) But the issue of siting is another question. Parcel 13 is not the place for this memorial." Letters to the Globe can be sent to .

Sunday 9/23
= Announcement: Devaney to Host Public Meeting on ADL Thursday, September 27, at 7:30pm, at the Watertown Middle School (68 Waverly Ave, Watertown) . Read Davaney's Open letter to the Citizens of Watertown for more information.
=The Turkish Weekly reports that "In Chicago, [Turkish Foreign Minister] Babacan met with representatives of US Jewish groups including the ADL and the American Jewish Federation. In the meeting, Babacan reiterated that passage of the resolutions would harm both Turkish-US relations and Turkish-Israeli relations. Representatives of the Jewish groups, including those of the ADL, insisted at the meeting that they were against the resolutions in the Congress. "
= In a letter to the editor published in the print edition of the Watertown Tab, David Boyajian writes: "ADL claims it cannot decide on Congress’s Armenian resolutions until after its national meeting in November. But ADL’s original anti-Armenian policies couldn’t have been formulated publicly at such a national meeting, otherwise ADL rank and file would have known of, and loudly protested, them years ago. No, top national ADL leaders concocted those anti-Armenian policies. Therefore, they can just as easily reverse them tomorrow."

Saturday 9/22

=In a joint opinion piece published in the Jewish Weekly entitled "Turkey Must Acknowledge Its Past", Peter Balakian and Deborah Lipstadt write: "It is time for Turkey to end its nine-decade campaign to erase the Armenian genocide. It is time to stop bullying and attempting to coerce states and organizations that engage history honestly. Such a campaign is immoral."

Friday 9/21
= In an article dated 09/20 in the Boston Pheonix, Wendy Kaminer asks "why should we encourage people [Armenians in this case] to feel so horribly victimized by evils visited upon ancestors who died before they were born?". The Phoenix is still accepting comments in response to the article. Watch Wendy Kaminer and Rachel Kaprielian discuss the issue on WGBH on 09/19.
= The Lexington Minuteman reports that the town's Board of Selectmen will take up the issue of Lexington's association with the ADL's No Place For Hate program at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 24. The board will hear from concerned residents of Lexington during its public comment session. The board will also hear from the No Place for Hate Committee on what will be its next steps. At the NPFH Committee meeting on Friday morning, Lexington resident Laura Boghosian is reported to have stated: “Being sponsored by the ADL is inconsistent with your mission to combat bias and hate...While we applaud the efforts of those within the ADL working to overturn a despicable policy, we believe it an internal matter for that body. Our town should not be involved in the internal politics of outside groups.” The Lexington Board of Selectmen meets Monday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 pm in the Selectmen’s meeting room at Town Hall, 1625 Massachusetts Ave.
= Watch the NECN video on Newton cutting ties with the ADL. This evening news report features Mayor David B. Cohen of Newton, Nancy Kaufman of the JCRC and Sharistan Melkonian of the ANCEM.

Thursday 9/20
= The Lexington Minuteman reports that the town's No Place for Hate committee will meet on Friday, September 21, to hear from Armenian residents who want the committee to cut its ties with the ADL. Jill Smilow, the committee’s chairman, is also on the regional board of directors for the ADL.
= Read the Lexington Minuteman editorial which states that "by not suspending its involvement [with the ADL] or cutting it completely, the No Place for Hate committee could promote the type of rift in town it is supposed to prevent."
= Read Laura Boghosian's commentary in the Lexington Minuteman which makes the case for Lexington severing its ties with the ADL. She writes: "Lexington is a caring community that abounds with intelligent, active citizens. There is no reason we cannot independently, through a town-sponsored committee, continue human rights work without the baggage that comes with ADL sponsorship. Lexington should do the right thing and join our neighbors in severing ties with the ADL."
= The Arlington Advocate has published an article by Arlington residents who oppose the ADL's presence in their town because of concerns that are far broader than ADL's denial of the Armenian genocide.
= The Needham Times reports that the Board of Selectmen strongly supports the Needham Human Rights Committee’s letter to the Anti-Defamation League criticizing the national organization’s position on the Armenian Genocide.
= Read more about where Needham stands on this issue in this Boston Globe report.

Wednesday 9/19
= In a strongly worded editorial, the Newton Tab comes out in full support of Mayor David Cohen's decision to break Newton's ties with the ADL. The editorial reads: "Cohen made the right decision in opting to pull out of a program that is practically endorsing hypocrisy. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman continues to play with words when he says that the consequences of the Armenian massacre of WWI were “tantamount to genocide.” In too many instances, the media is letting him get away with his subtle distinction that allows him to sidestep directly labeling the tragedy a genocide. But Newton — along with Watertown and Belmont — is calling Foxman on his ambiguity. Cohen said in his statement that he supports the Human Rights Commission in its insistence that the national ADL take definitive action, including endorsing a congressional resolution appropriately labeling the genocide." The editorial concludes as follows: "We are proud that Newton has participated in the [No Place for Hate] program, and we are equally proud that our community severed ties in order to make a very important statement. The TAB applauds Mayor Cohen and the Newton Human Rights Commission for making what was likely a very complicated and difficult decision."
= Read the Boston Globe story on Newton dropping out of the ADL program.
= Read the Newton Tab feature on Genocide survivor and Newton resident Peter Bilezikian and his daughter Bethel Charkoudian.
= Read the Bostonist story on Belmont and Newton withdrawing from the ADL's No Place for Hate.
= A blog entry just posted in Blogger News Network compares/contrasts a speech given by a US State Dep't official on US-Turkish relations and how that speech was reported in the Turkish press. Through links, the article references several issues important to Armenians. At the end, the article ties Peres' phone call to Foxman on HR/SR 106 to Turkey supplying intel to the Israelis on suspected Syrian nuclear facilities.

Tuesday 9/18
= BREAKING NEWS: NEWTON OFFICIALLY BREAKS TIES WITH ADL. Mayor David B. Cohen has just announced his decision to adopt the recommendation of the Newton Human Rights Commission in full. On Sept. 11, the Newton HRC unanimously approved a motion recommending that the City of Newton “cease participation in the (Anti Defamation League’s) No Place For Hate program until national ADL takes definitive action consistent with the objectives stated in the Commission’s letter to Mr. Foxman dated August 24, 2007.” Read the Mayor's September 18th statement.
= Read the Newton Tab article on Mayor Cohen's decision to withdraw Newton from the ADL program.
= The Boston Globe has an update on the Newton's decision to drop out of the No Place for Hate program.
= Read the Belmont Citizen-Herald's article on the Selectmen's meeting yesterday.
= Read the Boston Globe article on the Belmont Selectmen's decsion to withdraw from the ADL program.
= In an article in the Turkish Daily News titled "Turkish Lobbies in U.S. Stepping up Efforts," Elif Ozmenek writes, "As Washington has increasingly been turning a blind eye to the red lines of Turkish foreign policy, pro-Turkish lobbies are looking for ways to strengthen their position in the United States." The article talks about the role Turkish figures with "good relations with the Jewish community" are considered "an important asset for the Turkish lobbies. Especially after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) acknowledged the 'Armenian Genocide' in August. Although the ADL's statement reaffirmed that the legislation pending in Congress to recognize the genocide is 'a counterproductive diversion' it created some concern in Ankara."

Monday 9/17
= BREAKING NEWS: The Belmont Board of Selectmen voted unanimously tonight to pull out of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) No Place for Hate (NPFH) program. Earlier this month, the Belmont Human Rights Commission held a meeting attended by more than a hundred Belmont residents of diverse backgrounds, and voted to send a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen to sever ties with the ADL. Check back tomorrow for details.
= Announcement: A meeting of the Belmont Board of Selectmen will take place THIS EVENING, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 AT 6:45PM at the Belmont Town Hall Auditorium (455 Concord Avenue, Belmont). At this very important meeting, the Selectmen will vote on the the future of the NPFH program and Belmont's relationship with the ADL. Belmont residents are encouraged to attend. Please arrive promptly at 6:45PM. Key Belmont documents & links: 1) Letter from Belmont HRC to ADL, 2) Belmont HRC meeting report, 3) Belmont HRC meeting video.
= Our friends at Jewcy have just posted a video of the ADL/Foxman protest held on September 7 in NYC. Read the report on the rally and watch Jewcy's pictures.

Friday 9/14
= Read professor Henry Theriault's powerful letter to the Newton Human Rights Commission in this week's issue of the Armenian Weekly.
= Read Narini Badalian's account of Foxman's NY lecture and the demonstration organized by
= Read Hairenik Weekly editor Khajag Mgrditchian's op-ed on the ADL controversy.
= "A group of Bedford residents of Armenian descent plan to ask selectmen to reconsider the town’s participation in the No Place for Hate program issue," reports the Bedford Minuteman.
= "On Monday, the Massachusetts Municipal Association — a partner with the New England Region Anti-Defamation League and sponsor of the No Place for Hate program — came out with a statement “respectfully calling” on the national ADL to unequivocally recognize the Armenian Genocide by supporting a Congressional resolution," reports the Watertown Tab.

Thursday 9/13
=Read the Armenian Weekly's detailed report on the Sept. 11 Newton Human Rights Commission meeting.
=A broad spectrum of Los Angeles area community groups have joined with national organizations in speaking out in support of Congressional legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide and in voicing their disappointment over the ADL's ongoing opposition to this human rights legislation, reported the Armenian National Committee – Western Region.
=In an article titled "Abe Foxman Defies His Own Advice" that appeared in the Sept. 15 issue of the Armenian Weekly, Narini Badalian writes, “'Be credible, be careful, but never be intimidated'” when struggling against anti-Semitism, urged Abraham Foxman on Sept. 6 to the nearly 300 mostly elderly Jewish members of the audience at the 92nd Street Y in New York City during 'Modern Anti-Semitism: A Conversation with Abraham Foxman and Stuart Eizenstat.'” She concludes, "Perhaps Mr. Foxman should take his own advice to be credible, to be careful, but never be intimidated. For, marginalizing the pain of another traumatized group is sacrificing moral credibility; working against a Congressional resolution that affirms a 'crime against humanity' is failing to be careful toward the legacy and lessons of the Holocaust; and paying ransom to perpetrators of genocide denial—the Turkish government—is being intimidated."

Wednesday 9/12
=Read the Newton Tab's report on the Newton HRC's decision to cease participation in NPFH. The following are some passages filed by reporter Chrissie Long:
In an emotionally-charged meeting in the cafeteria of City Hall, members of the Armenian American community pleaded with commissioners to follow the lead of Watertown and Arlington and sever ties with ADL. “We have been waiting for the recognition of our history all our lives,” said Cambridge resident Alik Arzoumanian, with tears forming in her eyes. “[After 92 years of waiting,] I don’t want to give ADL and No Place for Hate one more day…I am hurt and I am offended. We have to [send] this symbolic message in severing ties”...Only four Newton residents spoke in favor of remaining a member of No Place for Hate – all four are representatives of ADL. They asked commissioners to wait for them to discuss the issue with the national ADL at their annual meeting November 1. “How much longer are [we] going to wait?” asked advisory board member and Newton South teacher, Viviana Planine. “Not to recognize the Armenian genocide to me is injustice…And this injustice has been done for 92 years.”... [The commissioners] could not remained linked with an organization who turned history into a political chess match. “We have a moral obligation to witness and to record injustice,” said Planine. “Politics should not enter into it. This is a human rights issue, politics should stay out of it.”
=The Needham Human Rights Committee sent a letter to the ADL asking the latter to unambiguously acknowledge the Armenian genocide and support the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress. "In our opinion, the longer the national board waits, the more credibility the organization loses, and the more difficult it is for us as a committee for human rights to carry on our work in partnership with the ADL. We would greatly appreciate your timely and thoughtful attention to this matter as we determine what recommendation we will make to the Needham Board of Selectmen regarding our continuation with the 'No Place for Hate” program,' reads the letter.
= The Boston Globe reports: "In a move designed to prompt action by the Anti-Defamation League, the Newton Human Rights Commission voted unanimously last night to urge Mayor David B. Cohen to immediately cease the city's long-standing participation in No Place for Hate, an antidiscrimination program cosponsored by the league. Cohen said the ADL's failure to make a stronger statement in support of the genocide recognition "is itself an injustice." He said after the meeting he anticipated deciding within days about the program's future in Newton, which he said is home to the largest Jewish population in the state. " "Before nearly 100 people at City Hall, the commission heard from dozens of residents from Newton, Needham, Cambridge, and Watertown, many of whom said that by severing ties with the program, Newton would send a strong message in advance of the league's national board meeting Nov. 1 that has the genocide issue on the agenda."

Tuesday 9/11
= BREAKING NEWS: The Newton Human Rights Commission unanimously voted to “immediately cease participation in the ADL’s NPFH program, until the national ADL fully and unequivocally recognizes the Armenian Genocide and actively supports Congressional resolution HR106.” This decision will be presented as a recommendation to the Mayor of Newton, David Cohen, who will then make a final decision.

=Announcement: A meeting of the Newton Human Rights Commission will take place TODAY, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 at 7:30PM at the Newton City Hall (1000 Commonwealth Avenue). This very important meeting will make a recommendation on the future of the No Place For Hate program in Newton. Newton residents and friends are encouraged to attend. Please arrive promptly at 7:30PM.
=Announcement: the Newburyport Commission for Diversity and Tolerance will be meeting to discuss NPFH/ADL on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 3:00 PM. Location: Police Station at 4 Green Street. Newburyport residents and friends are urged to attend.
=In an op-ed that appeared in today's Southern California InFocus, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Freedom Foundation Lawrence Swaim writes, "American Jewish leaders are expected to docilely fall in line to promote the Israeli position [regarding the Armenian genocide]. But, in so doing, the ADL invalidates its own claim to be an independent American civil rights organization."
=In an op-ed in the Newton Tab titled "No Place for Undeserved credit", John DiMascio writes, "Amazingly, Foxman felt an overwhelming need to apologize to Turkey. Yet, he offers the Armenians no apology for decades of genocide denial." He adds, "It’s time for the ADL to stop the wordplay and answer this question, yes or no. Was it a genocide by the accepted United Nations definition of the word?"

Monday 9/10
=A letter on behalf of the Jewish community in Armenia calls on ADL to support the Armenian genocide resolution, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The letter was sent to Foxman by the Chairman of the Jewish community of Armenia Rimma Varzhapetian-Feller.
=Read the Watertown Tab's report on the Belmont Human Rights Commission's decision to sever ties with ADL.

Sunday 9/09
= The Jerusalem Post is still accepting online responses to Foxman's post. You can make your voice heard by going here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
= In a Jerusalem Post blog entry, Abraham Foxman writes: “[The] ADL became ensnared in the controversy in the New England area about how to describe those events…Armenian Americans in the Boston suburb of Watertown, angered by ADL’s position…targeted us. They threatened to cancel our anti-bias program, “No Place For Hate,” if we didn’t change our position and they engaged in a public campaign accusing us of denial for not using the term genocide…”
Foxman goes on to state that: “[The] ADL decided to revisit the issue and came [to the view that] the consequences of those actions against the Armenians were indeed tantamount to genocide…Some have asked why it took us so long to say so. The answer is ... for us, there were competing moral principles at work. The security and wellbeing of Jews everywhere in the world is a priority for ADL…There was also our concern for the safety and wellbeing of Israel, whose relationship with Turkey is very critical.
Foxman continues, “While some in the Armenian American community welcomed our change of position, they remain publicly critical of our not endorsing the Congressional Resolution, which we continue to believe is counterproductive…" And concludes by stating "We are not apologetic about the way we have handled this sensitive subject. At each point of our decision-making we tried to be true to our principles and priorities.”

Saturday 9/08
=North Shore Sunday has published an extensive article on the ADL controversy and the Armenian genocide.
=A blog entry by Stiletto reports on the sponsored demonstration that was held in NY against Abraham Foxman. The article quotes Doug Geogerian: The anti-Foxman protest is the first of many that will bring Armenians and Jews together to fight for justice, said Doug Geogerian, 38, who sits on the board of the Eastern Region of the ANCA, a grassroots lobby that promotes Armenian-American issues. He marvels at how Foxman "is using the ADL and its reputation of having fought the KKK and neo-nazis, to collaborate with the Turkish government and deny the Armenian Genocide." Geogerian added, "Supporting Turkey benefits Israel. But there is also a cost - a cost in public integrity. Many Jews are starting to feel that the cost is too great."

Friday 9/07
= The Boston Globe and the Belmont Citizen-Herald both covered the Belmont HRC meeting. The Boston Globe reports: "The Belmont Human Rights Commission voted unanimously yesterday to recommend that selectmen quit the Anti-Defamation League-sponsored No Place For Hate program until the civil rights group recognizes the Armenian genocide as historic fact and supports federal legislation to have the US government officially acknowledge the atrocity. "If you have an organization that states that their purpose is to defend people, you can't choose only one," said Janet Boswell, a commission member… The meeting was punctuated with applause for citizens addressing the commission, but the panel received the loudest applause, and a standing ovation, when it passed the resolution."
=The Belmont Citizen-Herald reports: "The Human Rights Commission voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that Belmont withdraw from the No Place for Hate Program and sever all ties with the Anti-Defamation League. The committee cited the ADL’s failure to unambiguously recognize the Armenian Genocide and its continued opposition to Congressional resolutions recognizing the genocide…“We very much like the No Place for Hate campaign,” HRC chairwoman Laurie Graham said in an interview. “But the connection to the ADL makes it imperative that we part with it.” She said the group’s “sticking point” was the ADL’s refusal to support HR 106. Around 100 residents of Belmont and a few neighboring towns attended Thursday’s meeting…. Several Belmont Armenian-Americans gave voice to their frustrations…Pine Street resident Lenna Garibian spoke about her grandmother, who was 5-years-old when Turkish soldiers came to her house and told her to start walking. She did, with her mother and 3-year-old brother, across the Syrian Desert. Garibian’s great-grandmother died on that long journey. Just before she did, she told her daughter to take care of her little brother. She tried, Garibian recounted, but somewhere along the way, her brother’s hand slipped from hers. The guilt haunted her until the end of her days.In her remarks to the HRC, she said no Armenian “should sit with a revisionist Turkish historian… to discuss whether the genocide happened or not. The world knows. Turkey knows. [ADL director] Abe Foxman knows. This was a genocide.” "
=Talking about the Armenian genocide, israeli president Shimon Peres said, "None of the laws can change history. History is for the record. History can only be examined by historians," reports the Journal of Turkish Weekly.
="Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy has made a call to all Jewish institutions to stand against injustice targetting a friendly country, namely Turkey, in the U.S. Congress," reports the New Anatolian.
=Jewcy has posted photos from the NY protest against Abe Foxman.

Thursday 9/06
= BREAKING NEWS: The Belmont Human Rights Commission voted unanimously this evening to recommend to the board of selectmen that Belmont immediately sever ties with the Anti-Defamation League. It cited the ADL’s failure to unambiguously recognize the Armenian Genocide and its continued opposition to Congressional resolutions recognizing the Genocide.
= Announcement: A meeting of the Belmont Human Rights Commission will take place THIS EVENING, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 AT 7:00PM at the Belmont Town Hall Auditorium (455 Concord Avenue , Belmont). This very important meeting will make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen on the future of the No Place For Hate program in Belmont. Belmont residents and friends are encouraged to attend. Please arrive promptly at 7:00PM.
=Read Andrew Bostom's article about antisemitism in Turkey in today's issue of FrontPageMag. In the article, titled "Turkish Jew-Hate," Bostom says, "Amidst this atmosphere of chronic, openly espoused Antisemitism in Turkey-punctuated by the violent synagogue attacks of November, 2003, and met with craven silence by both political leaders in Israel, and major Jewish advocacy groups in the United States-a related subplot which concerns recognition of the Armenian genocide has been unfolding since March, 2007." He underlines that "[O]fficial Turkish governmental outrage and bullying is itself outrageous. Equally reprehensible is the behavior of Israeli political leaders, major American Jewish advocacy organizations, and the overtly dhimmi leadership of the vestigial Turkish Jewish community. This unholy alliance of "Jewish leadership" never condemns in public the poisonously Antisemitic discourse, or even violent acts committed in Turkey against Turkish Jews, yet, perversely is quick to apply pressure-notwithstanding the ahistorical and amoral connotations of these actions-to block recognition of the Armenian genocide, even within the United States."
=The Journal of Turkish Weekly posted on its website an article documenting "Israel's Approach to the Armenian Allegations." The article, originally published in 2003, demonstrates how "Israel has consistently refrained from acknowledging the Armenian claims. Israel even in the recent years officially declared that the 1915 Relocation and the following inter-communal clashes couldn’t be called ‘genocide’ or ‘holocaust’. Government representatives have never participated in the memorial assemblies held by the Armenians every year on 24 April to commemorate the ‘genocide.’"

Wednesday 9/05
=Announcement: Upcoming NPFH/ADL related meetings in Massachusetts
Needham: Human Rights Commission Meeting: Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 PM -- Police Station, 2nd Floor ( 99 School St )
Belmont: Human Rights Commission Meeting: Thursday, September 6, 7:00 PM -- Belmont Town Hall Auditorium ( 455 Concord Ave )
=The Jewish Advocate is conducting an online poll asking readers "Is the Jewish community ready to move past the Armenian genocide debate, or are there still issues -- like the congressional resolution-- that need to be resolved?"

Tuesday 9/04

=Today at 7:30 a.m., the Bedford Violence Prevention Coalition (VPC) held its monthly meeting at the First Church of Christ Congregational with members of the Bedford Armenian community and activists from neighboring towns. The committee discussed the ADL’s ambiguous position on the Armenian genocide and decided to officially demand an explanation from the ADL. The committee agreed that it would then proceed accordingly, yet maintained that severing its ties with the ADL was still very much on the table, reported the Armenian Weekly.
=In an op-ed in FrontPageMagazine titled "Abe Foxman's Fear," Robert Spencer writes, "What can be gained by remaining silent about these atrocities? Only a new boldness by those who would emulate the Turks – as Adolf Hitler said, “Our strength lies in our intensive attacks and our barbarity...After all, who today remembers the genocide of the Armenians?” Of all organizations, the ADL, which speaks out so strongly and eloquently against Holocaust denial, should recognize this."
=In an op-ed in the Journal of Turkish Weekly titled "Time to say new things on the 'genocide' issue," Omer Taspinar writes, "When you have prominent leaders of the Turkish Jewish community writing letters to the ADL reminding them that the Turkish Jewish community’s well-being is jeopardized, this does not exactly come across as a ringing endorsement of Turkey’s democratic maturity." Taspinar says, "The official rhetoric of the government is simplistic: Leave history to the historians. What is, then, the logic behind accusing historians discussing the issue in an academic conference as traitors ready to stab the nation in the back?"

Monday 9/03
=In an op-ed in Turkish Daily News titled "Why Turkish-Americans are losing the battle?" Vural Cengiz, the president of the Azerbaijani American Institute and former president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, writes, "Finally the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accepted that the 1915 killings were an act of genocide. Executive Director of the America Jewish Committee (AJC), David Harris, wrote an article on Aug. 21 declaring that he would admire any Turk who admits the genocide. This is a big step to lose the political battle in Washington. With more than 226 members of the United States Congress supporting resolution 106, it looks like it will be accepted."
=In an interview with Today's Zaman, Soli Özel, a senior lecturer in international relations and political science at İstanbul Bilgi University, says, "the fact that they are changing their position in terms of how to judge the events of 1915 undermines that political position, at least vis-à-vis some Congress people who may be susceptible to their pressures." Answering a question on whether ADL's second anouncement was "a step back," the professor says, "The second announcement by the ADL was not a step back. However, one has to take into consideration … [that] the Jews are the most liberal community in the American political system; they take the lead in every humanitarian cause. And when even the entire country was in favor of a war against Iraq, most Jews had been against it as a community, in spite of the fact that many of the neoconservatives themselves were of Jewish origin. So you could not really as Turkey go on indefinitely expecting from such a liberally minded, sensitive constituency to go against its own better judgment in an age when the term genocide has been a bit depreciated, has been “desanctified,” if you will, not to really go the extra mile and say what happened really is genocide."

Saturday, 9/01
=In an interview with Daily Zaman, Shimon Peres is asked why the ADL changed its position on the Armenian Genocide. Peres replies as follows: “I think there was internal pressure and they departed from their traditional position. I hope they will return to their traditional position. I talked to [ADL Director] Mr. [Abraham] Foxman. He told me that they are going to publish an open declaration that would say two things; they won’t support the proposing of this issue before the American Congress, and secondly they would support the idea of [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to have a commission including historians from both sides to study the matter. I think that historians, not governments, should deal with history.”
=In an editorial titled "Turkey's Historical Amnesia" the Boston Globe addresses the legacy of the Armenian genocide. The editorial quotes Taner Akcam: "A new class of 'notables' had been created . . . as a result of the genocide and attendant looting. To return the looted property was unthinkable for them." The editorial criticizes Turkey's denial today: "It's unfortunate that the Turkish government won't show the same flexibility. In a telephone interview last week, Nabi Sensoy, Turkey's ambassador to the United States, affirmed the government's denial." And it stresses that "the resolution acknowledging a historical reality shouldn't cause controversy today."

Friday 8/31
=Read the Armenian Weekly's report on the Jewish-Armenian solidarity event at the State House in Boston yesterday.
=In an op-ed in the Salem (Mass.) News today, we read, "The major reason for the ADL's existence is to recall the genocide against Jews committed by Nazi Germany and to make sure it never happens again. An organization like that should be at the forefront of acknowledging and condemning similar acts against any other ethnic groups." In concludes, "Acknowledging the sins of the past is one small way to prevent similar tragic chapters in the future. The ADL ought to vigorously support that. Those who are putting pressure on the organization to do so are doing a favor for the group and future generations of the world."
=Speaking to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Turkey's ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy warned that the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the U.S. Congress will harm the U.S.-Turkish relations. "I cannot dismiss the fact the passage of the bill will impact certain relations between Turkey and the United States," he said. Sensoy also implied that Turkey's ties with Israel will also be affected if the bill passes. "We are expecting the American Jewish organizations to be neutral on this issue," Sensoy added. Stressing that he was quite disturbed about the remarks claiming that the Jewish community in Turkey might be harmed if the genocide resolution passes, Sensoy said, "They seem to be forgetting the history of Turks and Jews, which goes back at least 500 years. We've always had the best of relations between Turks and Jews and the Turkish Jewish community is part and parcel, and an integral part, of the Turkish community."
=In an op-ed titled "ADL's decision doesn't go far enough" in today's issue of the Jewish Journal, David N. Myers, professor of Jewish history at UCLA, says, "Unfortunately, [ADL's statement] does not go far enough in rectifying the ADL's mystifying policy on this question. For while acknowledging that the massacres were a genocide, the ADL and its national director, Abraham Foxman, continue to refuse to support the congressional resolution (HR 106) that officially recognizes the Armenian genocide." Myers asks, "[D]o not Jews, of all people, have a special responsibility to raise their voices at the sight or prospect of genocide?" He concludes by stating: "Foxman should follow the logic of his own statement and take the essential next step of supporting HR 106. ……In parallel, our local [i.e., California] Anti-Defamation League board should either announce its support for HR 106 --if not here in the heart of the Armenian diaspora, then where? -- or renounce the organization's declared mission "to secure justice and fair treatment to all." "
=The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy released a statement condemning Turkey's treatment of its Jewish community as a hostage.

Thursday 8/30
=In an op-ed published in the Jewish Journal, Steven M. Goldberg says, "As a result of the ensuing criticism, Foxman modified his position to acknowledge that 'there was an Armenian genocide,' but continued to refuse to support the congressional resolution that 'there was an Armenian genocide.'" He adds, "If a Christian leader were to refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust out of fear of antagonizing Germany, Jews everywhere would justifiably be outraged. We would reject as unacceptable the excuse that 'the Holocaust is only a Jewish issue.'" And concludes, "The failure of the Jewish establishment to support congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide is similarly shameful. Given our history, the Jewish people should be in the forefront of speaking out against genocide."
="Jews ... were among the first to fathom, chronice and warn the world about the Armenian genocide," writes Charles Jacobs, president of the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership, in an op-ed published in the August 31 issue of the Jewish Advocate. After talking about the key role played by Absalom Feinberg and Henry Morgenthau, he concludes, "The Jews of America, especially now, need to do what Henry Morgenthau and Absolom Feinberg knew to do. We need to reverse our missteps, to lobby Congress, and to strike a blow against Armenian genocide denial. The bill is HR/SR 106."
=In an article titled "Fighting the good fight, and living to tell the tale" (Jerusalem Post, August 29), Erik Schechter writes, "Four days after Tarsy was fired, the organization reversed course on the Armenian tragedy. Well, sort of. Rather than simply state its new position, the ADL's public letter on August 21 engaged in weird convolutions. It said 'the consequences' of what the Ottomans did to the Armenians were 'tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.' The vagueness of the letter troubled many. For others, the problem remained that the ADL still opposed Congressional recognition of the genocide."
=In an op-ed in The Jewish Week titled "Genocide: take a side," Rabbis Eric Yoffie and David Saperstein write, "We praise the ADL’s decision this week to join the global consensus in using the term genocide. But we are disappointed that the ADL affirmed its opposition to a congressional resolution commemorating the Armenian genocide."
=The ANC of Canada issued a press release calling Israel and Jewish American groups "not [to] give in to the Turkish Government blackmail and the use of the Jewish community of Turkey as political hostage." The statement expressed 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,” said ANCC executive director Aris Babikian.

Wednesday 8/29
On Thursday, August 30 (tomorrow) at 5:30pm, State Representative Rachel Kaprielian (Watertown) and Boston City Councilor Michael P. Ross (District 8) will host a press advisory to demonstrate the strengthening solidarity between the Jewish and Armenian-American communities as the they underscore the importance of officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government in 1915. The event will be held on the State House steps in Boston. The Armenian National Committee, the Armenian Assembly and Menk Calendar sent out special email alerts urging the public to attend this gathering. has called for a protest at Abraham Foxman's next appearance in Manhattan. "On September 6, when Abraham Foxman shows up at the 92nd street Y in Manhattan to deliver a solemn talk on antisemitism and Holocaust denial, we'll be there to remind Foxman that his struggle against "genocidal hatred" must start in the mirror, and that the Congressional resolutions are his chance to set things right. "
=The City Commission for Diversity and Tolerance in Newburyport, Mass. will send a letter to the Anti-Defamation League stating that it is "seriously considering" withdrawing from the ADL-sponsored No Place For Hate program unless the league unambiguously acknowledges the Armenian genocide and lobbies Congress to do the same, reported the Daily News of Newburyport.
=The Jewish Daily Forward reports that the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. Nabi Sensoy held talks with "key Jewish communal leaders." Sensoy told the Forward that Turkey was “very disappointed” by the ADL’s statement “because it changed the premise of everything we had achieved with the U.S. Jewish community.” In turn, Foxman told the Forward, “We want to make sure the Turkish government understands that the use of the word ‘genocide’ doesn’t change our position on what Congress needs to do." He added, “Some people don’t understand it. Some people understand it, and the Turkish prime minister is among them.” Foxman was referring to remarks Erdogan made to reporters Sunday, in which he said that “the wrong step that has been taken is corrected.”
In the same article, "Foxman told the Forward.....that the ADL had not changed its position on the congressional resolution. The ADL did, however, rehire its New England regional director, Andrew Tarsy, after firing him for publicly breaking with the national leadership and acknowledging the Armenian genocide. Foxman said he had made the decision after a series of conversations and that this effectively meant Tarsy agreed with the ADL’s opposition to the passage of a congressional resolution."
=The editorial in today's the Jewish Daily Forward deals with the ADL controversy, among other issues, and concludes, "If anything, the genocide collisions of August should make us re-examine the moral principles we have created for ourselves in the wake of the Holocaust, and consider whether they reflect the realities of today’s cold, hard world. In the end, political ethics based on slogans and theories, with no recognition of the ugly choices required in navigating this hard world, are no ethics at all. The task of the post-post-Holocaust era is to forge a new ethic for our new world."
=The Jerusalem Post published an excellent article on the ADL controversy. Quoted in the article are Nancy Kaufman, Aram Hamparian, David Cohen and Sevag Arzoumanian. According to the Post: "To this day, I don't think a single Armenian leader or organization has received a letter of apology from him, or even a phone call," said Arzoumanian. "That half-hearted acknowledgment of the genocide by Foxman was a step forward, but it didn't go far enough. An organization like ADL should stand with the Armenian people to demand congressional affirmation, anything short of that is blatant hypocrisy." "ADL comes into our town trying to teach our kids and citizens how to combat bias and hate speech, when the worst hate crime is genocide," said Arzoumanian. "The leaders of the organization were engaged in helping Turkey to cover up the genocide, which is a profound contradiction, and the worst kind of hate speech is genocide denial."
=An editorial in the Jerusalem Post, titled "Facing up to the past" harshly criticizes Israel's stance regarding the Armenian genocide. According to the editorial, "While Israel is acutely and understandably sensitive to its relationship with the current Turkish government, a key ally, the Jewish state, which rightly protests Holocaust denial wherever it occurs, cannot possibly be complicit in the denial of genocide elsewhere." The editorial concludes, "What is required in facing down those who would commit genocide, of course, is an alliance of all enlightened nations, taking concerted action to thwart such ambitions long before they are implemented. Striving for a better future, however, also requires acknowledging and internalizing the crimes of the past."

Tuesday 8/28
=Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard reports: "25,000 Jews live in Turkey, and Ankara was not unclever when it stated that they [the Jewish community] have nothing to fear after the ADL declaration. In Israel, President Shimon Peres assured that his country does not have control over the Jewish organization in the U.S. Those in Ankara are hesitant to believe this. Israel is not actually to blame for the ADL declaration, but it could have stopped it, according to Gul." (translated from German by Kristen Heim for the Armenian Weekly.)
=Tulin Dalaoglu writes in a Washington Times editorial today, "Turkish government officials have blindly refused to acknowledge that they need to watch what they say, lest their 'declarations' touch off reactionary violence. Last week, the U.S.-based advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League announced that what happened to the Armenians at the end of World War I is 'tantamount to genocide.' The group also made clear that they '[c]ontinue to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.' Mr. Gul responded by saying that Israel would pay a heavy price if it does not renounce the ADL's position."
Dalaoglu continues, "When Mr. Gul visited Washington earlier this year, he explained that 'the reason the Jewish lobby gives support to Turkey on this issue is clear: because Turkey's relationship with Israel is important to them.' Reading the ADL statement with this thought process in the background, that the bill '[m]ay put the Turkish Jewish community at risk,' feels like another joke. Many Turks would never hurt their Jewish community. But there are the reactionaries who could be spurred to violent anti-Semitic and nationalistic action by such comments. Turks must not allow controversy over Armenian genocide claims to hijack their relationship with Israel. The AKP must fight Turkish anti-Semitism. Israel and the Jewish lobby have worked with Turkey for decades to prevent the U.S. Congress from passing such bills. In return, Turkey failed to build its own lobby to do its own work."
=In a powerful op-ed published in the New York Sun today, contributing editor Hillel Halkin says, "For a Jewish state to abet the denial of genocide because it deems this necessary for the defense of Jewish interests is to make a mockery of the campaign against Holocaust denial." He adds, "Worse yet, it is to make a mockery of Jewish accusations against the world for standing by and doing nothing while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis."

Monday 8/27
=In an interview with Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian, treasurer of IAGS Prof. Jack Nusan Porter said that Turkey is resorting to blackmail to continue receiving the support of Jewish-American groups. “This is really just blackmail,” said Porter, author of "The Genocidal Mind" and "Facing History and Holocaust." “Turkey would never touch the Jewish community. It would never be accepted in the European Union if it touched any Jew in Turkey. The real question is: Why does this blackmail work? Why do people believe it? In February of this year, Turkish officials met with Jewish groups here in America and put out the word. Most of the Jewish leaders disagreed, but some of them—like the ADL leader [Abraham Foxman]—didn’t,” he added.
=Andy Tarsy has been rehired, reported the Boston Globe. "The national Anti-Defamation League rehired its New England regional director today, barely a week after firing him for publicly breaking with the nationalleadership and acknowledging the Armenian genocide that began in 1915," writes Keith O'Brien. "What mattered, Foxman said in an interview with the Globe today, was that the two men 'see eye to eye.' Tarsy was rehired, effective immediately, after conversations held over the last week. Both men said they are now moving forward together, rather than apart, and were happy to put their public rift behind them."
=Newspapers in Europe continue to cover the ADL controversy. Austrian national daily newspaper Der Standard reports: "Turkey is demanding that Israel put pressure on the Jewish organisations in the USA in order to prevent a resolution in the US congress recognizing the Armenian genocide." (Translated by Kristen Heim for the Armenian Weekly).
=The New England Ethnic News conducted interviews on the ADL controversy and the Armenian genocide resolution with representatives of the Jewish and Armenian media: Khatchig Mouradian, Raphael Kohan, Jirayr Beugekian and Bette Keva.
=The Commission for Diversity and Tolerance in Newburyport, Mass. will take a closer look this week at the city's involvement in No Place For Hate, a tolerance-promoting program that has come under fire because its sponsor, the Anti-Defamation League, has refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, reported the Daily News of Newburyport. Pearl Teague, co-chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee's Merrimack Valley chapter, said both Armenian and Jewish leaders in the area are upset that the ADL is not supporting the resolution.
=Turkey expects Israel to "deliver" American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I, Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namik Tan told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. According to the Jerusalem post, Tan said he understood that Israel's position had not changed, but "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‚'" he said, adding that this was one of those issues.

Sunday 8/26
Haaretz is conducting a poll on the ADL controversy.
=The Boston Globe published an article, titled "Armenian Campaign Aided by New Forces," about the genocide recognition efforts and the ADL controversy. Congressman Adam Schiff, Ambassador John Evans, authors Samantha Power and Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, among others, are quoted in the article.
=Haaretz reported today that "Following the ADL's statement, Turkey was feeling 'disappointed with its friends,' Erdogan said. President Peres told the Turkish prime minister that Israel does not control U.S. Jewish organizations, which pursue their own agendas." According to the paper, "Peres' efforts and the calming actions of the Israeli embassy in Ankara have helped ease tensions over the ADL's statement."
The Haaretz story goes on to say: “The Turkish media reported over the weekend that ADL President Abraham Foxman sent Erdogan a letter stating the ADL has "utmost respect for the Turkish people." "We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders in a difficult position. I am writing this letter to you to express our sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey in the past few days," Foxman's letter reportedly read.”

Saturday 8/26
=In an article entitled "ADL corrects ‘genocide’ mistake in letter, Erdoğan says", Daily Zaman reports: "The US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed regret over debates centered on its recent decision to recognize Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in a letter addressing PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Foxman said in his letter that the ADL had huge respect for the Turkish people and has never desired to put the Turkish people and their leaders into a difficult situation, expressing deep regret over what the Turkish people had to go through in the past few days since it agreed to recognize the alleged genocide, reversing a long-held policy, the Anatolia news agency said……"The wrong step that has been taken is corrected," said Erdoğan in subsequent comments to reporters. "They said they shared our sensitivity and expressed the mistake they made. … They said they will continue to give us all the support they have given so far," he added. "
"Reports in the Turkish media said the move followed a telephone conversation between Erdoğan and Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday….Reports said Peres then called ADL National Director Foxman. "We must encourage steps to create an atmosphere in which Armenia will respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission to assist the parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences…..The force and passion of the debate today leaves us more convinced than ever that this issue does not belong in a forum such as the United States Congress," the ADL's Thursday statement."
=News item in German: "The Turkish governement is putting presure on Israel upon the decision of a Jewish group in the USA to describe the Turkish persecution of the Armenians during the First World War as a genocide." (translated by Kristen Heim for the Armenian Weekly).
= The European Jewish Press reports: "A prominent US Jewish advocacy group has retracted its decision to call the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire a genocide, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday. "The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) has sent us a statement sharing our sensitivity on this issue," Erdogan was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying. "With this statement, they have retracted their previous erroneous step." "
=Erdogan threatened to return the award he received from ADL, reported Milliyet on August 25. Erdogan said, “I called Mr. Peres to express our disappointment. I told him that if ADL does not make the necessary correction, I will return the award they gave me. On one hand, they give an award to Turkish prime minister out of appreciation, on the other hand they declare that they recognize Armenian genocide claims. ‘If this is the case I have no use for their award; I will give it back’. I believe that with immediate intervention of Mr. Peres, ADL made the correction and sent me the new statement.”
=Turkish Daily News reports: "The ADL sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late Thursday to express its sorrow over the developments. “We have never wanted to put the Turkish people and its leadership in a difficult position. I write to you with the feelings of deep sorrow that I caused in recent days,” Foxman said. “They have sent a letter to us underlining that they share our sensitivities... And they confirmed that they will continue supporting us like they did in the past,” Prime Minister Erdoğan said Friday. He also said the ADL had rectified the mistake it committed by sending the letter."

Friday 8/24
=In an op-ed published in the Jewish Advocate and posted on ADL's website, Abe Foxman writes: "As long as ADL is an organization committed first to the safety and security of the Jewish people, we cannot in good conscience ignore the well-being of 20,000 Jews in Turkey. We will, however, continue to push the Turkish government in the right direction."
=ACTION ALERT: The Boston based Jewish Advocate has an online poll asking its readers: "Jewish groups and the Armenian genocide. How should Jewish groups respond to the issue of a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide?"
=Breaking News: Genocide and Holocaust scholars critize the ADL's position on the Armenian Genocide.

Thursday 8/23
=ADL released a statement reiterating its opposition to congressional efforts to recognize the Armenian genocide.
=ACTION ALERT: There is an online poll at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wesbite: "Should the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish organizations be helping Turkey defeat a U.S. congressional resolution recognizing the massacres of Armenians as a genocide?"
=An in depth report of the Human Rights Commission meeting in Newton on 8/21 is now available. The same article records the Arlington NPFH Committee's decision to suspend ties with ADL.

Wednesday 8/22
=The Boston Globe reported that "The regional board of the Anti-Defamation League voted today to ask the national office reinstate its fired leader, Andrew H. Tarsy, and urged the organization's national policy-making body to support a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide that began in 1915." According to Keith O'Brien of the Globe, Abe Foxman stated that ADL-National would "take up the congressional resolution issue when it meets in New York in early November."

Tuesday 8/21
=The Newton, Mass. Human Rights Commission (HRC) voted to urge the ADL to support congressional Armenian Genocide legislation, vowing to sever all ties with the organization if it failed to do so. That same evening, the Newton HRC wrote a letter to the NE Regional ADL. It was received in time to be shared at the N.E. Regional meeting the following day.

Monday 8/20
=The Arlington, Mass. No Place for Hate Steering Committee announced its decision to suspend ties with ADL, citing Armenian Genocide denial. The move came following an appeal by the ANC of Eastern Mass and local constituents. A formal statement was released to the ANCEM on 8/21.

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Bedford Minuteman Letters to the Editor: Published on September 28, 2007

Letter: ADL should acknowledge Armenian Genocide

Fri Sep 28, 2007

To the editor:

I am greatly concerned by Sharon Reidy's letter in the Sept. 20 issue of the Bedford Minuteman. Ms. Reidy accuses Armenians of a "political maneuver," of "scapegoating the ADL, as if the Jews had perpetrated the killings [of 1.5 million Armenians] rather than the Turks." She states that Armenian "protestors are demonstrating the very kind of intolerance and narrow vision that lead to situations of hate and violence."

Unfortunately, Ms. Reidy has apparently taken the bait of the ADL and its National Director, Abraham Foxman, in trying to pit Jews against Armenians. We Armenians have received the support of many Jewish groups and prominent Jewish individuals, as well as many Bedford residents, in calling on Foxman and the ADL to unambiguously acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and to support congressional legislation to the same effect. For fifteen years Foxman and the ADL have lobbied on behalf of the Turkish government against recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the US Congress. We Armenians, along with Jewish groups and others, are simply speaking out against Foxman's continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.

The only intolerance that we Armenians are demonstrating is an intolerance of human rights violations, genocide, and genocide denial. This is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. Genocide and genocide denial should not be tolerated, just as human rights violations should not be tolerated. We Armenians simply state that an organization that engages in genocide denial [the ADL] does not have the moral authority to sponsor human rights, anti-hate, and anti-bigotry programs. As many genocide scholars have noted, genocide denial is not only the highest form of hate speech, it is the final stage of genocide. In the words of Elie Wiesel, it is a "double killing."

Between 1915-23, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically and brutally exterminated, and the rest driven from their lands. Adolf Hitler himself cited the failure of the international community to prosecute the Turkish government for the Armenian Genocide as pretext to incite his generals when embarking on the Holocaust, when he stated "who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?" Staying quiet about Genocide only signals to others that they can get away with murder.

Sona Gevorkian
Old Billerica Road

Letter: Takes issue with ‘scapegoat’ assertion

Fri Sep 28, 2007

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor printed in the Bedford Minuteman, Sept. 20, 2007 entitled, “Saddened by Political Maneuver.”

I am one of the Bedford Armenian-Americans who met with the violence prevention coalition and town selectmen to address the issue about which Ms. Reidy writes.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is not being “scapegoated” as Ms. Reidy suggests but rather taken to task regarding the inconsistency of its policy on the Armenian Genocide and its mission statement as a human rights organization. We are not asking that the ADL lobby on behalf of the Armenian Genocide resolution but that it simply stop lobbying against it. This would seem a reasonable request of an organization that has promoted awareness of other genocides, e.g. Bosnia, Rwanda, Jewish Holocaust. It is improper for the ADL to pick and choose which issues to advocate and which to obscure based on self-interest. It is unacceptable that the ADL, a human rights organization, aids Turkey in its campaign of genocide denial while sponsoring a program in Bedford designed to combat hate crimes, violence and injustice.

Ms. Reidy implies that by calling on the ADL to cease its lobbying efforts, “Armenians” are potentially endangering the lives of others. There are many ethnic minorities currently living in Turkey, Armenians included, and there is a great deal of concern for their welfare, but suppressing the truth to appease a potential aggressor, surely cannot be the answer. In fact I would contend that if the genocide were openly acknowledged and Turkey forced to accept responsibility, its government would no longer feel the need to threaten citizens, countries, and organizations to be complicit in its denial. The notion that denying historical injustices for fear of possible retribution is somehow acceptable or justifiable is cowardly, immoral and ineffective. It does not provide true safety in the end and does more harm than good by feeding the appetite of those who victimize. I think we have witnessed enough of this.

As for Ms. Reidy’s assertion that the town was “barraged” by our group in addressing this concern, this is inaccurate. This issue was addressed appropriately, going through the proper channels. If Ms. Reidy attended the selectmen’s meeting, I think she would have been pleased to see the respectful and beneficial discourse that took place.

This matter is of great importance to many who believe in basic human rights for all. I am proud that in Bedford we are making a statement that this act of discrimination by the ADL is intolerable.

Kathryn Eskandarian
Dewey Road

Letter: Thinking Globally and Acting Locally

Fri Sep 28, 2007

To the editor

I am writing in response to the Bedford Minuteman article in last week’s issue entitled, “Armenian Group opposes ADL stance”. As one of the Bedford Armenians involved in this situation, I wanted to address the question of why such an international issue is even being discussed in Bedford. There are two major reasons why our group of Bedford-Armenian residents is doing so.

First, as Bedford residents we wanted make aware the local Violence Prevention Coalition (VPC), the Selectman and our fellow residents the hypocritical position of the sponsor of the “No Place for Hate” Program, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). ADL bills itself as human right organization, but the organization does not unambiguously recognize the Genocide of 1.5 million Armenian’s by Ottoman Turkey in 1915. Further, the ADL’s lobbying in Washington DC works against Armenian lobby trying to get a commemorative resolution passed by the Congress.

Second, Armenian-Americans have worked for over 30 years to get resolutions such as the one before Congress (H.R. 106) passed, but have run up against the powerful arm of the Turkish lobby. This year it is not just a foreign government, but an American-based, supposed human rights group, the ADL. Armenian-Americans, need the World’s, the Nation’s and thus Bedford’s help to identify and then immobilize the unjust actions of this organization.

As the bumper stickers around town say “Think Globally, Act Locally”. Well this is just a great example of the sentiment of that phrase. I realize that the actions may come at very small cost to Bedford. What I should end with is that it would not come at the cost of the anti-violence programs, just the “No Place for Hate” name and placards.

Michael Bahtiarian
155 Davis Road

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