Northampton Human Rights Commission Letter to Foxman


September 28, 2007

Dear Mr. Foxman:

We are writing to inform you that the Northampton Human Rights Commission voted unanimously at our August 22, 2007 meeting to withdraw from the No Place for Hate program sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League in light of the ADL’s position on the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.

While we may sympathize with the complexities of current international relations, we cannot in conscience continue a relationship with an organization that claims to stand for full accountability for genocide, yet stops short of endorsing a Congressional resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide. We cannot endorse selective recognition of hate by an organization that claims leadership in creating a world where there is no place for hate.

This is an issue of direct relevance to citizens of our city and region who include survivors of the genocide as well as descendents of Armenian victims. Acknowledging the truth about the Armenian genocide not only has an impact on survivors and their families, it also has an impact on our ability to address other acts of hate. We agree with the statement made by Mayor David Cohen of Newton, Massachusetts:

"The recognition of the Armenian genocide is an important step along the path of freedom and justice and crucial in combating other genocides now and in the future."

Be assured that the type of community activities Northampton has sponsored in association with the No Place for Hate program will continue as they did before our association with ADL New England.

We wish the Anti-Defamation League well as the organization struggles to resolve its position on this issue. More than any time in history, we need leaders who are willing to fight for painful honesty, for understanding and mediation between divergent views. The world needs leaders who are willing to intercede on behalf of all victims of hate, leaders who are willing to stand in the fire of tough self-examination.

Sincerely yours,

Heather Johnson, Chair
Carol Rinehart, Vice-Chair
for the Northampton Human Rights Commission

210 Main Street – Room 12
Northampton MA 01060-3199
413-587-1249; FAX: 413-587-1275

cc. Myriam Zuber, Project Director, ADL New England Region
Andrew H. Tarsy, Executive Director, ADL New England Region