Editorial: Blue Shield Hiding ADL Support

The Armenian Mirror Spectator
Watertown, Massachusetts

June 21, 2008


Blue Shield Hiding ADL Support

The fall from grace of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in the eyes of people concerned with justice and recognition of past atrocities, continues.

The ADL, as has been well-documented here in our pages, as well as in many other Armenian publications, has never made a statement fully acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. Yes, after being besieged by many segments of the community at large, including Jewish groups, the ADL agreed to release a statement last summer suggesting that what happened to the Armenians was “tantamount to Genocide.”

Close, but no cigar.

Requests for a clear, unmistakable statement from Armenian and Jewish groups were spurned by the ADL.

The ADL, it was brought to light, has through the years actively campaigned against measures in Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Now, the state’s largest provider of insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield, is still sponsoring the No Place for Hate (NPFH) program of the ADL, which was successfully run out of scores of towns, starting with Watertown and continuing across Massachusetts. Among the towns which nixed the program are Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Watertown, Somerville and Westwood.

In fact, just this past April, the Massachusetts Municipal Association decided to end its sponsorship of NPFH.

Obviously, all the participants and activists involved in this issue understand that the message of NPFH is not a problem; it is the organization that is creating it. No one can be against a message that denies hate, but when the message of tolerance, acknowledgement of past genocides and harmony is being created by an organization that does not act as it preaches, it cheapens the entire message. The ADL can manage to look like a paragon of tolerance, while pursuing a different agenda, catering to the agenda of the government of the Republic of Turkey.

According to information dug up by David Boyajian, a Newton activist who led in bringing to light the inconsistencies of the ADL, several years back, Peter Meade, the recently retired Blue Cross Blue Shield vice president, “was instrumental in mobilizing Blue Cross” to become the state’s first official NPFH corporation. And Meade sits on the board of the New England ADL and received its Chairperson’s Award.

Boyajian noted that Meade also chairs the Greenway Conservancy, which will oversee future upkeep of Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, where he opposes the Greenway’s proposed Armenian Heritage Park.

Currently, there are still 50 cities and towns in Massachusetts that use NPFH. We, not just as Armenians, but as people with a just cause who will decry hypocrisy and the denial of any genocide, should make sure that those towns are aware of what programs they are sponsoring. They should join the ranks of the bold towns singled out above which realized that this was an issue worth pursing.

We Armenians should also think twice about using Blue Cross when it comes to health coverage. When we pay our fees, we are helping to pay for the organization’ s support of programs such as NPFH. And Armenians and their allies in the State House should make sure that their voices continue to be heard in this matter. Our community has done a wonderful job to date in mobilizing and getting non-Armenians involved with this issue.

In particular, the Jewish community has been outstanding in this state in terms of support for us. After all, the denial of the Genocide is wrong for us on principle, as well as for sheer emotional reasons.

The denial of genocide is the last stage of a genocide. By continuing to support ADL programs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is helping deniers have the last word.
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