OTTAWA–Within hours after The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) recognition of the Armenian Genocide, 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 Armenia’s 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 %u218Israel cannot deliver.’” Tan said that ADL’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide was one of those issues.
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 said: “We hope that the Israeli government, as a sovereign state, and Jewish organizations will not yield to the Turkish Government blackmail and the use of the Jewish community of Turkey as political hostage. Such immoral behavior by a government which is renowned for the oppression of its minorities (Armenia’s, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians, Kurds) and their basic human and civil rights should not be tolerated by the civilized world.”
“A fascist and anti-Semitic state which allowed “Mein Kampf” and “The Protocols of Elders of Zion” to become best-sellers in Turkey and brought the wealth tax on Jews and other minorities, should not enjoy the support and alliance of Israel and the Jewish people,” added Babikian.
The ANCC director expressed the Canadian-Armenian community’s and the ANCC’s gratitude to Jewish organizations and individuals who have “shown moral and ethical courage by standing up for truth and justice.”
Babikian said that he was certain “Armenia’s and Jews, who have suffered so much, would not allow the Turkish government’s or any individuals misguided and shortsighted decisions to derail us form our joint calling to fight Armenian Genocide or Holocaust denial.”
The current upheaval came to light after the town council of Watertown, Mass. voted unanimously to cut its ties with the Anti-Defamation League and its program “No Place for Hate” for the ADL’s lobbying efforts 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.
Foxman has justified his organization’s position in a statement saying: "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."
The controversy turned into an international crisis and caused turmoil in human rights organizations and in Jewish communities. Twelve Boston-area Jewish organizations issued a joint statement appealing to Jews to “never forget the Armenian Genocide and maintain our guard against those who deny its occurrence.”
Seeing that his position is untenable on August 24 Foxman issued a carefully crafted statement modifying the ADL position. “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.