YEREVAN—Armenian officials on Friday expressed their anger and deemed it inappropriate that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman attended an event organized by Azerbaijan regarding what Baku calls the “Khojaly genocide.”
Lieberman, a Soviet-born Israeli politician who also serves as Israel’s deputy prime minister today, was on a delegation that also included a Knesset member that reportedly attended on February 26 an event marking the 23rd anniversary of what Azerbaijan presents as a massacre of civilians by Armenian forces in the town of Khojaly in Artsakh.
The Armenian side blames civilian deaths among Azeris during the Khojaly operation on the Azerbaijani military, saying that they did not allow the civilian population to be evacuated despite the presence of a humanitarian corridor.
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told Armenpress, “It is inappropriate that any politician could allow himself to be pulled into cheap Azerbaijani manipulations.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Menora Jewish Cultural Center in Armenia, William Weiner, an Honored Worker of the Arts of the Republic of Armenia and a Member of the Composers’ League of Israel, wrote in a recent article published in The Times of Israel about the myriad similarities between the Jewish and Armenian peoples and called for Israeli authorities to reject Azeri and Turkish propaganda against Armenians.
“The imposed reality in the depth of historic identity of these two old, and by the will of tragic fate diasporal peoples, explains the peculiarly mutual understanding and respect towards each other,” Weiner wrote. “There is no Armenian or Jew in the world, who is or will be indifferent to the sufferings and death of innocent victims, to the fact of the two horrendous crimes against humanities committed in the 20th century.”
“My parents and their families endured all the horrors of evacuation, exile and concentration camps. Fortune brought them to Armenia, where I was born and live for 60 years. I am doubly grieved, but, at the same time, I clearly understand, why shameful efforts are exerted in some circles, through false ‘documents,’ analysis, that do not fit any logic, to spread enmity among the world Jewry towards Armenia and the Armenian people. An article by a blogger, calling himself ‘Israel Barouk’ in Times of Israel is yet another naïve attempt. I suppose that Mr. Barouk, who lives in Los-Angeles, and publishes peremptory statements in the forms of articles, has never visited Armenia and has no clue about the history of Armenian people and about more than 2000-years-old history of the Jews in this country. However, with a striking perseverance he demonstrates an ‘in-depth’ knowledge on preferences of the Armenian people and Armenia.
“Taking a group of Armenian students at the University of California in LA, he attempts to propagate an overt hatred against Armenians and Armenia in the Jewish milieu. Some articles have been published recently with exactly similar statements, penned by well-known Turkish and Azerbaijani analysts, and amongst them is an article by ‘Israel Barouk’ which looks like part of pro-Azerbaijani advertisement. It is beyond any doubt that the latter ‘analysis’ is yet another failed attempt of Turkish-Azerbaijani propaganda machine, which is disseminated in the US and Israeli media in the recent months, on the eve of Centenary of the Armenian Genocide which is being marked in 2015. This strategy has been unfortunately aimed at deflecting the Armenians from the Genocide Centenary and spending their resources on countering the genocide deniers and massive anti-Armenian campaigns launched and supported by the Azerbaijani oil revenues. It is unfortunate that even some politicians in Israel have given in to these propaganda manipulations, consciously or unconsciously becoming victims themselves and sacrificing the Israeli public opinion and Israel’s long-term interests to such cheap Turkish-Azerbaijani joint propaganda projects.”