JERUSALEM—The Education and Culture Committee of the Israeli parliament—the Knesset—held a three-hour session Monday to discuss a bill, which if passed, would recognize the Armenian Genocide. The committee postponed approval of the measure.
The resolution, which was introduced by Zehava Gal-On of the left-wing Meretz party and Ariyeh Eldad of the right-wing National Union party would recognize the Armenian Genocide and designate a national day of remembrance.
The session, which was televised live on Israeli television, was presided over by the chairman of the committee, Alex Miller, and was attended by the Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, which unprecedented in such hearings.
During his remarks, Speaker Rivlin said that Israel has a moral and historic obligation to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
“It is my duty as a Jew and Israeli to recognize the tragedies of other peoples,” Rivlin said according to Haaretz newspaper. “Diplomatic considerations, important as they may be, should not deter us from recognizing a tragedy experienced by another people.”
Coalition government representative Zen Elkin also spoke in favor of adopting the bill, as did numerous Knesset members in attendance. Also speaking in favor of the bill was noted historian Israel Charney.
The Turkish and Azerbaijani communities were also present at the meeting. When two Azeri speakers insisted that the adoption of the bill would gravely impact relations with both Turkey and Azerbaijan, Miller, who was chairing the session, interrupted their statements saying that they were out of order.
On behalf of the Armenian National Committee of Jerusalem, Georgette Avakian addressed the session. She was accompanied at the hearing by other members of the Jerusalem ANC, Archbishop Aris Sirvanian of the Patriarchate and honorary Consul General of Armenia Tsolag Momdjian.
Hagop Sevan of the Armenian National Committee in Jerusalem called this fact a “small victory” for the local Armenians, reported RFE/RL.
“I can say that at this time, recognition of this type can have very grave strategic implications,” Irit Lillian, a representative of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, told the hearing on what the Knesset committee defined as the possibility of “the Jewish people’s recognition of the Armenian genocide,” reported RFE/RL.
“Our relations with Turkey today are so fragile and so delicate that there is no place to take them over the red line,” she said.
Eldar, the co-author of the resolution, dismissed the government’s objections by saying, “In the past it was wrong to bring up the issue because our ties with Turkey were good; now it is wrong because our ties with them are bad. When will the time be right?”
Gal-On spoke of Israel’s “moral and historical obligation” to recognize the genocide “especially when we are still struggling against Holocaust denial.” She cited in that regard the adoption by the French parliament of a bill criminalizing Armenian genocide denial, reported RFE/RL.
In an editorial entitled “Armenian Memorial,” the Jerusalem Post advocates for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel. The editorial also cites recent hostility by Turkey, and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in relations to last week’s passage by the French parliament of a bill that criminalizes the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
“Erdogan’s ruffian demeanor isn’t Israel-specific. There’s no plausible reason not to answer his hectoring defamations with incontrovertible historical truths. Why, for starters, not quit our unsavory habit of resisting Knesset resolutions on Turkey’s infamous atrocities against the Armenians? We could elaborate on Turkey’s first Armenian massacre of 1890 (100,000-200,000 dead); Turkey’s subsequent mega-massacres of 1915 in which over a million Armenians perished in a series of bloodbaths and forced marches of uprooted civilians in Syria’s direction; the WWI slaughter of tens of thousands of Assyrians in Turkey’s southeast; the ethnic cleansing, aerial bombardments and other operations that cost Kurds untold thousands of lives throughout the 20th century and beyond and still deny them the sovereignty they deserve; and finally, the 1974 invasion and continued occupation of northern Cyprus (which fails to bother the international community),” concluded the Jerusalem Post editorial.
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We shall see if the Knesset adopts this resolution. I still have my doubts. I still see opportunism and a way to pressure Turkey for the interests of Israel. If it passes I will be pleasantly surprised but I won’t hold my breathe.
As an Armenian from the Middle East, I had always contact with Jewish people who lived near Armenian communities. We helped Jews during their religious holidays by doing chores and errands for them. Since Armenians are Christians, almost all of us have nothing against Jews.
It is unfortunate that Israel is debating the Genocide instead of adopting it. My both parents were born in the Old Ottomam Empire (originally Cilicia) and according to my grandparents they were very prosperous. The truth can’t be denied. Sooner or later the World will accept the Armenian Genocide. With or without Israels’ acceptance, Armenians will win at the end. We have a 5000 year history and we still exist as a nation.
Finally, I hope Israel recognizes officially the Armenian Genocide. Jews in Armenia are treated well and have been safe even during Soviet times. If Israel wants to be treated and respected by Armenians all over the world it must and should accept the resolution. Regardless of financial concerns, Jewish people must be honest and support the truth. We shall see if this is true.
The trouble with the jews,they have been supporting their own agenda so long,they cant find room for anyone else;like the their cousins the turks–ALL TALK NO ACTION.
I just like to disagree with you when you have quoted “like their cousins the turks”, actually if you look historically the jews would be more close to armenian’s and greeks. Have you tried to ask jewish people to what they think of the their government on the Armenian issue? I know many Jewish people in my life and they are understanding people who recognize the Armenian Genocide and they honestly don’t support their Government even selling weapons to turkey. But their government is quiet corrupt because they are concerned more of their own Jewish state issues.
Could it be? Could there really be a glimmer of hope for a little justice being done? Now how about confronting the “peace lauriate” (Peres) about his arming those other Turks to the teeth (Azerbaijanis)? What sense does it make to shun one group of Turkish criminals while enabling another?
According to me the bill will never pass. Israel is still on her knees begging for Turkey’s and Azerbaidjan’s friendship. Money talks.
I hope I’m wrong.
Let Israel do Rafael Lemkin the justice of Recognition, and give themselves a little morality when they denounce those who did not stand up to Hitler. Otherwise they justify any form of capitulation to Nazis, even doing business with them!
Oh…please not again! Is it 1st of April already?
Well , If Israel recognize the Armenian Genocide , Which it is little too late and I personally doubt the courage of Israel, By doing so they will enjoy more respect by the Europeans and Armenians and the whole world and they prevent people from denying their Holocaust. and the most important they will be blessed by prairie from our innocent victims . If not, which I am not surprised either, they will be the only nation next to Turkey to not recognize our Genocide . 10 years ago they were sleeping in the same bed with Turkey. Now they are sleeping in two different rooms . And 10 years from now they will fight with each other to control the that room. Israel is on the list of Turkeys enemy list . I will not be surprised if Turkey uses weapons made in Israel against Israel. If they didn’t discover the Turkish mentality I am sorry they will never discover , because the deadly strikes on Israel in the future will be the by the Turkish forces. So a little time left for Israel to wake up from their dream and see the reality. These are the ideas of 8 year old Armenian girl. God bless our planet and Peace to all nations.
the sad part is israel is brainwashed by lord buddha america. i hope israel will recognize the armenian genocide. this is a tragedy. i think the usa will prevent the knesset for passing the bill. america wants israel to be its slave forever. the only way there will be justice is america, buddhism, islam, mixed race and other evils to go extinct forever with God’s might. poor israel! myself being half uyghur, makes me sorry for the armenians. i hope the turkish jews and other turkic jews, such as the uyghur jews, like my mom, will make a new day of atonement to remember this tragedy. by the way, all three, america, buddhism and islam, are atheist. please ask God if i am a liar.
Isnt it already a victory that thery are publically taking about it? its England and the USA I still dont understand.
The jews will be the last to reconize Armenian Genocide,after the world will finally trample the turks,they will say that they were the first.Sound a little turkish.
If Israel recognizes the genocide, America will have to back Israel against Turkish threat. American-Turkish ties will dissolve. Then I wonder what Iran will do? Considering their own president entertains academic campaigns on holocaust denial and their rumoured nuclear program would likely target Israel… there goes Armenia’s ONE neighbouring ally! It’s likely to turn into a military mess.
Shame on Israel for again delaying the well documented Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 whereby 2 million Armenians were massacred and another million were either forcibly moslemized or fled for their lives to other nations. I also disagree with Alex that Jews & Turks are cousins. Jews have more Armenian blood when our Hyksos Armenians merged with them back in B.C. Where do you think the Jews got their big noses from. I doubt if Israel will pass it in the Knesset for fear of the 25,000 Jews who live in Turkey and control a lot of the business trades their. In fact, when they eliminated the Armenians, Jew took over their businesses. Everyone forgets that Talaat Pasha was a Jew whom wanted Armenians eliminated so that Jews could control the economy. The world must wake up to what the Turk & Jew has done to society over the centuries.
If the Israelis are wise, they will see that Turkey is not an ally but an enemy and competitor. Turkey wants to be the regional power in the Middle East and will try to bully everyone. Turkey’s threat on Israeli gas exploration in the Mediterranean is a clear enough signal of what will come. A powerful Turkey is a threat to Israel.
Israel remember that the first who liberated Berlin from Nazi were the Armenian battaglion of the Soviet Army, Israel remember that the closet advisors of Hitler for the Shoah were german officers that served in the Ottoman Empire and advised the ottomans how to clean Armenia from Armenians, Israel remember that silence in such crimes means comlicity, and therefore Israel is already late in recognizing the Armenian Genocide, Israel was supposed to be the first unfortunatelly it did not had the courrage. Ishma Israel! If you want solidarity you should also offer it! Remember that the Armenian Genocide is the first ever done my Moslems against Christians, if you want that Moslems Country never do it again the chance is here the Armenian Genocide will serve to repeat what happens to us to other non Moslems in the Area where you also are implimented. Never again is done in Europe it is time to make it be also among Moslems, and that also for your own future safety! If the Armenian Genocide is not recognized it will be repeated for sure by the same perpertrators and this time not against the Armenians! It is a fight for humanity and not only for Armenian, Remember Israel!