BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
When Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said “attempts to turn conflicts and massacres in Africa, Asia and Balkans into another Holocaust are unacceptable,” and “Since its establishment, Israel has opposed the application of the term Holocaust to another war or tragedy,” it revealed an ugly and ignorant reality by which certain Israeli leaders have been guided.
Having risen from the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel should have been the first country to properly acknowledge the events of 1915 as Genocide. However, as Lieberman himself decries that “today historical incidents have turned into political disputes; that’s why I don’t consider it right for Israel to address this [the Genocide] issue,” the Israeli government has made it a policy to ignore the Armenian Genocide in the face of its regional POLITICAL interests—namely its unholy alliance with Turkey.
Lieberman’s assertion that Israel has a monopoly on man’s inhumanity to man disrespects and diminishes the suffering and eventual fate of the millions genocide victims be they Armenian, Rwandan or Sudanese. It also goes against all international conventions on prevention of such acts, to which Israel is a signatory. More important, Lieberman’s statements can be characterized as denial, which implies complicity in and the perpetuation of the cycle of Genocide.
In December, an unprecedented discussion took place in the Israeli Knesset, where leaders from both parties affirmed the need for Israel’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This coincided—or prompted—leading Israeli publications and human rights advocates, to as the director of Jerusalem Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Israel Charny appropriately said “put an end to this charade and fully recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
At the same Knesset event Israel’s foreign ministry representatives maintained the Tel-Aviv’s steadfast denial of the Genocide by saying “at this time, recognition of this type can have very grave strategic implications… Our relations with Turkey today are so fragile and so delicate that there is no place to take them over the red line.” Is this not politicizing historic events?
This dangerous semantics game only bolsters the likes of Turkey to continue its policies and further its pre-meditated and planned campaign of denial that also allows it to wreak havoc on its minorities today and pursue a policy of stifling those that stand opposed to its doctrines.
Israel must rise above Lieberman’s skewed beliefs that Israel has cornered the market on being a victim of a systematic effort to annihilate an entire race. Such a monopoly does not exist in the world and the likes of Avigdor Lieberman only incite hatred by making such statements.
Lieberman should remember that such sense of entitlement breeds supremacist sentiments, which were the cornerstone of Hitler’s plan that eventually became known as the Holocaust.