August 21, 2007

When is not a genocide a genocide?

Garbled question, I know. But the Anti-Defamation League in America has argued for some years now that the genocide of the Armenians by Turkey didn't count as such, presumably because Turkey is more important to Israel than Armenia or Armenians are. Now it seems they have performed a U-turn but it took a while and some sacking and some resignation and an effective boycott of the ADL by an American town with a large Armenian population. From Ha'aretz:
Over the past two weeks, the ADL has faced a tremendous amount of pressure over the issue. Two weeks ago the town of Watertown, a suburb of Boston with a large Armenian community, decided to cut its ties with the ADL sponsored "No Place for Hate" program, after they discovered that the ADL was not planning to support a bill that would force the American government to accept that the massacre was in fact a genocidal act.

The ADL itself was split over the issue; it fired New England regional director Andrew Tarsy for telling The Boston Globe he agreed the killings were genocide and that he "strongly disagrees with the ADL's national position." Foxman had explained that he did not support the bill in fear that it would hurt both the U.S. and Israel's relations with Turkey while putting the Jewish community in Turkey in danger.

In a statement Tuesday, Foxman said he consulted with historians and his
friend and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel after the controversy began, and became convinced genocide had occurred.
I'm wondering how long the ADL will keep Foxman as its face and voice and I'm not alone.


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