11/14 Bedford Minuteman: ADL debate continues

ADL debate continues

By Patrick Ball, Staff Writer

Wed Nov 14, 2007, 02:26 PM EST

Bedford, Mass. - The “No Place For Hate” debate resumed last week, when the Violence Prevention Coalition unanimously voted last Tuesday to recommend to selectmen that Bedford suspend participation in the No Place For Hate program.

This decision came in the wake of The National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) annual meeting, during which the ADL decided “to take no further action on the issue of Armenian Genociade,” according to a statement released Nov. 2.

“We are hoping that eventually something will change. We feel that this is a position that the ADL has taken that is contrary to their own mission statement and contrary to their values,” said Cathy Cordes, the selectmen’s liaison to the VPC. “This is not taking sides in a political issue – this is being true to our own mission.”

There was no discussion during the meeting about complete withdrawal from or severing ties from the program, according Cordes. “They asked for action. They didn’t ask for specific action. At the end of the meeting, they thanked us, and told us that they were pleased that we had listened to them,” she said.

“We’re very happy [with the VPC’s forthcoming recommendation],” said Michael Bahtiarian, a Bedford resident of Armenian descent who attended the VPC meeting last Tuesday. “My perception was that when they saw the nature of the ADL’s response, that it was time to take action.

“I was very proud that the town took such an apolitical solution. There was no ‘Let’s ask more questions. Let’s wait,’ Bahtiarian said. “I’m very happy, and I think it’s a great message.”

This issue is not new to Bedford, nor is it unique to the town.

Between 1915 and 1918, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks. Much of the world has come to recognize this tragedy as genocide, but some, including the Anti-Defamation League, have not.

Communities throughout the state have withdrawn from or suspended participation in the ADL-sponsored No Place For Hate program. They oppose the ADL’s national stance that the systematic slaughter was “tantamount to genocide,” and the league’s opposition to a congressional resolution on the issue. In Bedford, residents of Armenian descent claim these actions are contrary to the mission of the No Place for Hate program.

On a national scale, however, the momentum built up earlier this year of the movement to gain recognition WWI massacre of Armenians came to a halt when the ADL on Nov. 2 issued a statement saying, “The National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today, at its annual meeting, decided to take no further action on the issue of Armenian Genocide.” Also, House Resolution 106, cited as the “Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution,” has been tabled.

Al Gordon, a spokesman for the New England Region of the ADL, said, “Since the national commission met, the ADL is having ongoing talks with officials in many communities.”

While the conversations proceed, Gordon said, the ADL will not comment publicly. “When there’s something to announce we’ll announce it,” he said.

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/bedford/homepage/x1149886250

11/13 Medford Transcript: Human Rights Commission removes ADL signs across city

Human Rights Commission removes ADL signs across city

By Sharon Tosto Esker/medford@cnc.com

Tue Nov 13, 2007, 06:57 PM EST

Medford - With a turn of a wrench, Medford’s affiliation with the Anti-Defamation League ended last week when the Human Rights Commission ceremonially removed the “No Place for Hate” street sign on Forest Street.

“We’re saddened that we’ve had to suspend our membership to the ADL, but we’re hopeful that the organization will take its place nationally in its fight against hate by recognizing the Armenian genocide,” said David Harris, chairman of the commission.

Upon the recommendation of the HRC, the City Council voted last week to suspend the city’s membership to the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” program. The decision was a result of the ADL’s failure to support national recognition of the Armenian genocide in which more than 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Turkey at the end of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917.

“We feel a commitment to all of our citizens and residents of Medford,” said Harris. “We owe it to the Armenian population to protect them and recognize them too.”

Six members of the HRC, including Diane McLeod, executive director of the Office of Human Diversity, and City Councilor Robert Penta convened at one of the city’s “No Place for Hate” signs near Roosevelt Circle the morning after the municipal election.

Harris reached up to the sign and gently turned the two bolts holding it to the grey metal light pole. The sign was down in less than five minutes.

“I think that it’s an appropriate action to take,” said Lois Bronnenkant, a member of the HRC. “Over the last few months we’ve had several Armenians, young and old, who have told us stories of how the Armenian genocide has affected their families. We’ve had a good relationship with the ADL in the past, but we don’t approve of the way they’ve handled the Armenian genocide issue.”

On Nov. 2, the ADL once again took a hard line in defending its position on recognizing the Armenian genocide. The organization released a statement indicating that it would not take any further action in recognizing the genocide.

The city plans to re-evaluate its relationship with the ADL in three months to consider whether Medford will extend the membership suspension or withdraw completely.

“No Place for Hate was a great program,” said Penta. “The intent behind it is great. Nobody wants hate in their community. The principles behind No Place for Hate will go on in Medford though.”

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/medford/homepage/x1855990610

11/13 IHT: Former officials to recommend how U.S. can prevent genocide

Former officials to recommend how U.S. can prevent genocide

The Associated Press

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WASHINGTON: A group of former U.S. officials and lawmakers has started a task force to develop recommendations on how the U.S. government can prevent genocide.

The group is headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who served under President Bill Clinton, in an administration that grappled with genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

In a news conference Tuesday, Albright and Cohen said that they would consider the lessons learned from these events in making recommendations.

"Our challenge is to match words to deeds and stop allowing the unacceptable. That task, simple on the surface, is in fact one of the most persistent puzzles of our times," Albright said. "We have a duty to find the answer before the vow of 'never again' is once again betrayed."

The task force, which was formed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy and the United State Institute of Peace, will issue its recommendations in December 2008.

During the news conference, Armenian-American activists asked pointed questions about Albright's recent signature of a letter along with every living former secretary of state urging the U.S. Congress not to pass a resolution declaring the World War I-era killings of Armenians by the Ottoman empire a genocide.

"The task force's worthwhile efforts to build consensus for an unconditional stand against genocide as a core U.S. foreign policy priority are undermined right out of the box," Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America said in a statement.

Albright and Cohen said that the letter was written out of concern that anger by the Turkish government about the resolution could undermine Turkish cooperation with U.S. military operations in Iraq.

"Every former secretary of state, as secretary of state recognized that terrible things happened to the Armenians, tragedies," Albright said. "The letter was about whether this was an appropriate time to raise the issue."

Cohen said the task force would focus on the future.

"How do we marshal public opinion, how do we marshal political action, how do we generate the will to take action in a society that has been reluctant to do so in the past?" he said. "These are issues that this task force is going to examine at length, call upon our best minds to lay out some of the options and then see if we can implement this blue print in a way that would preclude things that have taken place in the past from taking place in the future."

Other members of the task force include former Republican Senator and Ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth, former Democratic Senator Tom Daschle and former head of U.S. Central Command, Ret. General Anthony Zinni.

Source: http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=8315947

11/13 CCR: If Our Friends Do It, It Is Not Genocide

CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER

If Our Friends Do It, It Is Not Genocide

21 Corporate Crime Reporter 45, November 13, 2007

The Genocide Prevention Task Force was unveiled at the National Press Club this morning.

The task force is being co-chair by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

It’s being convened by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the United States Institute of Peace.

In addition to Cohen and Albright, its members include: John Danforth, Tom Daschle, Stuart Eizenstat, Michael Gerson, Dan Glickman, Jack Kemp, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, Tom Pickering, Julia Taft, Vin Weber, and Anthony Zinni.

“The world agrees that genocide is unacceptable and yet genocide and mass killings continue,” Albright said. “Our challenge is to match words to deeds and stop allowing the unacceptable. That task – simple on the surface – is in fact one of the most persistent puzzles of our times. We have a duty to find the answer before the vow of ‘never again’ is once again betrayed.”

“We are convinced that the U.S. government can and must do better in preventing genocide – a crime that threatens not only our values but our national interests,” Cohen said.

But after the opening remarks, Cohen and Albright hit a buzz saw of skeptical questioning from reporters in the First Amendment Room.

“How do you reconcile your work in trying to build a moral American consensus against genocide when just very recently each of you signed letters urging America not to recognize the Armenian genocide?” a reporter asked Cohen and Albright.

“This mission is about the future,” Albright answered. “We want to look at ways to try and prevent genocide and mass killing. That is the purpose of this task force. The former Secretaries of State recognized that terrible things happened to the Armenians and tragedies. The letter was primarily about whether this was the appropriate time to raise the issue.”

“The fact is that all of us who signed were concerned about the level of killings and the human suffering that took place between 1915 and 1923,” Cohen said. “There was also a very deliberate decision to say that we are engaged in warfare at the moment. We have our sons and daughters who are at risk. And we felt that to have the resolution brought might result in reactions on the part of the Turkish government that could place our sons and daughters in greater jeopardy. It was a very practical decision that was made. This was not to say that we overlooked what took place in the past. We are saying – at this point forward, what do we do? How do we marshal public opinion? How do we marshal political action? How do we generate the will to take action in a society that has been reluctant to do so in the past? It involves multiple levels of complexity.”

“If we are saying that this isn’t the right time to acknowledge this genocide, does that mean that you are arguing that for political expedience purposes, we are not going to be taking action on nor should we take action on future genocides because of what are perceived to be U.S. interests?” another reporter asked.

“We are saying there are no absolutes in this,” Cohen answered. “We are going to try and set forth a set of principles that will serve as a guide. And hopefully that guide will allow political leadership in this country and elsewhere. This is not something where the United States is advocating unilateral action. We are talking about the United States taking a lead to help shape public opinion – certainly domestically but also internationally. And this will involve multiple considerations, multiple political factors that have to be taken into account. We hope this endeavor will be successful in pursuing mass killings and genocide in the future.”

“I also do think that it is important to recognize that even if terrible things happened in the past, they do not need to happen in the future,” Albright said. “And that is what this is about. In no way does it put the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on anybody’s behavior. On the contrary. It is to examine people’s behavior. It is very important for us to move forward.”

“It sounds as if you are both saying – if our friends do it, it is not genocide,” said another reporter. “And if our enemies do it, it is genocide. A professor at the University of Haifa, Ilan Pappe, has written recently that he believes there is genocide ongoing in Gaza and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank. But you folks wouldn’t agree with that because Israel is our friend and we couldn’t say that about Israel. Secretary Cohen, you say – we can’t say that about Turkey and the Armenian genocide because our boys and girls are in harm’s way. If you are going to define genocide by who does it, not by what it is, your task force is in trouble.”

“I don’t know that even the UN has declared that genocide occurred in the Armenian situation,” Cohen said. “We are trying to look forward rather than backwards. On the issue of whether genocide is taking place in the West Bank and Gaza – certainly that will be part of [what] the task force [is] looking at.”

“Yes, there is an element of pragmatism,” Cohen said. “If someone else’s son or daughter is in harm’s way, that is a factor that I as an American citizen and as a former Secretary of Defense would have to take into account. And would. And I think anyone serving public office necessarily has to have a set factors to take into account. It is not absolute. This will not be a document that says – this is when the line is crossed, this is the action that will be taken. These are going to be guidelines. They themselves will serve a valuable purpose. It will help to at least raise the issue to a level of both domestic and international concern – hopefully stirring action. That is our goal.”

“When you are in the government, and you have to make very tough decisions, you have to look at the overall picture,” Albright said. “Otherwise, we are not going to get off the ground. These are very, very hard issues. I would definitely not accept your definition – if friends do it, it’s okay, and if enemies do it, it is not. I find that just an unacceptable premise. This task force is going to set forth guidelines for practical action by the United States government. Which is why we want to present this by the end of next year.”

“You can have all kinds of emotional arguments why something is wrong and then you never get it off the ground,” she said. “You ultimately have to take practical action. That is what is happening in the United States. We are not going to get ourselves into emotional appeals. Because that is not going to work. We are interested in practical steps.”

“The experience of the Armenians does indeed conform with the UN Convention,” another reporter shot back at Cohen. “In fact, Elie Wiesel has said that the denial of the genocide is the final stage of the genocide. The two of you have personally worked toward ascertaining that the United States government does not take a stand recognizing the Armenian genocide. This is of course based on real, practical political considerations, that you mentioned. However, taking on this new role, how can you reconcile your positions and the U.S. foreign policy? How can you provide credibility that your recommendations will be of use to the United States in its foreign policy and will not be words on a piece of paper that will be acceptable but the US will not follow up on?”

“You talk about political expediency,” Cohen responded. “As Secretary of Defense, I had responsibility for every man and woman who was serving in our armed forces. And yes, I would have to take into account whether or not I was placing them in greater jeopardy in order to make a declaration for something that happened back between 1915 and 1923. I would have to weigh that. And frankly, I think the former Secretaries of Defense – Republicans and Democrats alike – all came to the same conclusion. We could not put our men and women in greater danger under these circumstances. Does that mean that we are not in a position to look forward and say – here are some of the things that happened in the past, here are some of the things we did not do in the past, here is something that needs to be done in the future? There is no absolute right or wrong. It’s not all black and white. We are going to have to take these into account. You as a private citizen will be in a position to say – here is a document issued by this esteemed group. What do you Mr. President, what do you Mr. Secretary, intend to do about the atrocities currently taking place in x-country? Are your abdicating your moral leadership, abdicating the U.S. responsibility to lead? To gather and galvanize international support to do something – disinvestment in that particular country, condemning the leadership of that country? Having dealt with ethnic cleansing in the past, to take that experience, as well as what took place in Armenia, as well as what took place in Rwanda, now in Darfur, and say – this is how we have to lead on this issue.”

“It’s important to recognize what we said in the letter,” Albright said. “While we were secretaries, we recognized that mass killings and forced exile had taken place, and we also said that the U.S. policy has been all along for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia on this particular issue. I do think that one of the things that this task force will ultimately recommend is that the parties to the problem have to acknowledge what happened. That is part of the issue. There is not one answer to fit all. This task force is about the future – about preventing genocide.”

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Source: http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/genocide111307.htm

11/12 JPost: Peres, Gul at odds over Iran nuke threat

Peres, Gul at odds over Iran nuke threat

Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Nov. 12, 2007

Differences over the gravity of the Iranian nuclear program were at the heart of talks on Monday between President Shimon Peres and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.

Peres met with Gul for several hours at the Presidential Palace in Ankara and the two discussed a wide range of issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat, the fate of Israel's captured soldiers - Gilad Schalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev - as well as the upcoming Annapolis peace parley scheduled for later this month.

Peres told Gul that Israel could not accept a nuclear Iran. In response, Gul said that while Turkey was against the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it did believe that countries had the right to develop alternative sources of energy. On Friday, Turkey's parliament passed a bill paving the way for the construction of three nuclear reactors, planned to be operational by 2015.

In what officials said was an odd break in the rules of international diplomacy, Peres spoke frankly at a press conference following the meeting and told reporters that he disagreed with Gul. He said he told the Turkish leader that Israel was not willing to accept Ankara's line of thinking and that Iran, which has vast resources of oil and natural gas, was not in need of an alternative source of energy.

"Iran does not need nuclear energy," said Peres. "I know the president has a different assessment, but we feel threatened."

Israeli officials here explained that while Turkey's stance on Iran was slightly at odds with Israel's, both countries were mutually concerned with the possibility that Iran would one day obtain nuclear weapons.

"Iran is a neighbor of Turkey and they are well aware of the negative consequences to the entire world if Iran gets nuclear weapons," an official explained. "They just are not certain, as we are, that Iran's program is for military purposes."

Another sensitive issue raised during the talks focused on the US Congress initiative to formally recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915. Gul told Peres that Turkey would not tolerate this issue being raisedevery few months.

"It is not worth ruining today's good relations over an event of the past," Gul told Peres.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was recently in Washington for talks with the Bush administration about the congressional initiative.
Peres said that Israel supported Turkey's initiative to set up a team of Armenian and Turkish historians to examine the events of 1915-17. Gul thanked Peres for his efforts in working to thwart the US bill.

Peres and Gul also discussed at length the Annapolis conference, and particularly the participation of other countries in the parley. Gul said that Turkey was in discussion with Syria, Iran and Iraq regarding the differences between various Middle Eastern countries.

"As a country that is a party to the problem, it is important that Syria participates," Gul said.
In addition Gul said that Syrian President Bashar Assad told him in Ankara several weeks ago that Damascus was interested in renewing negotiations with Israel and that it believed in lasting peace. Peres welcomed the participation of all "moderate countries," saying "the voice of peace will be stronger and louder" with more participants attending. But he accused Syria of not taking steps for peace.

Peres expressed cautious optimism regarding the peace process with the Palestinians. He said that while the two to four weeks remaining before Annapolis was not enough time to solve the remaining problems, "Annapolis is a station on the way to peace, and afterwards, real negotiations will begin."

Gul also warned Israel against taking any unilateral steps vis à vis the Palestinians ahead of the parley and that Israel needed to stick to a two-state solution.

In response, Peres said that he wasn't aware of any unilateral steps Israel planned to take and added that Hamas was the "only entity taking unilateral steps."

Gul declared that Turkey would work to secure the release of the captured IDF soldiers and said that he viewed the issue first and foremost as a humanitarian matter.

Peres also asked Gul for permission to borrow Israel-related artifacts from Turkish museums for Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

On Tuesday, Peres, Gul and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will discuss plans to set up an industrial park in the West Bank. The industrial zone is expected to create jobs for thousands of Palestinians. Turkey is waiting for Abbas's government to decide how much land can be allocated for the project.

Also Tuesday, Peres will become the first Israeli president to speak before the legislature of a Muslim country. Abbas will separately address the Turkish Parliament on Tuesday.

Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380797463&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

11/10 Milford Daily News: Anti-Defamation League reaches beyond purpose

Meltzer: Anti-Defamation League reaches beyond purpose

By Rob Meltzer, Local columnist

Sat Nov 10, 2007, 12:20 AM EST

There has been much criticism of late about the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai Brith and its position as to whether the mass murders of Armenians by Ottoman Turks back in 1915 constitutes genocide.

The criticism is well deserved, but not for the reason usually espoused - that a Jewish-sponsored organization somehow has the moral obligation to speak out on this kind of issue. In reality, the ADL's problem is that it is should not be speaking out on this issue at all, as addressing this issue is not within the mandate of the ADL.

The ADL was never intended to be a truth and reconciliation organization, nor does it have the expertise to assess and declare historical truths. The ADL exists for the purpose of address current and actual discrimination aimed at American Jews. When the ADL drifts from its purpose, it invites the criticism it receives.

Here, in part, is what the Charter of the ADL said in 1913: "The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people." Back in 1913, and later, the ADL did not expand its purpose to include international relations, leaving thorny issues of global discrimination and genocide to other groups.

It is not hard to see how the ADL has wandered from its path, and it's not hard to see the trouble that its wandering has created. Notwithstanding that the ADL has always been able to wield political power through its resources in the Jewish community, the ADL became enmeshed in coalition politics. In true 1960s style, the ADL believed that there was safety in numbers, and that joining a coalition of oppressed peoples provided greater clout in overcoming discrimination.

As always happens with minority power politics, it is evident that coalition members don't always have synchronized agendas. Joining coalitions not only prevents you from addressing your own concerns, but it also compels you to support the concerns of others, with unforeseen consequences. When the ADL started the No Place for Hate campaign, and formed coalitions with cities and town to battle discrimination, by way of example, it climbed in to bed with some of the institutional anti-semites it should have been criticizing.

There are numerous examples of timidity that have been evident in our own community. When the Southern Poverty Law Center inadvertently distributed pro-Palestinian, anti-Jewish rhetoric to hundreds of elementary schools, including schools in Framingham, the ADL declined to get involved in criticizing a program of the SPLC. When a law suit was filed in federal court arising out of institutional anti-semitism, the ADL declined to support the Jewish plaintiffs who were litigating against a No Place for Hate Community. The ADL has declined to take a stand against blatant anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiments on NPR, and has declined to support the rights of Torah observant Jewish residents under assault from mainstream, left-wing Jewish groups.

A number of years ago, the ADL had a gala opening for its new, enlarged office space in Boston, missing the irony that larger office space was proof-positive that the ADL was not effective. A long time ago, and many miles from here, I applied for a legal position with the ADL. When I was asked the standard question, "what would be your first act if hired," I responded by stating that I would put mezuzahs on the conference room door. As I was informed, defending religious observance in the work place was not part of the ADL agenda.

Instead of acting according to its charter, the ADL tears itself to pieces trying to decide what happened in 1915, a historical debate that has badly tainted the reputation of the listing ADL, and which has demonstrated the need of the ADL to return to its core values, core objectives and core policies. At this point in its history, the ADL should distance itself from programs and policies that do not advance its Charter, and should reestablish its credibility not only with the community at large as a group to be respected and emulated, but also within the Jewish community, which no longer views the ADL as the watchdog at the door.

Until it does so, it deserves the criticism it is receiving, both nationally and in columns in this newspaper.

Rob Meltzer practices law in Framingham.

Source: http://www.milforddailynews.com/opinion/x1822649375

11/10 Independent: Robert Fisk: Holocaust denial in the White House

Robert Fisk: Holocaust denial in the White House

The Turks say the Armenians died in a 'civil war', and Bush goes along with their lies

Published: 10 November 2007

How are the mighty fallen! President George Bush, the crusader king who would draw the sword against the forces of Darkness and Evil, he who said there was only "them or us", who would carry on, he claimed, an eternal conflict against "world terror" on our behalf; he turns out, well, to be a wimp. A clutch of Turkish generals and a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign on behalf of Turkish Holocaust deniers have transformed the lion into a lamb. No, not even a lamb – for this animal is, by its nature, a symbol of innocence – but into a household mouse, a little diminutive creature which, seen from afar, can even be confused with a rat. Am I going too far? I think not.

The "story so far" is familiar enough. In 1915, the Ottoman Turkish authorities carried out the systematic genocide of one and a half million Christian Armenians. There are photographs, diplomatic reports, original Ottoman documentation, the process of an entire post-First World War Ottoman trial, Winston Churchill and Lloyd George and a massive report by the British Foreign Office in 1915 and 1916 to prove that it is all true. Even movie film is now emerging – real archive footage taken by Western military cameramen in the First World War – to show that the first Holocaust of the 20th century, perpetrated in front of German officers who would later perfect its methods in their extermination of six million Jews, was as real as its pitifully few Armenian survivors still claim.

But the Turks won't let us say this. They have blackmailed the Western powers – including our own British Government, and now even the US – to kowtow to their shameless denials. These (and I weary that we must repeat them, because every news agency and government does just that through fear of Ankara's fury) include the canard that the Armenians died in a "civil war", that they were anyway collaborating with Turkey's Russian enemies, that fewer Armenians were killed than have been claimed, that as many Turkish Muslims were murdered as Armenians.

And now President Bush and the United States Congress have gone along with these lies. There was, briefly, a historic moment for Bush to walk tall after the US House Foreign Relations Committee voted last month to condemn the mass slaughter of Armenians as an act of genocide. Ancient Armenian-American survivors gathered at a House panel to listen to the debate. But as soon as Turkey's fossilised generals started to threaten Bush, I knew he would give in.

Listen, first, to General Yasar Buyukanit, chief of the Turkish armed forces, in an interview with the newspaper Milliyet. The passage of the House resolution, he whinged, was "sad and sorrowful" in view of the "strong links" Turkey maintained with its Nato partners. And if this resolution was passed by the full House of Representatives, then "our military relations with the US would never be as they were in the past... The US, in that respect, has shot itself in the foot".

Now listen to Mr Bush as he snaps to attention before the Turkish general staff. "We all deeply regret the tragic suffering (sic) of the Armenian people... But this resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings. Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in Nato and in the global war on terror." I loved the last bit about the "global war on terror". Nobody – save for the Jews of Europe – has suffered "terror" more than the benighted Armenians of Turkey in 1915. But that Nato should matter more than the integrity of history – that Nato might one day prove to be so important that the Bushes of this world may have to equivocate over the Jewish Holocaust to placate a militarily resurgent Germany – beggars belief.

Among those men who should hold their heads in shame are those who claim they are winning the war in Iraq. They include the increasingly disoriented General David Petraeus, US commander in Iraq, and the increasingly delusional US ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, both of whom warned that full passage of the Armenian genocide bill would "harm the war effort in Iraq". And make no mistake, there are big bucks behind this disgusting piece of Holocaust denial.

Former Representative Robert L Livingston, a Louisiana Republican, has already picked up $12m from the Turks for his company, the Livingston Group, for two previously successful attempts to pervert the cause of moral justice and smother genocide congressional resolutions. He personally escorted Turkish officials to Capitol Hill to threaten US congressmen. They got the point. If the resolution went ahead, Turkey would bar US access to the Incirlik airbase through which passed much of the 70 per cent of American air supplies to Iraq which transit Turkey.

In the real world, this is called blackmail – which was why Bush was bound to cave in. Defence Secretary Robert Gates was even more pusillanimous – although he obviously cared nothing for the details of history. Petraeus and Crocker, he said, "believe clearly that access to the airfields and to the roads and so on in Turkey would be very much put at risk if this resolution passes...".

How terrible an irony did Gates utter. For it is these very "roads and so on" down which walked the hundreds of thousands of Armenians on their 1915 death marches. Many were forced aboard cattle trains which took them to their deaths. One of the railway lines on which they travelled ran due east of Adana – a great collection point for the doomed Christians of western Armenia – and the first station on the line was called Incirlik, the very same Incirlik which now houses the huge airbase that Mr Bush is so frightened of losing.

Had the genocide that Bush refuses to acknowledge not taken place – as the Turks claim – the Americans would be asking the Armenians for permission to use Incirlik. There is still alive – in Sussex if anyone cares to see her – an ageing Armenian survivor from that region who recalls the Ottoman Turkish gendarmes setting fire to a pile of living Armenian babies on the road close to Adana. These are the same "roads and so on" that so concern the gutless Mr Gates.

But fear not. If Turkey has frightened the boots off Bush, he's still ready to rattle the cage of the all-powerful Persians. People should be interested in preventing Iran from acquiring the knowledge to make nuclear weapons if they're "interested in preventing World War Three", Bush has warned us. What piffle. Bush can't even summon up the courage to tell the truth about World War One.

Who would have thought that the leader of the Western world – he who would protect us against "world terror" – would turn out to be the David Irving of the White House?

Source: http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article3146418.ece

11/09 Jurist: US House must uphold truth and justice with Armenian genocide resolution

US House must uphold truth and justice with Armenian genocide resolution

Frank V. Zerunyan, Esq. [Chairman, Board of Governors of the Armenian Bar Association; Mayor Pro Tem, City of Rolling Hills Estates]: "The People’s House of the United States of America must follow its tradition and uphold the truth above all else. The speaker of the House of Representatives must bring HR106 to a floor vote because the resolution is morally, intellectually, historically and legally consistent with our American values. We Americans must insist that our leaders promote truth, justice and the rule of law. We have a long tradition of accepting human dignity as an inalienable right and as the basis of our jurisprudence. No one could have described it better than Alexander Hamilton when he said “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among the old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased or obstructed by mortal power.”

“Never again” to Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Rwandans, Darfurians is not just a slogan in the context of the human rights debate in the world; it is a call to meaningful action to eradicate genocide from the world. Experts and scholars confirm that each perpetrator has used previous crimes against humanity with impunity. Indeed Adolph Hitler himself in 1939, before the invasion of Poland, reminded his commanding officers in a passionate speech “who still talks now days of the extermination of the Armenians?” Denial is part of and a completion of this crime against humanity. Our values simply do not permit us to be co-conspirators to the commission of or to the completion of the crime of genocide.

At stake today in Washington DC, of course, is the question of whether the United States House of Representatives should offend Turkey by voting on a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide of 1915. All actors in this debate are playing the roles they have played for decades. Turkish generals and ministers are threatening our military ties, the closure of our bases, air space and logistics routes. Ironically however, even before any word of this resolution, those routes were already closed to our sons and daughters when our nation went to war to liberate Iraq. There is also a new threat by our own government; “radical Islam”. Most if not all credible experts will agree that this threat is simply not credible as the Republic of Turkey will never chose this form of a regime over the great and overwhelming legacy of its founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Moreover, such a threat completely undermines contemporary Turkish identity.

While the Republic of Turkey may react negatively in the short term (I think to their own detriment), recognition of the Armenian genocide is warranted for several reasons. First, the HR106 declares the truth; a truth that 23 other countries, 40 American States and countless Counties and Cities have already recognized. Second, no one discusses or even mentions our influence and the basis of our influence over the Republic of Turkey. The truth is that we brought Turkey into the NATO Alliance without which Turkey’s security could not be guaranteed. We support Turkey’s membership into the European Union; an economic “must” for the survival of Turkey into the 21st Century and beyond. We granted Turkey a most favored nation trading status resulting in more than $7 billion in annual trade and $2 billion in US investments in Turkey. Only Israel and Egypt outrank Turkey as recipients of US Foreign assistance. Third, it is inconceivable that even back in the days when the US prized West Germany as a buffer and deterrent against the Soviet Union, we Americans would have refrained from condemning The Shoah (the Holocaust) at Germany’s behest.

Finally and more importantly to this American of Armenian decent, it brings finality and closure, bringing back human dignity to humanity lost almost a century ago. I assume most of you know the eternal resting grounds of your great grand fathers and grand mothers; I don’t. My ancestors formed the first Christian nation in the world (301 A.D.) only to become the invisible Christians in unmarked graves in the early stages of the 20th Century.

I am the great-grand son of a victim and the grand son of a survivor. Ironically, I live today as the direct result of the kindness of a Turkish gentleman (Effendi) who had the humanity to shelter my grand father. I applaud his humanity and encourage our leaders to follow in his footsteps."

Source: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/hotline/2007/11/us-house-must-uphold-truth-and-justice.php

11/09 Haaretz: When politics trumps integrity

When politics trumps integrity

By Jacob Victor

During Michael B. Mukasey's 18 years as a federal judge, his legal decisions were characterized by a nuanced, responsible approach to the law. He was tough on white-collar crime and terrorism, yet still demonstrated empathy for new immigrants and minors. Perhaps Judge Mukasey's strong sense of ethical resolve stems from his Judaism and perhaps not, but either way, many American Jews were proud when he was nominated for the post of United States Attorney General. After the corruption that characterized the reign of Alberto Gonzales, Judge Mukasey seemed like the ideal candidate to restore the reputation of the Justice Department.

Therefore, it was especially disheartening when Judge Mukasey refused to explicitly declare the form of torture known as waterboarding as illegal, after being repeatedly asked to do so during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee over the last few weeks.

Waterboarding involves simulating the feeling of drowning by holding a person on an incline, covering his face with a rag, and dousing his head with water. Almost all experts and many politicians at both ends of the political spectrum agree that the practice is a form of torture, which would make it illegal under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, to which the United States is a signatory. Furthermore, the United States has prosecuted for waterboarding in the past. In 1947, a Japanese military officer was sent to jail for 15 years for using the practice on a U.S. civilian.
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Judge Mukasey surely knows these things; he was even willing to describe the practice as "repugnant." Why, then, would a person of his ethical conviction refuse to unequivocally condemn waterboarding and declare it illegal?

The answer is politics. According to some legal experts, if Judge Mukasey had explicitly denounced waterboarding during his confirmation hearings, he would have paved the way for criminal prosecution of U.S. soldiers and intelligence agents, not to mention higher-ups in the Bush administration, who have used or condoned the practice in recent years.

Mukasey seems to have recognized this sticky situation. Sadly, he seems willing to compromise ethical values in order to protect his new political associates.

Judge Mukasey is apparently the latest victim of the malaise currently afflicting American Jewish leadership. While Jewish leaders have often been known for their moral fortitude, many of today's Jewish public figures seem all too willing to compromise their values for the sake of political maneuvering. Jewish moral resolve has been replaced by expediency.

Another recent casualty of this sad state of affairs is Abe Foxman, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, who has long been a tireless opponent of anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of bigotry. Many were shocked when Foxman and the ADL recently opposed congressional legislation condemning the Armenian genocide, out of fear of alienating Turkey, which is one of Israel's most important allies. While Foxman acknowledged that the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians by Turkey between 1915 and 1923 was "tantamount to genocide," he still refused to support the legislation. Turkey's relationship with Israel is indeed valuable, but on the subject of genocide there should be no room for equivocation, particularly from an organization claiming to represent Jewish values.

All this is not to say that American Jewish public figures should embrace blind idealism irrespective of the political consequences. On the contrary, responsible political leadership requires carefully considered compromise. But when political expediency trumps fundamental moral principles, or turns on its head undisputed historical events, the integrity of Jewish moral leadership begins to erode. The American Jewish community has long been known - with exceptions, of course - for producing leaders who could be counted on to defend their moral convictions to the very end. Leaders like Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, who paved the way for labor reform in America, and Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel, who devoted himself to the civil rights movement, understood that the preservation of moral principles was an essential component of the struggle for justice and equality.

Michael Mukasey and Abe Foxman are both good people; their records attest to that. But if they and other American Jewish public figures do not re-embrace a commitment to maintaining moral integrity, even at the expense of obtaining short-term political advantages, they risk undermining everything that Jewish leaders have long stood for.

Jacob Victor is a third-year student at Harvard College. He is the managing editor of New Society: The Harvard College Middle East Journal, and a member of the editorial board of the Harvard Crimson.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/922235.html

11/08 Watertown Tab: ADL to take no action on Armenian Genocide

ADL to take no action on Armenian Genocide

By Jillian Fennimore, Staff Writer

Thu Nov 08, 2007, 12:08 PM EST

WATERTOWN - Last week the Anti-Defamation League decided to take no further action on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. But in Watertown, many are moving forward on educating and bringing light to the issue.

Former “No Place for Hate” Committee Co-Chairperson Will Twombly said there are no plans to rejoin with the regional or national “No Place for Hate” program, an umbrella organization under the ADL. The ADL has been under major public scrutiny for failing to unequivocally recognize the World War I-era deaths of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.

Many local Armenians are airing their concerns about the national ADL’s decision, which was taken last week at a meeting in New York.

“It is disappointing,” said Sharistan Melkonian, chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts, which is based in Watertown. “Frankly, if the ADL didn’t purport to be a human rights organization whose mission is ‘to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike,’ they would be considered like any other narrowly defined advocacy organization. But they claim to be a human rights organization and as such, have come into our schools and towns. They teach our children. Yet they are certainly not securing justice and fair treatment for Armenian citizens.”

Since Watertown ended its ties with “No Place for Hate” in August, members of the former committee have joined forces with the World in Watertown — a local human rights group — to host a public forum on Nov. 28 called “Understanding Genocide and Its Impact.”

Twombly said the idea is to provide history, hear the words of survivors, realize the
effects of denial and discuss the current genocide crisis in Darfur.

“We want to give ideas of what people can do now,” he said.

The controversy over the ADL’s stance, which continues to have international repercussions, began in Watertown. In July, Newton’s David Boyajian wrote a letterto the Watertown TAB & Press about the ADL’s stance.

After much public debate and emotional outpouring from local Armenians and officials, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman changed the organization’s position in August by calling the consequences of the then-Ottoman Empire’s actions “tantamount to genocide.”

But Foxman enraged many Armenians by his organization’s continued opposition to a Congressional resolution making it the official U.S. view that the massacres of Armenians were genocide, that is to say a concerted government effort to annihilate an ethnic group.

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/watertown/homepage/x481179685

11/08 JTA: ADL calls for town official's resignation

ADL calls for town official's resignation

Published: 11/08/2007

A Massachusetts town official who made disparaging remarks to a Jewish colleague should resign, the Anti-Defamation League said.

Maureen Kenney, a selectwoman and member of the school committee in Randolph, reportedly said of a request by the town's Jewish superintendent of schools for five days paid leave following a family death, "It is not the standard in industry. Besides, don't you Jews plant them within 24 hours?"

Richard Silverman, the superintendent, said that after protesting Kenney's remarks, she responded, "I don't see any side curls on your head, so what the hell do you need five days of bereavement leave for?"

In a statement Wednesday, the New England Anti-Defamation League office called for Kenney's resignation, saying her comments were "an insult to the entire community," according to news reports. "Bigotry against anyone is bigotry against everyone."

Randolph, a community 15 miles south of Boston, participates in ADL's No Place for Hate, an anti-bigotry program that has come under fire recently from activists opposed to the organization's position on the Armenian genocide.

A local civil rights leader, David Harris, and the Patriot Ledger, a local newspaper, also have called for Kenney to step down.

Source: http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/105184.html

11/08 Jewish Advocate: Jewish leaders hope to leave genocide controversy behind

Jewish leaders hope to leave genocide controversy behind

By Rachel L. Axelbank - Thursday November 8 2007

'No further action' ruling disappoints Armenian community

Following last Friday’s much-anticipated annual meeting of the Anti-Defamation League’s National Commission, local leaders are looking to the future.

Those involved in the ongoing controversy regarding the ADL’s stance on the massacre of some 1.5 million Armenians in the early 1900s have been looking forward to the meeting as one that would definitively clarify National Director Abraham Foxman’s statement that the massacre was “tantamount to genocide.”

Following the meeting, the ADL National Commission issued a statement that it had “decided to take no further action on the issue of the Armenian genocide.”

New England Regional Board Chair James Rudolph said he is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and the implications of the issued statement.

“It’s clear to us that there was always an intent to unequivocally recognize the Armenian genocide,” Rudolph said.

ADL New England Region Director Andrew Tarsy, who also attended the annual meeting, agreed with Rudolph.

“The commission thoroughly debated the issue, and I think it’s time to move on,” he said.
According to Khatchig Mouradian, editor of the Watertown-based Armenian Weekly, the local Armenian community had not expected ADL to reverse its position regarding a congressional resolution on the matter but had hoped that ADL New England delegates would at least make a clear statement in recognition of the genocide.

“It was an utter disappointment when the statement came out that even that minimal thing was not met, especially when it also turned out that the ADL commissioners from New England believed that the decision was fine,” he said.

House Resolution 106, which calls for the United States’ recognition of the Armenian genocide, was approved last month by the House Foreign Relations Committee and was, until recently, expected to reach the floor before Congress adjourned for the year.

However, a full house vote has been postponed indefinitely at the request of some of the bill’s sponsors, who Mouradian believes were motivated by fear that pressure from the Turkish government would cause the resolution to be voted down.

“Turkey resorted to blackmail, and actually it worked,” Mouradian said. “I’m not in favor of our government giving in to blackmail.”
While the ADL meeting produced no official verdict on HR 106 specifically, the Boston Globe reported that a New York ADL commissioner had asked other commissioners to sign a letter stating their strong disagreement with the resolution as well as the New England chapter’s position on the matter.

In recent months, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston has been a leader in encouraging ADL to recognize the genocide. And while JCRC has yet to take a position of its own regarding HR 106, Executive Director Nancy K. Kaufman speculated that it would emerge in support of the resolution.

“I think what we’re doing is taking our lead from the congressional delegation,” Kaufman said. “No one wants to spark an international conflict with Turkey right now, including the Armenian community.”

Kaufman also expressed regret over the controversy and its ramifications.

“I’ve been very sad that ‘No Place for Hate’ has been the target [of topical antagonism toward the ADL] because I think it’s a good program,” she said, referring to the ADL’s anti-prejudice program from which Massachusetts municipalities – among them Lexington, Newton and Watertown – have been withdrawing in the months since the controversy began.

Meanwhile, Foxman has been critical of Boston’s Jewish community leaders. In the published transcript of a September interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Foxman implicated Kaufman – as well as Combined Jewish Philanthropies President Barry Shrage – in his discussion of the rift created between the national ADL office and the Greater Boston area.

But the controversy has diverted attention from the important work that Jewish organizations do, including fighting hatred, promoting good interfaith and interethnic relations, and supporting Israel, according to Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University professor of American Jewish History.

“This has been an enormous diversion, because I don’t think most people in the Jewish community have any doubt that terrible things were done to the Armenian community,” Sarna said. “My hope is that we can move away from that issue – which is not one to which so much community attention should be devoted – and focus on the issues that are important: Jewish continuity, Israel and community relations.”

But, according to Mouradian, the Armenian community is not prepared to consider the matter settled.

“The ADL is saying ‘We don’t care about your genocide,’” he said. “I believe it is a very insulting position, and I can’t see how the Armenian community is going to say ‘OK, let’s go home now.’”

Kaufman, though sympathetic to the Armenian community’s position, echoed Sarna’s call for the Jewish community to move forward.

“For the Armenian community obviously it’s not over,” she said. “I’d like to think in Boston it’s over because the ADL office here did a bold and unprecedented thing. I think we need to move on.”

Source: http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/this_weeks_issue/news/?content_id=3959

11/08 Globe West: Community Briefing: Newton No Place for Hate

Home / News / Local Globe West Community briefing

NEWTON

NO PLACE FOR HATE - With a recent decision by the Anti-Defamation League's national board to take no further action on a congressional resolution acknowledging an Armenian genocide, Newton Mayor David Cohen must decide whether to sever ties with the ADL's No Place for Hate Program permanently. Earlier this fall, Cohen dropped the program, saying it was a matter of conscience, and asked the group's national director, Abraham Foxman, to unequivocally acknowledge the Ottoman Empire's massacre of Armenians as a genocide by supporting the congressional resolution. Last summer, Foxman, under pressure from ADL members, issued a statement calling the forcible deportation and massacre of perhaps 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-17 as "tantamount to genocide." Many criticized his wording as unclear, and seven communities, including Newton, discontinued the No Place for Hate program awaiting a more concise statement by Foxman. Foxman has said he feared international repercussions by Turkey, which as the Ottoman Empire's successor denies the genocide label. Jeremy Solomon, Cohen's spokesman, said the mayor will discuss the national ADL's decision at the city's next Human Rights Commission meeting. A date had not yet been scheduled, he said. "We're going to evaluate the actions taken in their entirety," Solomon said. "Perhaps it is not as black and white as it was when we issued the demand."

- Megan Woolhouse

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/11/08/honors_for_stroke_treatments/

11/07 Arlington Advocate: Town confirms decision on No Place for Hate

Town confirms decision on No Place for Hate

By Shauna Staveley

Arlington, Mass. - The Anti-Defamation League wouldn’t budge and the Arlington No Place for Hate Program Steering Committee refused to compromise.

On Tuesday, the committee chose to make permanent its withdraw from the national program because the ADL once again refused to acknowledge the death of more than 1 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923 as a genocide.

“The committee will continue to work, along with many other groups and citizens, to ensure that Arlington is a place that’s welcoming to all and where the diversity that each of us brings is celebrated and mutually respected,” said NPFH Chairwoman Cindy Friedman in an e-mail. “Over the next few months we will be looking at how we continue our work outside the umbrella of the No Place for Hate program, and how we ensure that anyone who wants to join us in this effort will feel welcome.”

The ADL sponsors the No Place for Hate organization.
Activists in Watertown, which has a large Armenian population, were among the first to speak out publicly when the ADL refused use of the word genocide. The Watertown Town Council rescinded its involvement with NPFH in August.

Several NPFH programs followed suit, pushing the issue into the public conscience. The outcry put pressure on the ADL’s national office to reconsider its stance on the issue.

Arlington’s NPFH program chose to suspend its association, a decision endorsed by the Human Rights Commission. Part of that decision set parameters for Arlington’s return to the program, which included the ADL changing its stance.

“I had no intention before, and I have no intention now of bringing that up for reconsideration,” said Human Rights Commission Chairman Joe Curro Jr. on Monday. “I think especially so in light of the failure of the ADL to act on the issue.”

The Arlington No Place for Hate program first took root in at the beginning of 2007 and was supported by many residents as well as Police Chief Frederick Ryan.

Project Director Myriam Zuber told attendees of a meeting Jan. 18 that more than 60 communities in the state are “officially part of the program,” with 35 of them joining in 2006.

“We are sorry we can no longer be part of the program,” Friedman said Tuesday.

Hilda Silverman, an Arlington resident and noted peace activist, was one of the individuals against the program from the start, and it was originally due to the ADL involvement.

“Our town deserves better,” said Silverman.
Silverman cites what she calls ADL’s “suppression of dissent” and “blacklisting” as reasons for her opposition to the group.

As of Tuesday, she felt the very premise of the NPFH program may have been the true problem.

“I think that notion of opposing hate is the wrong concept for an anti-bigotry program,” Silverman said. “Look at how upset people were at what the ADL did, but nobody claims ADL hates Armenians. It wasn’t about hate. It’s about interests. It’s about taking a position that ignored the suffering of a group of people because of certain other interests…if we want to educate people, especially young people, it’s not about hate, it’s about understanding the experience of the other.”

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/arlington/homepage/x1086970438

11/06 Metro West Daily: Letter: Denial of genocide is evil

Denial of genocide is evil

It is discouraging, 62 years after my infantry division raced across Europe to save precious prisoners in the Nazi death camps, that I, as an old soldier, must again join a fight against genocide. However, this time the fight is against the most evil phase of genocide: its denial.

David Boyajian's article, ``The Greenway: No Place for the ADL'' (MetroWest Daily News, Oct. 28), is extremely sobering and I would normally be inclined to demand an immediate explanation from the ADL regarding its behind-the-scenes activities in the matter of obstructing the Armenian Heritage Park.

But recalling the recent stance taken by the ADL that the annihilation of the Armenians was not really a genocide but merely ``tantamount to genocide,'' a phrase now ridiculed around the world, I believe it would be prudent for me to ignore that misguided organization entirely.

However, because of Peter Meade's role as a senior Blue Cross-Blue Shield official, a competent company whose services I have enjoyed for over 40 years, and his stellar reputation as a civic-minded citizen, I take this opportunity to urge him to disassociate himself immediately from the ADL, which has morphed from a highly regarded human rights organization into an infamous one.

Unless and until the ADL unambiguously acknowledges the reality of the Armenian Genocide and re-establishes its moral base, it will continue to sink. Mr. Meade does not deserve the tarnish he will inherit by his continued association with the ADL.

CHARLES SAHAGIAN,
Needham

Source: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/x1375675765

11/05 Jewish Telegraphic Agency: ADL: no further action on genocide

ADL: no further action on genocide

Published: 11/05/2007

The Anti-Defamation League has decided to take no further action on the Armenian genocide question.

At the league's national commission meeting in New York last week, ADL's New England leadership pushed for a more unambiguous statement recognizing the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide. The matter was discussed at a three-hour closed door session on Friday afternoon, after which the ADL's national commissioners voted overwhelmingly to endorse its current statement on the genocide. The New England leadership withdrew its resolution calling for a further statement.

In August, under mounting pressure from Boston-area communities, the ADL reversed longstanding policy and referred to the "consequences" of the killings as "tantamount to genocide." Critics said the statement was insufficient and a dodge, a charge the ADL has repeatedly denied.

ADL leaders from New England, who had initially pushed hard for a clearer statement, claimed to be satisfied with the outcome. James Rudolph, chairman of the New England regional board, told the Boston Globe that he had received assurances that the August statement was unequivocal.

"I feel comfortable with it," Rudolph said.

New England ADL leaders say they plan to try and mend fences with several Boston communities who broke ties with a popular anti-bigotry program sponsored by the ADL in protest of its position on the genocide. But local Armenian activists gave no indication that they would stop pressing for a change.

"I am very disappointed," said one Armenian leader who wished to remain anonymous because talks with the New England leadership are ongoing. "The current decision by the entire cadre of ADL commissioners from across the U.S. makes the entire organization complicit in Turkey's genocide denial campaign."

Source: http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/105104.html

11/04 San Francisco Chronicle: It's time to tell it like it is about Armenian genocide

It's time to tell it like it is about Armenian genocide

Roxanne Makasdjian

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Armenian genocide resolution pending in Congress (HR106) has prompted debate about whether it's the right time for the United States to officially recognize the systematic annihilation of the Armenian population in Turkey, perpetrated by the government of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Against increasingly bold denials of history and unjustifiable intimidation by Turkey, now is the best time for our country to tell it like it is.

A wave of disinformation has been disseminated by the Turkish and U.S. administrations since the resolution passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Oct. 10. Turkey's threats have included cutting off the use of our air base, thus restricting our military shipments, and intervening in northern Iraq, destabilizing the only relatively quiet part of that country. The rationale for those threats is deceptive, the resolution being a convenient excuse to threaten to disrupt U.S. military actions in Iraq to advance Turkey's own interests.

The fact is that we needn't become hostage to blackmail. In 2003, without an Armenian genocide resolution up for a vote, Turkey refused to allow us to use our base at Incirlik to invade Iraq. We carried out the invasion successfully anyway. The United States has numerous military bases in the area - in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Bulgaria, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan - from which we can operate.

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Turkish Daily News have all quoted U.S. officials saying that if Turkey cut off our base or supply lines, it would not greatly affect our military operations. And, according to a recent article in Defense News, the Armenian genocide resolution wouldn't even "dent" U.S. arms sales to Turkey. Several years ago, when France passed a similar resolution, arms sales between France and Turkey were back to booming within months.

Turkey's strategic interests are much more dependent on good relations with the United States than vice versa. If we tolerate Turkey's blackmail, we actually weaken our position in the strategic relationship and embolden others in the region to blackmail us.

Turkey's threats against the Kurds in Iraq are also not new, nor a result of the pending resolution. Successive Turkish governments have had claims on the oil-rich, northern Iraqi region of Kirkuk and Mosul from as early as the 1930s. Turkish governments have also treated their 20 million Kurds worse than second-class citizens.

Anti-Americanism has reached new heights in Turkey not because of the Armenian genocide resolution, but because of opposition to the U.S. intervention in Iraq and the consequent formation of a Kurdish autonomous government controlling the oil revenue in northern Iraq. As Graham Fuller, former vice chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, wrote recently, "Turkish-American relations have been deteriorating for years, and the root explanation is simple and harsh: Washington's policies are broadly and fundamentally incompatible with Turkish foreign policy interests in multiple arenas."

Despite all this, the United States has been enabling Turkey's denial of the genocide, damaging our reputation and giving a junior ally the upper hand in a relationship in which we should be leading. Last year, the U.S. government went as far as dismissing our ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, for discussing the Armenian genocide. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have recently gone further, referring to the Armenian genocide as an open historical question needing more study.

This position contradicts the vast majority of historians and Holocaust and genocide studies that recognize this event as unambiguous genocide, as well as the abundant documentation in our own national archives, including the memoirs of the U.S. ambassador to Ottoman Turkey in 1915, Henry Morgenthau, who wrote of witnessing the "extermination of a whole race."

Turkey has even reached into our educational system by lobbying against inclusion of the Armenian genocide in our textbooks, and against local remembrances of the genocide, as was the case when Armenian Americans purchased San Francisco's Mount Davidson Cross in memory of their slain forefathers.

In Turkey today, discussion of the Armenian genocide is a crime carrying as many as 10 years in prison. Scores of writers, professors and community leaders are being prosecuted under this law, legitimizing the undemocratic, nationalist fervor of the Turkish masses. In this context, the government's call for a commission of Turkish and Armenian historians to study the "events of 1915" is simply a way to bury the truth.

Contrary to opponents' claims, House Resolution 106 does not condemn present-day Turkey for the crimes of its predecessor, nor does it demand that Turkey recognize the genocide. It simply reaffirms the historical record, a necessary affirmation when faced with massive denial. Congress has passed recent resolutions reaffirming the truth of the Holocaust as well as the genocides in Cambodia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Darfur.

Most recently, we watched Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi give the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama, despite China's warnings that such action would be detrimental to U.S.-China relations. Giving in to similar warnings from Turkey would highlight the hypocrisy in that action and signal to the world that we have a clear double standard when it comes to human rights. The longer the United States helps Turkey's denial, the longer the denial will continue, and the longer we'll be hostage to it. Instead, we should help steer Turkey toward democracy, for its own sake - and ours.

Roxanne Makasdjian is chair of the Bay Area Armenian National Committee. Contact us at insight@sfchronicle.com.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/11/04/INTDT2UPH.DTL

11/03 Boston Globe: ADL officials say stance clear on genocide

ADL officials say stance clear on genocide

Contend earlier remarks had been misinterpreted

By Megan Woolhouse, Globe Staff November 3, 2007

NEW YORK - The national Anti-Defamation League yesterday refused to act on calls from within its own ranks to acknowledge unequivocally the Armenian genocide, after its top officials insisted that earlier remarks calling the World War I-era massacre "tantamount to genocide" were misinterpreted.

"I was very clear," ADL head Abraham Foxman said in an interview last night, referring to his remarks in August. "People with other agendas tried to read into them."

In a statement issued last night, the National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League said it had "decided to take no further action on the issue of the Armenian genocide."

Before yesterday's meeting, Massachusetts-based members of the ADL had urged the national organization to support both a congressional resolution calling the massacre genocide and a separate, similar measure. Some critics from Massachusetts had contended that Foxman's earlier statement was carefully constructed to avoid a full acknowledgement of the massacre.

But after hearing a lengthy debate, Massachusetts representatives withdrew their resolution, saying they were satisfied with the outcome.

James Rudolph, chairman of the ADL's regional board for New England, said the league's national chairman, Glen Lewy, assured the group "that earlier statements were always intended to be an unequivocal acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide."

"I feel comfortable with it," Rudolph said of the decision.

Newton resident Lori Gans, also an ADL commissioner, said she was pleased.

"We were hoping to get a clearer, restated position," she said after the meeting. "We didn't get a formal statement, but we got clarity. Abe Foxman's statement of Aug. 21 was in fact the unequivocal statement we wanted it to be."

Armenian activists, however, disagreed.

Sharistan Melkonian, chief of the Armenian National Committee's Eastern Massachusetts office, said Foxman owes the Armenian community an apology.

"It's disappointing that they don't come out with a strong statement that would put an end to any concerns about its position once and for all. it's unfortunate and it's disappointing," she said by phone after the vote.

Since this summer's controversy, seven Massachusetts communities have severed or suspended relations with the ADL and dropped its No Place for Hate Program.

Rudolph said yesterday that he would try to bring those communities back into the program.

"I think the perception it was never intended to be unequivocal has hurt us," he said. "We left today's meeting recommitted to the mission of the ADL."

Between 1915 and 1923, Ottoman Turks massacred as many as 1.5 million Armenians in what the US ambassador at the time called "a campaign of race extermination." Historians and other nations, as well as Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, have described the massacre as genocide. But the Turkish government has refused to accept the label; until August, neither did the ADL.

Leaders within the ADL, founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism, have long expressed concern that acknowledging the genocide would put Jews at risk in Turkey or damage Israel's relations with Turkey, a Muslim ally. The US government also relies on Turkey as an ally in the Iraq war.

The controversy erupted in August after Watertown, which has a sizeable Armenian-American community, decided to pull out of the No Place For Hate Program to protest the ADL's refusal to acknowledge the genocide. Regional ADL members then challenged the national organization's stand. Andrew Tarsy, chapter director, spoke out publicly, saying he disagreed with the national position.

Foxman fired Tarsy. Board members, Jewish leaders, and Armenian-Americans rallied to support Tarsy, and Foxman reversed course. Within days, he called the massacre "tantamount to genocide" and rehired Tarsy.

Although he did not have a vote and is not a commissioner, Tarsy attended yesterday's conference. He did not return calls requesting comment last night.

About 200 ADL commissioners met behind closed doors for more than three hours at a Manhattan hotel to debate the matter during its annual convention. About 50 commissioners spoke on the issue.

According to a letter obtained by the Globe yesterday, New York ADL Commissioner Robert G. Sugarman asked other commissioners to sign a letter stating they did not support either the House resolution or the New England chapter's efforts. Members were asked to sign a letter that said they "strongly disagree" with the premise of both resolutions.

"We cannot understand why the issue of ADL's position on the massacres, atrocities, and genocide perpetrated against Armenians should be raised again at the National Commission meeting," the letter said. "It is inconceivable that anyone could reasonably interpret the statement in any way other than as an unambiguous and unequivocal declaration."

The letter referred to the massacre as genocide twice, adding that the ADL "did the right and moral thing by recognizing the Armenian genocide in August."

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/11/03/adl_officials_say_stance_clear_on_genocide/

11/03 Armenian Reporter Editorial: A Broken Moral Compass

In an April 21 article, the Los Angeles Times quoted the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, speaking out against the Armenian Genocide resolutions in Congress. Mr. Foxman's open acknowledgement of his opposition to the resolutions started a firestorm of controversy in the Jewish-American community and beyond. Many prominent figures and newspapers criticized Mr. Foxman's position. The leadership of the ADL's New England Region took a firm position that the ADL should support the resolutions. Mr. Foxman promptly fired the ADL's New England regional director. Responding to the pressure, Mr. Foxman and the ADL's national chair, Glen S. Lewy, in an August 21 letter acknowledged that the destruction of the Armenian people in 1915 was "tantamount to genocide." But they persisted in opposing the congressional resolutions. The New England Region placed the matter on the agenda of the ADL's national policy-making body, which convened on November 1. The results of the body's deliberations were not available at press time.

Taking sides

What was available, however, was news of a disgraceful interview Mr. Foxman had given to the Jewish Telegraph Agency. In it, he attacked leaders of Boston's Jewish-American community – and the community itself – for allegedly siding with local Armenians over Israel in this matter. In doing so, Mr. Foxman once again showed that his moral compass is broken. The relations of Jewish-Americans and Armenian-Americans in New England and beyond are important and should not be discounted. But a person in Mr. Foxman's position should understand very well that much more is at stake. Jewish public intellectuals deserve the lion's share of the credit for making the world understand that the denial of evil – and particularly of genocide – is morally unforgivable and in practice leads to more evil. So how can Jewish-Americans become complicit in genocide denial? They cannot. Combined Jewish Philanthropies President Barry Shrage and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston Executive Director Nancy K. Kaufman, who were singled out for attack name by Mr. Foxman, understand this moral imperative. Mr. Foxman does not. The tactics and motives of those that deny the Holocaust are much the same for those that deny the Armenian Genocide. If Turkey can successfully impose its will on the U.S. and Israel via threats and intimidation, then that tactic can and will be used against both countries again and again. We cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated. Over the last few weeks, Americans have been told, "You can stand either with the Genocide resolution or with American soldiers; take your choice." Now, Mr. Foxman says stand with the resolution or with Israel. It is a discouraging feature of our time that this kind of argument requires a firm and ready response. But as Armenians, we must be willing to make such responses. We must be prepared to speak out and write that if Turkey is unwilling to stand by the United States or Israel, the blame lies not with supporters of Genocide recognition, but with Turkey itself. Likewise, if American Jews feel a moral obligation, and have the moral backbone, to denounce the ADL's denial of the Genocide, the problem certainly has nothing to do with their "loyalty" to Israel. The problem lies with the ADL, and its unwillingness to grapple with the truth in this matter. One thing Armenians and Jews have shared historically is the attempt by others to impute "disloyalty" of one form or another to their efforts to achieve recognition and justice. That the imputation this time comes from the ADL's leadership is surprising, to be sure, but it is also instructive, both to Armenians and to our countless friends and supporters in the Jewish community. Mr. Foxman acknowledges that he is "shocked, upset, frightened" that his flawed policy on the Armenian Genocide has been subject to strong criticism. He feels he "got made fun of for it." So, inexplicably citing intermarriage rates, he claims that Jewish-Americans in Boston simply don't care about Israel. A responsible leader does not respond to challenges by flailing out at his critics. What Mr. Foxman's critics understand and he does not is that caring about Israel cannot mean abandoning one's core beliefs and values.

11/02 Boston Globe: Local members put pressure on ADL

Local members put pressure on ADL

Seek more direct genocide wording

By Keith O'Brien, Globe Staff November 2, 2007

Local members of the Anti-Defamation League will push the organization's national leadership today to unequivocally acknowledge the Armenian genocide after months of controversy that has tarnished the image of the human rights organization in Massachusetts.

Already, across the state, seven communities have pulled out of a popular ADL antibigotry program, citing the organization's failure to clearly acknowledge the World War I-era genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire and support a Congressional resolution to do the same.

Under pressure, the national ADL and its leader, Abraham H. Foxman, reversed decades of policy in August and acknowledged for the first time that the massacre of Armenians in modern-day Turkey between 1915 and 1918 was "tantamount to genocide."

But that carefully worded statement did little to appease ADL critics. Massachusetts towns - led by Watertown, home to 8,000 Armenian-Americans - continued to pull out of the ADL's "No Place For Hate" program, and regional ADL leaders decided to ask the organization's national commission to approve a more direct genocide statement.

"Addressing the issue of Armenian Genocide should not necessarily hinge upon the erosion it has caused to the New England Region's No Place for Hate program," regional ADL leaders wrote recently in a letter obtained by the Globe and sent to roughly 300 members of the organization's national commission. "Nor, should it rest upon the potential unraveling of other long-standing ADL efforts. . . . What is at stake here, at its core, is principle and the mission of our agency."

Local leaders in the Jewish and Armenian-American communities agree that the regional ADL must succeed in persuading the national organization to take a clear stand on this issue when they meet today. "This is a very significant moral issue," said Nancy K. Kaufman, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.

But not everyone attending today's national commission agrees that the ADL should approve a wording change, much less Congressional acknowledgement of Armenian genocide. Foxman, who did not return calls, has said for weeks that the ADL has gone far enough on this issue, and other people attending today's meeting share his point of view.

"I don't think revisiting the issue is necessary," said Dennis Kainen, chairman of the ADL's Florida regional board. "I believe the statement is clear and I think the ADL has gone a long way."

The item on today's ADL agenda asks members to vote whether or not to support House Resolution 106, a Congressional resolution that would acknowledge the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago as genocide.

The refusal by Turkey - an ally of Israel - to acknowledge the genocide makes the issue complicated for the United States, Israel, and the ADL. Last month, when the Armenian genocide resolution received the approval of a House committee, clearing the way for a vote of the full House, Turkey called home its ambassador in Washington and warned that the resolution would "jeopardize a strategic partnership" between Turkey and the United States.

The measure, which had enjoyed widespread approval, lost support. Last week, sponsors shelved the resolution indefinitely.

In their letter to the national commissioners, the regional ADL leaders in Boston say they are not urging people to consider the resolution, but to drop the phrase "tantamount to genocide" and acknowledge the genocide "in the clearest possible way."

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/11/02/local_members_put_pressure_on_adl/

11/02 Watertown Tab: Letter: Former House Speaker Keverian backs Devaney

Letter: Former House Speaker Keverian backs Devaney

Fri Nov 02, 2007, 05:50 PM EDT

WATERTOWN - I have known and admired Marilyn Devaney for years.

We have cooperated on several public policy issues in the past.

But of more importance to me, as an Armenian-American, she has always demonstrated her strong support for our causes. Marilyn was quick to help when Armenia suffered a tragic earthquake. She has attended our Statehouse memorial services honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

And most recently, Marilyn led the fight in the Watertown Town Council when they voted to withdraw from the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” program in response to that organization’s refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Whenever we needed Marilyn Devaney, she was there! Now she needs you, and she has earned your support. I ask you to vote for Marilyn Devaney as she seeks reelection as your councilor-at-large.

George Keverian
Former Speaker of the House

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/watertown/news/opinions/x481175446

11/01 Jewish Advocate: Abe Foxman criticizes local approach on Armenian issue

Abe Foxman criticizes local approach on Armenian issue

By Raphael Kohan - Thursday November 1 2007

Abe FoxmanADL national director calls out Boston's Jewish community leaders

In an interview published on Oct. 26 by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, criticized Boston’s Jewish leadership for its handling of this summer’s controversy surrounding recognition of the Armenian genocide. Foxman accused the local community of not giving proper priority to Israeli interests, singling out Combined Jewish Philanthropies President Barry Shrage and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston Executive Director Nancy K. Kaufman.

In the interview, which was conducted last month, Foxman told the interviewer that he was “shocked, upset, frightened” that the Boston Jewish community had rallied so strongly against him, deciding to side with the local Armenian community rather than with the ADL.

“I got made fun of for it,” Foxman said of the ADL’s initial stance on the Armenian genocide. “[I] said we need unity now because Iran is a threat, Hamas is a threat, Hezbollah is a threat, anti-Semitism in Europe and Latin America. The last thing we need now is for Barry Shrage and Nancy Kaufman to be fighting us.”

Kaufman was the driving force on a petition signed by local groups that urged Foxman to recognize the Armenian massacres as genocide.

“We have nothing to apologize for,” said Alan Ronkin, deputy director of the JCRC. “We have never personally attacked Foxman. The fact that he personally attacked us is outrageous.”

ADL Regional Director Andrew H. Tarsy was not available for comment.

Yet Foxman defended his organization’s original position, saying that he only yielded to Boston-area Jews like Tarsy and Kaufman to preserve unity. Foxman maintained that while he has had Israel’s and Jewish interests in mind for the long-term, Boston leaders chose to champion current local relations, putting the Armenian issue ahead of the interests of the State of Israel.

“It was very clear that there are two moral issues, but one trumps the other. And it was clear to me that I cannot save one Armenian human being, not one,” said Foxman. “We need a strong unified Jewish community to help Israel … I gave for the greater purpose so that we can now sit and talk together. It almost destroyed our operation in Boston.”
And what the Boston community revealed about itself during the summer controversy was disturbing, according to Foxman.

“What I didn’t realize was to what extent the American Jewish community has reversed Hillel, or at least in Boston and Massachusetts,” Foxman said, referring to Hillel’s famous adage, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

Foxman attributed the Boston Jewish community’s diminished sense of self-preservation to the high instance of intermarriage and assimilation in the Boston area. According to Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s 2005 Community Study, 29 percent of all Jewish households in Greater Boston are intermarried.

Locally, CJP has made outreach to interfaith families a priority in maintaining a strong Jewish community, working closely with organizations like InterfaithFamily.com.
“I am very proud of our community,” said Shrage. “I understand Abe’s concerns, but he is wrong about the Boston Jewish community. I think he knows he is. We are allowed to disagree in our community, but he was wrong to characterize the Boston Jewish community in the way he did.”

Foxman and others predicted fallout in U.S. and Israel’s relationship with Turkey if a congressional resolution recognizing the genocide were passed. And those fears seemed to be realized when Turkey recalled its ambassador to the U.S. in October.

“This is simply a conflict between the more narrow or limited local idealistic interests which focused on local politics and acknowledging a past genocide, versus the broader and more pragmatic concerns of the national leadership which focused on support for preventing a future genocide,” said Grand Rabbi Y. A. Korff.

In perhaps his most biting criticism of the local community, Foxman asserted that area Jews no longer care about the fate of the Jewish state as much as they once did.

“Israel is no longer as significant,” Foxman said. “Some of this stuff I read and hear about in Boston was, ‘Why do we have to sacrifice our relationship with our Armenian friends and neighbors for Israel?’ I heard people say to me if the [Jews in Turkey] are in trouble, let them leave. That’s what I miscalculated.”

But according to Kaufman, Foxman’s information is misguided.

“He got it all wrong,” she said. “He does not understand the Boston Jewish community at all. We are absolutely, unequivocally, passionately, and universally supportive of Israel. The Boston Jewish community should be outraged by his comments.”

The national ADL office was not available for comment.

When asked if Foxman’s remarks – despite his assertion that unity is needed among Jews – would widen the divide between himself and the Boston Jewish community, Kaufman declined to comment.

Kaufman added: “While Abe has been an incredible Jewish leader nationally, he does not know how to behave locally.”

Source: http://www.thejewishadvocate.com/this_weeks_issue/news/?content_id=3928

11/01 Haaretz: When Turkey threatens to jump

Posted: November 01, 2007

When Turkey threatens to jump

"She's going to talk primarily about the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship and talk about the fact that it is a good, strong relationship," claimed State Department spokesman Sean McCormack in his daily briefing to the press Monday. "She" is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; the "talk" will happen on her trip to Turkey later this week; and that "strong relationship" is in trouble. The Turks have recently re-learned that they can influence America's decision-makers and policies, and they're going to use that power again.

Last month, the Turks and their friends in the administration defeated Nancy Pelosi, a determined, commanding speaker of the House. The passage of a resolution that would label the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "genocide" was postponed indefinitely. Pelosi's friends on the Democratic side of the House were kind enough to save her from even greater embarrassment: The sponsors asked her to delay the vote?and she agreed.

This was a political blunder. The speaker, as committed as anyone to passing the symbolic legislation, was humiliated by an even stronger and no less committed Turkish lobby. However - as often happens with acts of foolishness committed by Congress - the price will be paid by another branch of government, the executive. The check will be submitted later this week to its senior representative, Secretary Rice. A week later, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit an even higher authority, President George Bush, with the same purpose.

America lost twice in this congressional battle of political will?by losing the chance to gain the high moral ground by recognizing the Armenian tragedy and by angering an important ally. Turkey was able to benefit twice: It defeated the bill, but it was also handed an excuse to get angry by its earlier passage through the House foreign affairs committee. Now it can feel justified for its somewhat vindictive mood.

America, as a Pew Global Attitudes Survey showed just last week, is not the hottest political commodity in Ankara these days. "[N]egative views of the United States are indeed widespread and growing in Turkey," the study concluded. "Only 14% [of Turks] think the U.S. considers the interests of countries like Turkey when making foreign policy decisions," the study found. Ankara's demand that Washington increase its efforts to curb a wave of terror that originates in the Kurdish part of Iraq provides the U.S. administration with the perfect opportunity to show that it does "consider the interests of countries like Turkey."

The strategic relationship between Turkey and the United States has a long and complicated history. However, Turkey's importance to Washington can be easily, if somewhat simplistically, summed up in a slogan borrowed from the world of real estate: location, location, location.

But it now has a problem, which happens to come from an area controlled by the United States, namely Iraq. The PKK, a Kurdish terror group dedicated to a radically separatist cause, is harassing and killing Turkish soldiers and citizens, and Turkey wants it to stop. In the past couple of weeks, Turkey has muttered threats of invasion, while maintaining talks with American and Iraqi leaders. But talk will not be enough. Washington will have to do something about the PKK.

The problem is that the Iraqi government can make promises, but it can't deliver on them in the difficult northern terrain that's controlled by the Kurds. America might be able to do more, but it is reluctant to use its already strained forces, and it is reasonably afraid of destabilizing the only region in Iraq that has been relatively calm all along.

The Pentagon isn't happy with Turkey, which could have been far more helpful in 2003 and since. Diplomats are also worried, as they see the Islamist government moving away from the West and toward a more regionally focused strategy. Relations with Israel aren't as good as they used to be. Commerce with Syria is well-established. Discussions with Iran are frequent?though Turkey has no desire to hand Tehran a victory. Ankara can even maneuver between the United States and Russia?not that Turkey wants to help Russia, a longtime nemesis.

Turkey, it seems, has more leverage over the United States than the other way around. It can eliminate crucial supply lines for American forces in Iraq. It can invade Iraq. It can destabilize it. These threats were all used by the U.S. administration?backed up by high-ranking military commanders?to persuade Congress to back down on Armenian genocide. These same threats will be now used on the administration and, even more so, against reluctant CENTCOM officials, to make them invest more effort in solving the problem of the PKK attacks.

Iraq is your fault, anyway, the Turks say. They were better off with Saddam Hussein's regime?or, at least, that's what they now claim. Turkey was willing to stay on the sidelines while the United States was messing with the region, but they will not be the ones to pay the price. Not for a country that almost passed a bill condemning their actions nearly 100 years ago.

So, Turkey successfully used its leverage against Pelosi last month, and now?angrier but also more confident in its power to curb American will?it is embarking on another such journey. Presumably, it still needs the United States to deter its powerful neighbors against possible aggression. But if Turkey was threatened by Iran or pressured by Russia, does anyone believe that America would let it fall? Turkey knows that Washington can't afford such a scenario, and Washington knows that Turkey knows it. Through the Middle East and the world, the power of the weaker party is working against countries allied with the United States. It is the not-so-subtle threat of "do what I want or I will fall"?or, in the case of Turkey, jump.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml?itemNo=919437&contrassID=25&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=1&listSrc=Y&art=1