08/25 Armenian Weekly: The ADL Must Decide: Will they Serve the Truth or Will They Serve Turkey?

The ADL Must Decide: Will they Serve the Truth or Will They Serve Turkey?

By Michael G. Mensoian

"The Armenian Weekly", Volume 73, No. 34, August 25, 2007

The belated backtracking of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in acknowledging the planned, systematic massacre of 1,500,000 Armenian men, women and children as “…tantamount to genocide…” is discouraging. Tantamount means something is equivalent. If it’s equivalent, why avoid using the term? For the ADL to justify its newly adopted statement because the word genocide did not exist at the time indicates a halfhearted attempt to placate Armenians while not offending Turkey. Historians use the term genocide simply because it is the proper term to describe the horrific events that the Ottoman Turkish government unleashed on the Armenian people.

Andrew H. Tarsy, the New England regional director of the ADL, was dismissed for publicly acknowledging the Armenian genocide. He could no longer in good conscience support the ADL’s position that rejected the objective evidence. Bravo to any man that allows the truth to be his guide.

For the ADL to have maintained such a position was immoral and indefensible. And then as a sop to assuage Armenians, they have said that they will continue their efforts to have Turkey “…do more to confront its past.” Does the ADL really believe that their exhortations are seriously received by Turkish leaders? Turkey has had nearly 100 years to confront its past, but instead has decided to follow a policy of denial and historic revisionism.

Prominent Turkish scholars are now beginning to confront this dark period in modern Turkish history. Unfortunately, within Turkey these intellectuals are viewed as pariahs.

If the ADL doesn’t have the courage to properly acknowledge the crime that has been committed against the Armenian nation, any intercession on behalf of the Armenian Cause is neither desired nor worthwhile. Their position does a disservice to the Jewish people who have a long and well-documented history of fighting injustices. This is precisely why there was an immediate ground swell of opinion within the Jewish community denouncing the ADL’s untenable position when it was exposed to the light of day.

Unfortunately for the ADL, when it had the opportunity several days ago to revisit the issue of the Armenian genocide, the very best their leaders could do was to say that the planned systematic killing of over 1,500,000 Armenian men, women and children that took place between 1915 to 1918 was “tantamount to genocide.” Not exactly genocide mind you, but equivalent to genocide. Either the ADL recognizes the Armenian genocide or it doesn’t. There can be no equivocation on this most important issue.

How do the leaders of the ADL believe that any meaningful dialogue with Armenians can occur when they have studiously avoided recognizing the Armenian genocide? Then for the ADL to say that they will continue to oppose the resolution being debated in Congress clearly indicates their true position with respect to the Armenian genocide. Shame on the leadership of the ADL.

There are many parallels between the Armenian people and the Jewish people, both of whom have a large diaspora. The Jewish people fully understand the suffering and the hurt that the Armenian people have experienced. It should never be forgotten that the ease by which the Armenian genocide was perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government—and just as easily forgotten by a complacent world that lacked moral fortitude—only invited the Nazi German government to plan the “final solution of the Jewish Question” just as the Ottoman Turkish government planned the “final solution of the Armenian Question.”

The sterling credibility of the ADL has been severely tarnished. Double shame on their leadership for having allowed that to happen.

Source: http://www.hairenik.com/armenianweekly/com08250702p.htm