08/26 Bianet: ADL Retracted Genocide Recognition

ADL Retracts Genocide Recognition

Following pressure by Turkey and Israel, the US-based Anti-Defamation League has retracted its recognition of the "Armenian genocide" and has instead called on Turkish-Armenian cooperation to resolve the controversy.

"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. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens."

This is the mission statement of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a foundation based in the USA, which had decided to recognise the events of 1915 as a "genocide".

Following diplomatic pressure by Turkey and the intervention of Israeli Prime Minister Simon Peres, the ADL has retracted the recognition but called for historians to solve the issue.

Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu and Dov Sinar from Academic College in Israel evaluated the retraction for bianet.

State interests or consciences?

Sinar, who works in the area of peace journalism, said that Turkey would not get anywhere without facing up to the past and taking responsibility.

"The Jewish population in the USA was first concentrating on the relationship between Israel and Turkey. In order not to make problems for Israel, the American genocide was ignored. Since there has been an increase in academic studies on the Armenian genocide in the last twenty years, this stance has become more difficult to defend. Were the state's interests or consciences going to weigh more?"

Zarakolu: "Human tragedy" cannot be ignored

Zarakolu has argued that the ADL is in fact saying, "What I experienced was a genocide, but what other peoples experience is not a genocide." Zarakolu said that Israel, as a country whose people had experienced a genocide was being insensitive towards the Armenian Question.

"The denial in Turkey has led to comprehensive analyses and document research. If Turkey had changed its stance, there might have been a more gradual passage. It has become more difficult to lean on others using geopolitical profit."

Zarakolu added that a "human tragedy" could not be ignored for the sake of international politics, that this was not something consciences could accept.

"Academics and researchers in Israel are criticising the double standards. The retraction of the ADL may or may not be a result of the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) Middle East policies, but the lesson to be learnt its that history should never be mixed up with current politics."

Sinar: Both Israel and Turkey should accept Armenian genocide

Sinar said that the declaration of the Jewish Lobby in the USA was independent of Israel. "Officially, no lobby has the right to represent Israel. The ADL's declarations have not caused much reaction in Israel. They are not discussed in Israel. Israelis do not really know what happens in the USA."

Sinar expects both Israel and Turkey to accept the claims of an Armenian genocide because denying the past does not achieve anything: "The Armenian genocide must be recognised."

In a statement signed by ADL's national director Abraham Foxman and published on Tuesday, the ADL had stated that it had come to the conclusion that the events of 1915 were a "genocide", but that it would continue to oppose attempts to pass any law in Congress concerning this issue.(GG/AG)

Bıa news centre - Washington
26 Ağustos 2007, Pazar
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Source: http://www.bianet.org/english/kategori/english/101373/adl-retracted-genocide-recognition