09/07 Boston Globe: Belmont panel urges selectmen to quit ADL program

Belmont panel urges selectmen to quit ADL program
By Alex I. Oster, Globe Correspondent September 7, 2007

BELMONT - The Belmont Human Rights Commission voted unanimously yesterday to recommend that selectmen quit the Anti-Defamation League-sponsored No Place For Hate program until the civil rights group recognizes the Armenian genocide as historic fact and supports federal legislation to have the US government officially acknowledge the atrocity.

"If you have an organization that states that their purpose is to defend people, you can't choose only one," said Janet Boswell, a commission member.

About 50 people, many of them Armenian-Americans, attended the monthly meeting of the commission, which changed its agenda at Belmont Town Hall last night to discuss the town's membership in the controversial No Place For Hate program.

The program had come under fire recently by Armenian groups angry that the League would not acknowledge the massacres of Armenians in Turkey in the years following 1915 as genocide.

Watertown officials decided to leave the program last month. The town of Arlington followed, and other communities, including Newton and Needham, are considering doing so.

After the controversy in Watertown, the Anti-Defamation League stated that the experience of the Armenians was "tantamount to genocide," but said no more.

Belmont has been involved with No Place For Hate since 2005.

Our "original reason for joining was because they provide resources and a network of towns devoted to eliminating discrimination," committee member Fran Yuan said.

Belmont was "looking to be proactive" when it joined, said Laurie Graham, commission chairwoman, "to help educate people and promote diversity."

The meeting was punctuated with applause for citizens addressing the commission, but the panel received the loudest applause, and a standing ovation, when it passed the resolution.

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/09/07/belmont_panel_urges_selectmen_to_quit_adl_program/