09/21 Lexington Minuteman: ADL issue to go before selectmen Monday

ADL issue to go before selectmen Monday
By Bryan Mahoney/Staff Writer
Fri Sep 21, 2007, 11:28 AM EDT

Lexington - Lexington’s No Place for Hate Committee is expected to make a report to the Board of Selectmen Monday after being asked by Armenian residents to break ties with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Though no decision was made by the No Place for Hate Committee Friday, some members said they would lean toward discontinuing that affiliation while others were reluctant to do so without further investigating the ramifications of that decision.

“Being sponsored by the ADL is inconsistent with your mission to combat bias and hate,” said resident Laura Boghosian as she read from a statement. “While we applaud the efforts of those within the ADL working to overturn a despicable policy, we believe it is an internal matter for that body. Our town should not be involved in the internal politics of outside groups.”

Until Friday, the No Place for Hate Committee had not formally addressed the ADL’s partial acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks in the World War I era, or the ADL’s stance on a resolution in Congress to designate the genocide as such. Several surrounding communities have either suspended or severed their ties with the ADL’s No Place for Hate program since ADL regional director Andrew Tarsay was fired for acknowledging the massacre as genocide. He was later reinstated by national ADL director Abraham Foxman.

Hank Manz, the Board of Selectmen liaison to the committee, said the Armenian group would be first up during the public comment of Monday’s selectmen’s meeting. He said the board would first like to hear from the No Place for Hate Committee on its meeting and what will be its next steps.

Committee member David Horton felt this group should give a recommendation whether it should remain active with the ADL or cut its ties. The Board of Selectmen gave the official approval for the No Place for Hate committee in 1990.

“I’m tilting toward leaving ADL,” Horton said.
No Place for Hate chairman Jill Smilow, who has been with the group since its inception, has said there is no “death grip” from the national ADL on the issue. As such, No Place for Hate can still carry on its human-rights mission without severing a relationship that has many benefits, she said.

Olga Guttag, also a member of No Place for Hate, had misgivings about a local organization’s affiliation with any national one — not just the ADL — if it means a local group must adopt national positions.

“Local is local. We don’t want to inherit anybody’s agenda,” she said.

The Board of Selectmen meets Monday, Sept. 24 in the Selectmen’s meeting room at Town Hall, 1625 Massachusetts Ave.

Source: http://www.wickedlocal.com/lexington/homepage/x428364787