10/16 Inside Medford: Medford Could be Next to Withdraw from No-Hate Campaign

Medford Could be Next to Withdraw from No-Hate Campaign

Council Concerned About Anti-Defamation League Position on Armenian Genocide

City Councilor Robert Penta questions the ADL’s stance on mass killings of Armenians during WWI.

- Allison Goldsberry

If City Councilor Robert Penta has his way, Medford could be the next community to withdraw from the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” campaign because of the ADL’s refusal to recognize a mass killing of Armenians during World War I as genocide.

Penta said no one is against the ADL and the “No Place for Hate” campaign. However, he says if the campaign is to continue to be supported in Medford the city needs to know why the ADL has taken a stance that seems to contradict its purpose.

Penta is concerned that the ADL’s refusal to recognize the massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide sends the message that genocide is only recognized when its acknowledgement poses no military or economic threat to the US, such as with Darfur.

He pointed out that detractors still deny the Holocaust took place, and such dangerous denial could lead to a whitewashing of history.

“Denial will lead to forgetfulness, and forgetfulness will lead to revisionist theory [history],” said Penta.

A statement on the ADL’s website stopped just short of characterizing the mass killings of Armenians as genocide:

“We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view…that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide,” wrote ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.

The issue has received much attention, with several Massachusetts communities withdrawing their support of the campaign and public criticism aimed at the ADL.

Congress is also discussing the issue and several public officials are pressuring the administration to formally recognize the killings as genocide.

Congressman Ed Markey recently released a statement applauding a House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution that recognizes the genocide.

“I believe that by passing this resolution, we will contribute to the process of rebuilding relations between Armenians and Turks and help heal the wounds from that dark period of history,” said Rep. Markey.

According to Penta, Medford’s Human Rights Commission will discuss the issue at their next meeting, which is Wednesday at 5:30PM at City Hall.

The Council voted in favor of forwarding Councilor Penta’s resolution to the Human Rights Commission and will wait to see if the commission takes a stance, which would eventually come back to the Council for a vote.

Source: http://insidemedford.com/?p=461