10/19 Armenian Weekly: ADL is Complicit in Genocide Denial

ADL is Complicit in Genocide Denial

By Alik Arzoumanian

"The Armenian Weekly", Volume 73, No. 42, October 20, 2007

Alik Arzoumanian of Cambridge, Mass., was one of several individuals present at the monthly meeting of the Massachusetts Association of Human Rights and Relations Commissions on Oct. 12 to express her concerns about the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) No Place for Hate (NPFH) program. Below is her statement.

I do not know what horrors my great grandmother went through during the summer of 1915, because I have been told that every time she tried to tell what happened, she became sick for three days, so she rarely spoke about it. All I know is that her first newborn, a baby girl called Angel, died in her arms in the Syrian desert, and that a kind horseman saved her from drowning in the Euphrates.

Two days ago, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a resolution that acknowledges what happened to my great grandparents and countless others as genocide. As Turkey frantically multiplied its threats to discourage Congress from doing the same, in the face of such shameless bullying and blatant denial, I thought, for a moment, that I was exhausted of being Armenian.

I am exhausted of witnessing the denial of my history.

I am exhausted of being denied justice for so long.

And I am frankly exhausted of having to go town to town explaining how Abraham Foxman and the national ADL are complicit in Turkey’s denial campaign, and asking Human Rights Commissions to sever their ties with a human rights organization that has denied us, Armenians, our human rights.

What outrages me most are Mr. Foxman’s repeated calls on Armenians to take up Turkey’s offers of a commission that will “re-examine the shared past of both peoples”.

On Sept. 27, Turkey’s Prime Minister met with Mr. Foxman—among others—”to reject allegations the Ottoman Empire committed an act of genocide against its Armenian citizens in 1915.” After the meeting, Mr. Foxman reiterated his opposition to Congressional affirmation of the Armenian genocide.

He also repeated that Armenians should respond to calls from Turkey for a joint commission to investigate the past, knowing very well that:

1. The debate on the Armenian genocide has long been over.

2. Turkish historians on such a commission would be on the payroll of the Turkish state, which not only denies the Armenian genocide but also suppresses attempts by Turkish intellectuals and human rights activists to speak the truth.

Just yesterday in Turkey, Arat Dink, the son of Hrant Dink, the journalist murdered earlier this year because he dared to write about the Armenian genocide, was convicted of “insulting Turkishness” for republishing his father’s remarks.

Armenians will only rest when Turkey recognizes the Armenian genocide and Ottoman Turkey’s role in perpetrating it.

As a human rights organization, the ADL has no right to stand in our way, alongside with Turkey, as we work to recover our human rights and dignity.

The ADL charter states that its “ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.” As an Armenian-American, I am deeply offended that the ADL does not deem us worthy of justice and fair treatment.

As human rights commissioners, I am sure you believe, unlike Mr. Foxman and the national ADL, that Armenians DO deserve justice—like any other people.

Therefore, I respectfully urge you to follow the example of Watertown, Belmont and Newton, and to withdraw from the ADL-sponsored No Place for Hate program in your towns until the ADL reverses its position 180 degrees by unambiguously recognizing the Armenian genocide—without casting any doubt on its historical truth—by apologizing to the Armenian community for not having done so earlier, and by expressing support for efforts seeking Congressional affirmation of the Armenian genocide.

Until then, I think there should be no place for ADL-sponsored human rights program in any of our towns.

Source: http://www.hairenik.com/armenianweekly/com10200701.htm