California Courier Online, August 19, 2004

California Courier Online, August 19, 2004

1 – Commentary
Israeli Paper Says Jewish Groups
Still Blocking Genocide Resolution

By Harut Sassounian
California Courier Publisher
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2 – Mardikian/Saroyan Banquet
Organized to Benefit Schools
3 – Banderas, Saban, Yemenidjian to Chair
Benefit for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
4 – ARS Western Region Convention
Elects Four New Members to R.E
5 – Armenian-Language Domestic
Violence Hotline Set by YWCA
6 – Soghomonian Starts 500 Mile Bike-a-Thon
To Benefit ATG Milk Project in Armenia
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1 – Commentary
Israeli Paper Says Jewish Groups
Still Blocking Genocide Resolution

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper published last week a lengthy article on the
approval by the House of Representatives of an amendment that prohibited
Turkey from using American aid money to lobby against the recognition of
the Armenian Genocide.
The article provided interesting details about the role that several
Jewish-American organizations continue to play in assisting Turkey to block
the passage of the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.
Reporter Nathan Guttman stated: “The battle to gain recognition of the
Armenian Genocide by the U.S. Congress is transformed annually into a fight
between the small group of Armenian supporters in Congress and the rest of
the world — the Turkish representatives and the lobbyists working on their
behalf, the administration, the supporters of the administration in
Congress, and also several of the large Jewish organizations. …The Jewish
community in the U.S. and the Israel issue are also entwined in the
pressure campaign preventing approval of the [genocide] resolution.”
Guttman quoted “a key Jewish activist in Washington, who like many others
involved in the issue asked to remain off the record,” as confirming that
“The [Jewish] community is certainly a player on this issue.”
Guttman further reported that representatives of Jewish organizations feel
” ‘a sense of discomfort,’ as one described it, when coming to explain
their position on the Armenian resolution. On one hand, the Jews, as a
community, are sensitive to the tragedy experienced by the Armenian people,
but on the other hand, there are Israel-Turkey relations to consider. ‘We
have always had a level of uncertainty regarding the balance that should be
kept between the moral factors and the strategic interests,’ one Jewish
organization official cautiously explained.”
Disclosing the continued involvement of certain Jewish-American
organizations in anti-Armenian lobbying, Guttman wrote: “Last year, Jewish
organizations, primarily the American Jewish Committee (AJC), have been
more active in thwarting the resolution acknowledging the Armenian
Genocide. …A central activist in a Jewish organization involved in this
matter clarified that if necessary, he would not hesitate to again exert
pressure to ensure the resolution is not passed and the Turks remain
satisfied. The same activist said he had received numerous requests in the
past to work against the Armenian cause in Congress. ‘The State Department
asked us, other people in the administration did, even the Turkish Jewish
community asked us to act on this issue,’ he said. The prevailing opinion
among the large Jewish organizations is that ‘Turkey’s relations with the
United States and Israel are too important for us to deal with this
subject,’ according to one [Jewish] community activist who was involved in
blocking Resolution 193 last year.”
Concerning the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey,
Guttman wrote: “The Jewish community’s involvement in the issue of the
Armenian Genocide is affected by the status of Israel-Turkey relations. One
senior organizational official related that during the honeymoon years of
Turkish-Israeli ties, the Jewish organizations were more enthusiastic about
openly helping Turkey thwart previous Armenian-related resolutions in
Congress. Now, he adds, since ties have cooled off somewhat, many Jewish
activists are trying to lower their profile in this matter.”
It is a fact that several Jewish-American organizations have been lobbying
for years against the Armenian Genocide Resolution. It is astonishing,
however, that some of these groups continue to express their willingness to
support Turkey in its denial of the Armenian Genocide, even after former
Prime Minister of Turkey, Bulent Ecevit, accused Israel of committing
“genocide” against the Palestinians. The present Prime Minister, Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, recently characterized the Israeli army’s attacks on
Palestinians as an act of “state terrorism.” According to a recent poll,
82% of the Turkish public also agrees that Israel is committing “state
terrorism.”
Despite such statements of condemnation, some Jewish-American
organizations, by continuing to side with Turkey, are in fact supporting
Turkey against Israel. How could any self-respecting Jew continue to do
Turkey’s bidding after the leaders of that country call Israel a terrorist
state and accuse it of committing genocide?
Fortunately, such misguided Jews are in the minority. They are the
dinosaurs of the Jewish-American community and their days are numbered!
Dozens of Jewish-American groups are co-sponsors of the Congressional
Resolution on the Genocide Convention that mentions the Armenian Genocide
as well as the Jewish Holocaust.
Any Jew who lobbies against this Resolution is in fact denying not only the
Armenian Genocide, but also the Jewish Holocaust!
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2 – Mardikian/Saroyan Banquet
Organized to Benefit Schools
LOS ANGELES – Plans are underway for a very special Memorial Banquet to
honor two remarkable California benefactors, George Mardikian & Souren
Saroyan for their dedication to the Armenian people through ANCHA (American
National Committee to Aid Homeless Armenians). The banquet will be held on
November 14, at the Los Angeles Police Academy.
Louise Mardirossian-Gill will chair the committee along with Vice Chair
Baydsar Clair Thomasian. A special program and a booklet for the event are
in the works.
Proceeds from the event will go to the newly established Mardikian/Saroyan
Endowment Fund for scholarships to the Armenian Parochial schools in Los
Angeles, San Francisco.
“We are forever indebted to the memory of these two great philanthropists
whose vision was to see that Armenians have a better chance in life,” said
an organizing committee member. “We are proud to say that their dream was
realized. Thousands of Armenians who migrated to the United States in the
1940’s and thereafter have prospered and are the blood life of our
communities.
For further information, call Mrs. Mardirossian at (323) 662-9259 or (818)
335-2101.

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3 – Banderas, Saban, Yemenidjian to Chair
Benefit for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (PRNewswire) – Some of the biggest names in Hollywood are
gearing up to host one of the most important nights this fall: film star
Antonio Banderas, child advocate Cheryl Saban, and MGM Chairman and CEO
Alex Yemenidjian have joined forces to chair the first annual “Noche de
Ninos” (“Children’s Night”), a star-studded benefit for Childrens Hospital
Los Angeles.
Giselle Fernandez-Farrand is executive producing the event, with David
Foster and Humberto Gatica as entertainment producers.
Set for October 2nd at 6:00 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, “Noche de
Ninos” will feature entertainment from the evening’s emcee, TV star and
comedian George Lopez, as well as Latin music superstars Marc Anthony,
Alejandro Sanz, and Carlos Baute, dancer Joaquin Cortez, and singer/actress
Renee Olstead. In keeping with the evening’s Latin theme, the menu is being
overseen by celebrated chef Julian Serrano from Picasso at Las Vegas’s
Bellagio Hotel; Serrano will prepare his signature paella. With many of
Hollywood’s elite already slated to attend, the festivities will celebrate
and benefit the Campaign for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, an effort to
raise $500 million for new facilities as well as for endowment, program,
and annual support.
“The work done by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is humbling,” says
Yemenidjian. “It would be difficult to find a cause more worthy of support.
The work done by the doctors, nurses, and other caregivers at this
extraordinary place is not only of the highest quality, but it is done
without regard to a patient’s ability to pay.”
Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most
seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century,
and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world
for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health.
Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified
pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top
pediatric facilities in the nation.
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4 – ARS Western Region Convention
Elects Four New Members to R.E.
GLENDALE – The 84th regional convention of the Armenian Relief Society of
the Western US, held July 15-18 at the Glendale Hilton Hotel, elected four
new members to its Regional Executive.
The newly elected members are Angela Savoian, Nanik Kupelian, Rita Hintlian
and Maral Nashalian. They replace retiring members Nova Hindoyan, Asdghig
Tejirian, Guitarig Kocharian and Nora Shirikian, whose two-year term had
expired. Seta Hagopian, Araxie Aykanian, Nevart Mouradian and Seta Kojayan
were elected as alternates.
The Convention was attended by 35 delegates from 23 participating chapters,
along with representatives from the ARS Center and Regional Executives,
invited guests and almost 140 observing members. After the Convention, the
Regional Executive elected its officers as follows: Angela Savoian (Chair),
Sona Madarian (vice-chair), Rita Hintlian (secretary), Knar Avedissian
(treasurer). Nanik Kupelian, Vicky Marachelian, Maral Nashalian, Serpouhie
Messerlian and Alice Yeghiayan are the advisors.
One of the first official functions of the new board was meeting with the
administrator of the orphan sponsorship program, who was visiting
California from Armenia.
Administration Anahid Mesrobian visited the ARS Regional Executive
headquarters in Glendale, along with Maro Frounjian of the ARS in Montreal,
and met with ARS Central Executive members Hasmig Derderian and Anahid
Meymarian, current and past member of the ARS Regional Executives and
headquarters staff.
Mesrobian reported on the status of the orphans in Armenia and Artsakh and
their increase in numbers, which will require securing 1,200 new
sponsorships.
The ARS program channels the funds from donors in the Western Region at
$130 per child, to the Central Executive, which in turn forwards the funds
to Armenia for direct distribution to the orphans ($120), who may have lost
either one or both parents.
Mesrobian said that sponsors traveling to Armenia may visit the ARS
Regional Executive offices in Yerevan and request information or set up a
meeting with their sponsored orphans.
Those who are interested in becoming orphan sponsors may contact the ARS of
Western US, at (818) 500-1343.
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5- Armenian-Language Domestic
Violence Hotline Set by YWCA
By Naush Boghossian
L.A. Daily News
GLENDALE — The Glendale YWCA has long served English-language speakers who
have called Los Angeles County’s Domestic Violence Hotline, but it is now
reaching out to Armenians across the county who need their help. Anybody in
the county who calls the hotline — (800) 978-3600 – and chooses to receive
assistance in Armenian will be routed to the YWCA.
The 24-hour hotline, administered by the District Attorney’s Office, struck
a partnership with the Glendale YWCA to take calls in Armenian in an effort
to expand the number of languages the hotline serves.
“We don’t want language to be a barrier when somebody wants assistance. We
want them to be able to contact the hotline regardless of the language they
speak and be able to talk to somebody live who can help them find safety
and shelter,” said Mark Delgado, field deputy for the district attorney’s
bureau of crime prevention and youth services.
The YWCA was selected because the city of Glendale has the largest Armenian
population in the United States.
Lida Soulikhan, the program coordinator for the YWCA’s domestic violence
outreach, said the hotline’s service is very important, because the lack of
English skills is a barrier for immigrants seeking help.
“We know that there is a huge amount of domestic violence, but we have to
bring down that cultural wall,” she said. “The cultural belief for
Armenians stops them from sharing what’s happening within their four walls.
They don’t know these services, but when it’s explained to them in Armenian
it makes a huge difference.”
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6 – Soghomonian Starts 500 Mile Bike-a-Thon
To Benefit ATG Milk Project in Armenia
FRESNO – Vatche Soghomonian of Fresno and his bicycle are ready once again.
He departed Fresno for Armenia on August 17, and will start the
bike-a-thon on August 21-27, and bike approximately 500 miles throughout
Armenia in altitudes ranging from 2639 – 6200 ft. high.
Through the Bike-a-Thon, Vatche and the Armenian Technology Group, (ATG) a
California-based Public
Benefit Corporation, are targeting to raise $55,971 to purchase four
milk-cooling containers from Tulare, CA, each between 800-1000 gallons and
install them in the villages allowing over 3,000 families to have access to
wholesome milk.
Three thousand families in the rural villages of Armenia currently do not
have access to milk because they lack adequate storage capacity. Without
these containers the milk spoils quickly and sufficient quantities cannot
be kept to satisfy the villages’ needs. According to the Minister of
Agriculture the plan, once implemented, will provide milk to the following:
1. Lori region, Vahakn village- 700 families
2. Shirag region, Akhourian village- 1200 families
3. Arakadsz region, Charinch village- 620 families
4. Davoosh region, Ardzvapert village- 780 families
The milk collection tanks will also serve as an extension for the proposed
Veterinary Central Diagnostic Lab. by having a designated Veterinarian at
each location to monitor the quality of the milk and:
1. Serving as a field station to detect and monitor indigenous and
trans-boundary infectious diseases such as Anthrax, Tuberculoses,
Salmonellae, and Brucellosis, that are transmittable from animals to
humans.
2. Providing Central Diagnostic Laboratory scientists raw data needed to
diagnose and treat diseased animals.
3. Ensuring the animals from which milk is gathered are healthy and safe.
Tax deductible donations could be mailed to ATG, 1300E. Shaw Ave. Suite
149, P.O. Box 5969 Fresno CA 93755.

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