ANC-WR To Honor U.S. Senator Robert Menendez At 2007 Annual Banquet

Armenian National Committee – Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
Phone: 818.500.1918 Fax: 818.246.7353
[email protected] /

August 2, 2007

Contact: Haig Hovsepian

Tel: (818) 500-1918

ANC-WR To Honor U.S. Senator Robert Menendez At 2007 Annual Banquet

— Federal Legislator Took A Stand in Blocking Nomination of Genocide Denier
Richard Hoagland

"It is well past time for American diplomacy to drop the euphemisms, the
wink-wink, nod-nod brand of foreign policy that overlooks heinous atrocities
committed around the world." U.S. Senator Robert Menendez

Los Angeles, CA – On occasion, an elected official in Washington, D.C. rises
so far above the fray and serves the interests of justice, liberty and
freedom, that it makes all Americans proud beyond belief. United States
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who has placed a legislative hold on
genocide denier Richard Hoagland’s nomination to serve as America’s next
Ambassador to Armenia, is just such a remarkable elected official.

The Armenian National Committee-Western Region will be honoring Senator
Robert Menendez with its highest honor, the prestigious ANC-WR Man of the
Year Award this fall. The honor will be bestowed upon Senator

Menendez at the organization’s annual banquet on September 30, 2007 in Los
Angeles, California.

"We are proud to be honoring Senator Menendez," commented ANC-WR Executive
Director Andrew Kzirian. "The Senator from New Jersey acted with
distinction and guts when he placed a hold on Richard Hoagland’s nomination.
Preventing a denier of genocide from serving as Ambassador to Armenia is
sound public policy. Because sending a genocide denier to Yerevan would
have represented a setback to U.S.-Armenia relations, and a retreat from our
nation’s historic commitment to genocide prevention worldwide," Kzirian

In a statement released when he placed the hold on Richard Hoagland last
year, Senator Menendez said that, "the State Department and the Bush
administration are just flat-out wrong in their refusal to recognize the
Armenian Genocide. It is well past time for American diplomacy to drop the
euphemisms, the wink-wink, nod-nod brand of foreign policy that overlooks
heinous atrocities committed around the world. If there is any sincerity
behind the Bush administration’s rhetoric about ‘liberty on the march’ – if
‘never again’ is to be more than a bumper sticker slogan – then American
diplomacy should consist of nothing less than unvarnished honesty with our
friends and enemies alike. And we must call genocide by its name."

An internet poll of Armenian Americans taken last year found that 97%
opposed the Hoagland nomination. Ninety-four percent of the respondents said
that they "strongly agreed" with the Senate’s opposition to his nomination.
An additional 3% noted that they "somewhat agreed" with this opposition. One
percent reported that they "somewhat disagreed" with opposing Hoagland, and
2% indicated that they "strongly disagreed" with the opposition to his

For well over a decade, Robert Menendez has been a good friend of the
Armenian-American community in the State of New Jersey. From ensuring that
the United States honestly addresses the issue of the Armenian Genocide to
advocating the right of self-determination for the people of
Nagorno-Karabakh, Senator Menendez has championed truth, justice, and the
principles of freedom so cherished by the Armenian American community. As a
mark of his longstanding respect on Armenian issues, in 2005
then-Congressman Menendez joined hundreds of Armenian Americans at a
reception in New Jersey honoring His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the
Great House of Cilicia.

During the 109th Congress [2005-2006], Senator Menendez received nationwide
attention after making history by placing a hold on the appointment of
Ambassador designate to the Republic of Armenia, Richard Hoagland. The
Armenian American community has overwhelmingly expressed its concern
regarding Hoagland’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
in which he used language denying the Armenian Genocide qualified as such.
Throughout 2006, the Armenian National Committee of America led a nationwide
campaign to call attention to this matter and demand that the State
Department remove the Hoagland nomination, offer a complete explanation
surrounding the controversial firing of former Ambassador John Marshall
Evans, and clarify the Turkish Government’s influence in the removal of
Ambassador Evans.

When the new 110th Congress began in January 2007, the Bush Administration
once again nominated Hoagland to serve as US Ambassador to Armenia without
addressing any of the concerns outlined by the ANCA and the Armenian
American community. Once again, Senator Menendez placed a hold on the

When asked about his motivation for doing so, Senator Menendez stated, "I
believe that the United States, Armenia, and all who are committed to human
rights should support an ambassador to Armenia who recognizes the genocide
that took place there more than 90 years ago."

In February of 2007, the Armenian National Committee of New Jersey honored
Senator Menendez at a ceremony hosted in Rockleigh, New Jersey. More than
two hundred Armenian National Committee of New Jersey supporters and friends
were present for the occasion during which the Senator was granted the
ANCA-Eastern Region Man of the Year award. The program was attended by many
Armenian American leaders from the New York metropolitan area, various
Church leaders, and Vahan Hovhannisyan, Deputy Speaker of the Republic of
Armenia’s Parliament.

Robert Menendez grew up the son of immigrants in Union City, New Jersey. He
has served as a school board member, a mayor and a state legislator. In
1992, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He
became the highest-ranking Hispanic in Congressional history and the
third-highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives when his
colleagues elected him the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2002.
He was appointed to the United States Senate by New Jersey Governor Jon
Corzine and sworn in to the Senate on January 18, 2006. In November of that
year, he was elected by the people of New Jersey to serve a full six-year
term as United States Senator. He currently serves on the Senate Committees
on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; Budget;
and Foreign Relations. Senator Menendez is also the Chairman of the
Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic
Affairs, and International Environmental Protection.

Every year close to 1,000 ANC advocates and friends from California,
Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and from elsewhere across the
Western United States join prominent Members of Congress, statewide
officials and state legislators for the ANC-WR Annual Banquet. For
more information contact Felicia Garver at the ANC-WR office at (818)

The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most
influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the
Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices,
chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated
organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the
Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.