DiMascio: `No Place for Lies,’ either!

Wate rtown TAB & Press
Watertown, MA
email: [email protected]

Friday, August 3, 2007

DiMascio: `No Place for Lies,’ either!

By John DiMascio

The New England director of the Anti-Defamation League, Andrew Tarsy, would
have us believe that they are honest and neutral brokers with respect to the
Armenian Genocide.

According to Tarsy, Abraham Foxman and the ADL never lobbied against a
congressional genocide resolution. Rather, they just told inquiring media
minds: `… that this issue was one to be resolved by the two countries –
Turkey and Armenia.’

Under scrutiny however, Tarsy’s claim seems to fall apart.

The Turkish news Web site `Today’s Zaman’ reported the following on April
26: `In a letter addressing influential members of U.S. Congress….
U.S.-based Jewish groups demanded that voting on congressional resolutions
urging the U.S. administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians
be delayed.

`The letter was jointly signed by B’nai B’rith International, the
Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish
Institute for National Security Affairs.’

This testimony is corroborated by Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency. Kampeas reported as follows on April 23:

`Four groups, B’nai B’rith International, the Anti-Defamation League, the
American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs are set to convey a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the
resolution to U.S. congressional leaders. The ADL and JINSA have added their
own statements opposing the bill.’

Joey Kurtzman, pundit for , also adds a new wrinkle in his
column: `Fire Foxman – Denying the Armenian Genocide should be the last
atrocity perpetrated by the ADL chief.’

According to Kurtzman, Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, met with
Foxman and others in February. Kurtzman asserts that at the said meeting,
Gul asked them `in essence, to perpetuate Turkey’s denial of genocide.’
Kurtzman goes on to say that Foxman `acquiesced, and in so doing, performed
the pièce de résistance of Foxman’s highly effective, if unintentional,
decades-long campaign to demoralize Jewish America and send young Jews
scurrying for the communal exit doors.’

These sources do not paint a particularly pretty picture. Let us ponder the
brushstrokes in review. A Turkish news site practically boasts that the ADL
lobbied Congress. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency corroborates the story. And
if Kurtzman’s allegations of the February meeting are true, the lobbying was
done at the behest of the Turkish government.

Regrettably, there is no shortage of incriminating information about the
ADL’s treatment of Armenians. One just needs to do a `Google’ search.
Cyberspace is swarming with article after article, editorial after
editorial. All sides are weighing in with their indictments; including those
the ADL claims to represent.

One cannot help but conclude: At the very least, the ADL has a long history
of marginalizing the Armenian experience.

According to the Jewish Journal, in November 1998, the ADL and other Jewish
groups took out an ad (Nov.8, New York Sunday Times) congratulating the
Turkish Republic on its 75th anniversary. That’s understandable.
Post-Ottoman Turkey assisted Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. The ADL promotes
Holocaust awareness and rightly recognizes those who aided Jewish refugees.
Therefore, it would follow that the ADL would observe the founding of the
Turkish Republic.

But that appreciation morphed from being understandable to becoming
outrageous! Commenting on some criticism related to the ad, Foxman said:
`…It [Turkey] has a magnificent history of tolerance.’

Granted, Foxman was referring to historic Judeo-Turkish relations. However,
denying the slaughter of 1.5 million people does not indicate `a magnificent
history of tolerance.’ At least not where the sensibilities of Armenians are
concerned! It only indicates a shameful tolerance of Ottoman atrocities.

It’s a sad but undeniable conclusion. The ADL overlooks and excuses Turkey’s
genocide denial. It’s deplorable and contradictory. Nevertheless it’s their
Constitutional right to do so. However, it’s time for them to stop the
elaborate masquerade. The ADL is supposed to cultivate tolerance and advance
human rights. It should stop acting like a self-serving lobby, wearing its
social conscience only as an ornate costume.

The ADL’s behavior has other unintended consequences. The rapport between
the Armenian and Jewish communities is being strained. And therein lies the
distressing irony. The ADL, which is so devoted to fighting anti-Semitism,
is actually fostering resentment amongst Armenians towards Jews. So much for
promoting `No place for hate’!

Speaking of which, our local ADL surrogate, `No place for hate,’ attempts to
evade complicity by claiming autonomy. Instead of trumpeting their
independence, why don’t they prove it by repudiating Foxman? Surely, his
historical disregard for the Armenian experience, warrants a stern response;
especially from those on the `No place for hate’ soapbox!

On the subject of local entities, there’s another group avoiding the `No
place for hate’ issue. The Town Council better jump off this runaway `Love
Train,’ before anymore of the people’s business gets derailed. It’s time to
rescind the proclamation, take down the silly sign, and withdraw from this
unnecessary program.

Watertown has never been, is not now, and never will be a place to hate. And
we don’t need Abraham Foxman, the ADL, or its ancillaries to say so!

John DiMascio of Copeland Street may be reached at
[email protected].