ADL recognizes Armenian genocide

ADL recognizes Armenian genocide

Jewish organization makes dramatic U-turn four days after sacking
regional director
Yaakov Lappin
08.21.07, 20:21 / Israel Jewish Scene

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has formally recognized the genocide
of Armenians at the hand of Turkey in a statement released on Tuesday,
markinga dramatic U-turn over the organization’s position on the

Between 1915 and 1918, some 1.5 million Armenians died in Ottoman
Turkey. Many of them perished during – or were shot after – forced
marches across hundreds of miles, commonly known as death marches.

Just four days ago, the ADL sacked its New England Regional Director,
Andrew H. Tarsy, who blasted the organization for failing to recognize
the genocide. During a phone conversation with the ADL’s national
director, Abraham Foxman, Tarsy said he found the ADL’s position on
the issue "morally indefensible".

Tarsy’s sacking resulted in widespread condemnation across the
American-Jewish community.

In a press statement released Tuesday, the ADL said: "In light of the
heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-Armenian issue in
recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish
community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people,
(the) ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the

"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 of Henry Morgenthau, S r. that the consequences of those actions
were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed
then, they would have called it genocide," the ADL said.

‘How will this affect Turkish Jews?’

In the statement, Foxman said, "I consulted with my friend and mentor
Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other respected historians who
acknowledge this consensus. I hope that Turkey will understand that it
is Turkey’s friends who urge that nation to confront its past and work
to reconcile with Armenians over this dark chapter in history."

The statement added, however, that the ADL would continue to be
opposed to attempts by Armenian-Americans to pass a resolution in the
US Congress aimed at garnering recognition of the genocide.

"We continue to firmly believe that a congressional resolution on such
matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster
reconciliationbetween Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the
Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship
between Turkey, Israel and the United States," the statement said.

Speaking to Ynetnews, an ADL source said the organization had
traditionally taken its lead over the issue from the Turkish Jewish
community. The source also expressed concern for the welfare of the
Jewish community in Turkey following the statement.

"How will this affect Turkish Jews? Who knows what repercussions will
be," the source said. "We changed our position and we hope Turkish
government doesn’t take it out on the Jews," the source added.

"The ADL has always sought guidance from the Turkish Jewish community,
which has told us to back the Turkish government on this. So we have
always backed Turkey’s stance," the source said.

The source added that the episode was sparked by an event held
recently by the Armenian community in Boston, called ‘No Place for
Hate’ – an event theADL was supposed to take part in.

"We pulled out because they said we’re hypocrites," the source said,
adding: "The head of ADL in Boston came out in favor of changing our
position… he was fired. This caused a lot of tension, and it caused
a reexamination of our position. As a result, our position has