Jewish Group In U.S. Reverses Stand; Calls Armenian Massacre "Genoci


The Associated Press
Published: August 21, 2007

BOSTON: The Jewish group Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday reversed
itself and called a World War I-era massacre of Armenians a genocide.

ADL President Abe Foxman’s statement that the killings of Armenians by
the Ottoman Empire were "indeed tantamount to genocide" follows a week
of controversy in which critics questioned whether an organization
dedicated to remembering Holocaust victims could remain credible
without acknowledging the Armenian genocide.

The New York-based organization had called the deaths of up 1.5 million
Armenians at the hands of Muslim Turks an atrocity, but stopped short
of saying it was genocide — a planned extermination of the Christian
Armenian minority.

Last week, the town of Watertown, Massachusetts, which has a large
Armenian population, withdrew from the ADL’s "No Place for Hate"
anti-bigotry program because of the organization’s refusal to call
the massacres a genocide. The ADL also fired regional director Andrew
Tarsy after he said he agreed the killings were genocide.

Other towns were also considering whether to break ties with the
ADL, and several Jewish organizations signed a letter urging the
organization to acknowledge the killings as genocide.

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statement Tuesday, Foxman said he consulted with historians and his
friend and Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel after the controversy began,
and became convinced genocide had occurred.

Nurten Ural, president of the Assembly of Turkish American
Associations, said she was disappointed by the ADL’s
decision. Suffering was shared by both Turks and Armenians during
a time of war, and calling it genocide by the Turks is like being
accused of a crime you did not commit, she said.