National ADL reverses stand; calls Armenian massacre ‘genocide’
By Associated Press
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 – Updated: 02:25 PM EST
BOSTON – The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday reversed itself and
called a World War I-era massacre of Armenians a genocide, a change
that comes days after the ADL fired its New England regional director
for taking the same stance.
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, 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.
The town of Acton and Newton 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
In a 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 didn’t commit, she said.