Subject: ADL Redux
The New Republic
Bostonians are watching with a certain morbid fascination a new controversy
involving Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League that has nothing to do
with Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer or Tony Judt. It concerns the
question of whether there ever took place an Armenian genocide.
The controversy began with the decision by Watertown, home of some 8000
Armenian-Americans, to withdraw from "No Place for Hate," an
anti-discrimination program sponsored by the ADL, because the ADL has long
refused to designate the Turkish masacre of the Armenians as genocide.
At first, Andrew Tarsy, ADL’s regional director, supported the policy of his
organization. But when he changed his mind, he was immediately fired. Two
local board members quit over the firing, and more turmoil is expected.
"They’ve taken a position," Foxman told the *Boston Globe*, "We’ve taken a
position. I hope they will read our position and hopefully we’ll have
To say that the ADL’s position is incomprehensible to most Bostonians,
including many of its most prominent Jews, is an understatement. Wild
speculation exists about its reasons, ranging from Turkey’s support for
Israel to a desire not to allow the term genocide to become overused.
Mostly, however, Foxman’s unbending stance on the issue is one more example
of how tone-deaf the ADL has become. Tarsy may have lost his job, but his
courage and honesty have won him widespread support. Foxman still runs his
organization, but it is rapidly losing its credibility.