No place for politics

TAB Editorial: No place for politics
GateHouse News Service Wed Aug 22, 2007, 12:00 AM EDT

Newton –
When Newton resident David Boyajian wrote a letter to our sister
publication, The Watertown TAB and Press, he probably had no idea that he
was sparking a national news story with international repercussions.
Objecting to the Anti-Defamation League’s opposition of the recognition of
the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century, he pointed out that the
ADL’s dishonest representation of history conflicts with the very principles
that the organization’s "No Place for Hate" espouses.

Since that letter was published on July 5, Watertown has pulled out of the
No Place for Hate program, and ADL regional director Andrew Tarsy took a
position in direct conflict to the national organization’s stance. Tarsy was
subsequently fired; two ADL board members resigned; and ADL National
Director Abraham Foxman "revisited" his organization’s view of the tragedy.

Here in Newton, Mayor David Cohen released a letter he sent to Foxman
appropriately calling upon the ADL to rehire Tarsy and to recognize the
genocide, correctly stating that failure to do so does a disservice to
people all over the world who have suffered from discrimination and

As of the TAB’s deadline, the Newton Human Rights Commission had yet to meet
to discuss what stance the group would take regarding the No Place for Hate
Program, but they were scheduled to do so Tuesday night.

Also on Tuesday, media outlets were claiming that Foxman had reversed his
position, but, in fact, his statement merely said that the massacre was
"tantamount to genocide." And, he maintained that the ADL could not support
the congressional legislation recognizing the genocide because of fear it
would risk the safety of Turkish Jews, along with the relationship between
Turkey, Israel and the U.S.

In fact, what Foxman did not say is as telling as what he did say. The
deliberate killing of 1.5 million people either is genocide or it isn’t.
Calling the massacre "tantamount to genocide" is wishy-washy and weak.
Foxman is playing political games that are tarnishing all the good work the
ADL has done over the years. He has not gone far enough.

Unless or until Foxman dramatically revises his position and reinstates
Tarsy, we urge the Newton Human Rights Commission to follow Watertown’s lead
and withdraw from the ADL-sponsored No Place for Hate Program. As a
community, we can continue to endorse the values the program sets forth
without ladening ourselves with hypocrisy.

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