The Plank: Genocide, Realpolitik, and The ADL



Anyone who read my *recent
story< 723&s=crowley072307>
* about the explosive Washington politics of the Armenian genocide will be
interested in this dramatic flare-up in Massachusetts: The Anti Defamation
League *has fired< /2007/08/18/adl_local_leader_fired_on_armenian_iss ue/>
* its New England regional direction for insisting that the group recognize
as genocide the circa-1915 slaughter of perhaps a million Armenians by the
Ottoman Turks. (Two regional board members, including a Boston City
Councilor and the former chairman of Polaroid, have subsequently
*resigned< ws/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/08/19/two_mem bers_of_regional_anti_defamation_league_resign_in_ protest/>

A resolution pending in Congress would make it official U.S. policy to
recognize that the Armenians were genocide victims. But the ADL, along with
other leading Jewish-American groups, apparently considers friendly
relations between Israel and Turkey–whose government takes genocide claims
as a massive provocation–more important than the underlying historical
question. As the ADL is explaining via an *open
letter< asp>
* in Boston newspapers:

We believe that legislative efforts outside of Turkey are counterproductive
to the goal of having Turkey itself come to grips with its past. We take no
position on what action Congress should take on House Resolution 106. The
Jewish community in Turkey has clearly expressed to us and other major
American Jewish organizations its concerns about the impact of Congressional
action on them, and we cannot ignore those concerns. We are also keenly
aware that Turkey is a key strategic ally and friend of the United States
and a staunch friend of Israel, and that in the struggle between Islamic
extremists and moderate Islam, Turkey is the most critical country in the

Meanwhile, the House resolution mentioned above now has 226 co-sponsors
(see the list *here< 110:HE00106:@@@P>
*)–eight more than a majority. The only question now is whether House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had ardently supported the Armenian cause in the
past, wants to press ahead with a vote–one that the Bush administration
opposes and which is sure to infuriate the Turks, possibly even with *
consequences < =2128>* for the
war in Iraq.

*Update*: I’d missed Alan Wolfe’s posting over at our Open University blog
yesterday calling the ADL "tone deaf." Check it out
*here< y?pid=135807>

–*Michael Crowley*

Source: *