Looking forward to heal old wounds
By Boston Herald editorial staff
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The Anti-Defamation League has arrived at the conclusion it should have
reached long ago, before the hurt and confusion, the finger-pointing, the
abrupt firing of the head of its local chapter and the damage to its
With a four-paragraph statement issued late Tuesday, ADL national
director Abraham H. Foxman took one step toward healing the deepening
divisions within the Jewish community over the semantic question of the
"We have never negated but have always described the painful events of
1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as
massacres and atrocities," Foxman wrote. "On reflection, we have come to
share the view of Henry Morgenthau Sr. that the consequences of those
actions were indeed tantamount to genocide."
As long as we’re talking about the path to healing, another step would
be to rehire Andrew Tarsy, who was fired for making essentially the same
statement as Foxman before he changed course.
Of course, some critics will never be satisfied, parsing Foxman’s
statement for ambiguity – and frankly finding it, in such phrases as
And for many, the ADL’s continuing refusal to sign on to a proposed U.S.
congressional resolution condemning the genocide (Foxman calls it a
"counterproductive diversion") is an outright betrayal of its mission.
But the ADL has framed its opposition to the resolution around concerns
that it threatens current friendly relations among Turkey, Israel and the
U.S. – while jeopardizing the security of the small Jewish population that
calls Turkey home.
Those who have criticized the ADL to this point are on solid
ideological footing. But our attention would now be more usefully focused on
the question of whether the ADL’s stated concerns were well-placed – or just
a convenient fig leaf.