Armenian Reporter – 8/25/2007 – front section

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August 25, 2007 — From the front section

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1. ADL affirms Genocide, fears for the safety of Jews in Turkey (by
Emil Sanamyan)

2. The 4th Pan-Armenian Games start in a festive atmosphere (by Betty
Panossian-Ter Sargssian)

3. From Washington, in brief (by Emil Sanamyan)
* Report: U.S. to strike at Iran within six months?
* Iranian president touts "brotherly" ties with Azerbaijan in regional
diplomatic push
* Israel’s "Minister for National Fears" also in Baku
* U.S. to fund a trans-Caspian pipeline feasibility study
* Anonymous investors to manage Georgian railway

4. Documents
* Anti-Defamation League calls it Genocide
* AJC calls for protecting historical truth
* Newton, Mass., takes a stand
* Arlington, Mass., takes a stand
* ANCA calls on ADL to support resolution, reinstate Tarsy
* USAPAC calls for confronting Turkish threats
* Armenian Assembly calls for Jewish organizations to unite
* Amb. Evans says recognition would aid regional stability

5. Rural Development Program takes its first steps in Armenia (by
Armen Hakobyan)
* An ambitious undertaking

6. AGBU’s Yerevan Summer Intern Program helps to strengthen global
Armenian bonds

7. Pan-Armenian Games: The gravitational pull of the homeland (by
Armen Hakobyan)

8. Pan-Armenian Games: Athletes from Los Angeles (by Armen Hakobyan)

9. Armenia, Portugal battle to a draw

10. Market update (by Haik Papian)

11. Dr. Harutune Armenian awarded medal by Catholicos Karekin II

12. Commentary: A bystander to genocide? An interview with genocide
scholar Gregory Stanton (by Chris Zakian)

13. Commentary: The politics of hypocrisy (by Evan R. Goldstein)

14. Commentary: The Anti-Defamation League and the Armenian Genocide
(by Peter Balakian)

15. Letters
* Oh say, can you see…? (Avedis Kevorkian)
* The Lebanon Crisis and the Armenians: A reminiscence (Harry L. Koundakjian)

16. Editorial: Despite ongoing Turkish threats, a reversal and a step forward

***************************************** **********************************

1. ADL affirms Genocide, fears for the safety of Jews in Turkey

by Emil Sanamyan

In the face of mounting criticism of its refusal to recognize the
Armenian Genocide, the national leadership of the Anti-Defamation
League reversed course on Tuesday, August 21, and issued a statement
characterizing the destruction of Armenians in Asia Minor in 1915-17
as "tantamount to genocide."

The city council of Watertown, Mass., on August 14 had voted
unanimously to rescind its cooperation with the ADL on the
organization’s "No Place for Hate" program, noting that the ADL
"denies the facts of the horrific Armenian Genocide." (The full
statement appeared in last week’s issue of this newspaper.) The
editorial page of the Boston Globe on August 3 had urged the ADL to
reverse course, as had numerous Jewish-Americans.

In response, the National ADL had published an ad in the Boston
Globe and the Jewish Advocate, saying that the ADL "has acknowledged
and never denied the massacres" of Armenians, but once again avoiding
the word "genocide."

The regional director of the ADL, Andrew Tarsy, criticized the
national leadership’s position. He was fired. Two members of the ADL’s
regional board resigned in protest of the firing. Editorial writers
and community leaders in New England and beyond weighed in, almost
unanimously calling for the ADL to reverse course. Some called for
National Director Abe Foxman to be removed from office.

* A reversal

Then, on August 21, ADL national chair Glen S. Lewy and Mr. Foxman
issued a statement acknowledging the Genocide.

"Because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a
time of increased threats against the Jewish people, ADL has decided
to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians," they 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. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have
called it genocide." (The full statement appears on Page A3.)

Henry Morgenthau was the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

The national ADL did not, however, change its position on the
Armenian Genocide resolutions in Congress. "We continue to firmly
believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a
counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between
Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community
and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and
the United States."

* AJC clarifies its position

Also on August 21, David A. Harris, executive director of the American
Jewish Committee, wrote at length on the subject in the Jerusalem Post
Blog. (The full statement appears on Page A4.) He acknowledged the
Genocide and recalled that in 1993 the AJC had published a book,
Holocaust Denial, which noted, "That the Armenian genocide is now
considered a topic for debate, or as something to be discounted as old
history, does not bode well for those who would oppose Holocaust

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
also began a process of examining its position on the Armenian
Genocide, executive vice-chair Michael Hoenlein confirmed to the
Jewish Telegraph Agency on August 22. The ADL and AJC are among the 50
members of the conference.

* Mixed reaction

The ADL’s new position on the veracity of the Genocide was welcomed by
Armenian-American groups, as was the AJC’s clarification.

"I think it only helps the legislation," Aram Hamparian, executive
director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) told the
Boston Globe. "I think it shows that even long-standing reservations
about the genocide itself are crumbling in the face of community
pressure and facts. The opposition is falling apart."

But the ADL was criticized for its continued opposition to
congressional resolutions on the Armenian Genocide.

The New England regional board of ADL met on August 22, voted to
reinstate Mr. Tarsy, and pushed for reconsideration of the ADL’s
position on the Armenian Genocide resolution, the Globe reported the
next day. Mr. Foxman confirmed that the ADL’s national board will take
up the latter subject during its next meeting on November 1 in New
York City.

During an August 22 meeting in Newton, Mass., local resident David
Boyajian, whose July letter to the Watertown Tab ignited the
controversy, said the campaign against ADL’s position would continue
unless there is "an explicit statement by [the ADL] so that members of
Congress understand where the ADL stands," the ANCA reported.

* Turkish threats

Ross Vartian of the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs Committee focused on
the ADL’s given reasons for its refusal so far to support the Genocide
resolutions. He told the Armenian Reporter, "Mr. Foxman has repeatedly
explained why there was such a gap for such a long time between known
truth and public affirmation — Turkish threats against Israel and the
Jewish community in Turkey. We believe that the best way to deal with
threats against Israel and the Jewish community in Turkey is for Jews
and Armenians to join forces in confronting the source of such
threats," he added.

In his blog post, Mr. Harris of the AJC noted: "Picture a day when a
muscle-flexing Iran or Saudi Arabia seeks to make denial of the
Holocaust a condition of doing business with other countries. Sound
far-fetched? It shouldn’t. We have many interests as a Jewish people.
Protecting historical truth ought to be right up there near the top of
the list."

Meanwhile, Turkish officials at the highest levels have expressed
their displeasure over changes in the position of Jewish-American
organizations. According to Turkish media reports, Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gül met Israeli Ambassador Pinhas Avivi to express

On August 22, the Turkish Foreign Ministry hosted a meeting with the
government’s "experts" and "advisors" to strategize on how to "win
back the hearts of Jewish Americans," the Turkish Daily News reported
the next day, adding that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is
expected to host a similar session soon.


See below:
4. Documents
12. Commentary: A bystander to genocide? An interview with genocide
scholar Gregory Stanton (by Chris Zakian)
13. Commentary: The politics of hypocrisy (by Evan R. Goldstein; from Haaretz)
14. Commentary: The Anti-Defamation League and the Armenian Genocide
(by Peter Balakian)
16. Editorial: Despite ongoing Turkish threats, a reversal and a step forward

***************************************** **********************************

2. The 4th Pan-Armenian Games start in a festive atmosphere

by Betty Panossian-Ter Sargssian.

YEREVAN — The capacity crowd at Vazgen Sarkissian Stadium hummed with
excitement, as some 16,000 people chanted and clapped, and sharp blue
laser lights sliced through the nighttime sky in anticipation of
athletes marching proudly onto the field.

Among the spectators were fans wearing "I Love Armenia" T-shirts and
those with faces painted in the Armenian tricolor. Teenaged girls
sported shiny tricolor hearts on their foreheads; friends wrapped
themselves in huge national flags and shouted "Bravo!" and "Hayastan!
Hayastan!" (Armenia! Armenia!)

The opening ceremonies of the 4th Pan-Armenian Games on Aug. 18
brought more than 2,500 athletes and thousands of spectators from
Armenia and from almost every corner of the diaspora to Yerevan. The
9-day gathering, which takes place every four years, was an
Olympic-like celebration of Armenian spirit, vigor, strength, and
courage. The opening ceremonies were a symbolic common ground where
the diaspora and the nation’s citizens shared the same thrill.

"To see so many Armenians gathered from different cities all over
the world touched me deeply. I was really stirred by their spirit,"
said Linda Beshirian of Rochester, N.Y.

The parade began with the delegations from Armenia, followed by
Athens and then 94 more. Some delegations (Tehran, Glendale, Athens,
Buenos Aires) were more than a hundred strong, while some cities
(Aleppo) managed to reach the homeland with a single proud

The delegates threw souvenirs to the crowds. Small teddy bears —
miniature versions of the games’ mascot — basketballs, Frisbees,
t-shirts, and other souvenirs sailed into the stands. The athletes
would intermittently stop to jump, dance and shout.

The games themselves, the ceremony and the coming together of
energetic forces of the next generation of young Armenians on their
home soil gave chills to hundreds of thousands more watching it
broadcast live on Armenian National TV.

President Robert Kocharian said the event was "one of the best
traditions of our contemporary history. It unites the national spirit,
promotes fair play, and healthy lifestyle.

"These games have become a celebration for the youth throughout the
world," he said.

* To the source of light we go

Hours before the opening ceremony, in a spectacular show designed as
homage to Armenians’ ancestral worship of strength and fire, the torch
of the Armenian Olympics was lit in the temple of Garni, the source of
light of pagan Armenia. The ritual torch lighting combined symbolism
from ancient and modern times. Orange-robed performers held circular
mirrors at the court outside the temple accompanied by harp-playing
angels standing on its steps.

The ritual was a sight to be remembered. Ballet and acrobatic
dancers in red, white and gold costumes flew high in the air, dancers
pounded iron welding stones, mingled traditional Armenian and modern
sounds and beats, steps and movements. They danced in rotations,
formed circles within circles, lept off one another, climbed over the
shoulders of one another, and formed the silhouettes of Armenian
fortresses and native land.

In the midst of festive sounds and images a young man in red came
out of the temple, holding the torch high. "Like the sun, burn and
go," a deep voice announced. The torch was passed to two athletes, one
man and one woman. Surrounded by an impressive procession of six black
motorcycles, the torch was taken by Vahagn Javakhyan, the fastest
athlete in Armenia, and then passed on to 12 athletes running through
villages and towns. When it reached the stadium, the torch was handed
to Olympic champion Hrachia Petrosyan, who ran up the stairs of a
Mount Ararat erected on the football field. The flame of the 4th
Pan-Armenian Games was lit at the summit of Ararat.

* A parade of national pride

The ceremony started under a heavy but brief rain, which went almost
unnoticed as the pounding beats of a hundred drummers in white and the
melodies of red-clad duduk players crisscrossed through the stadium.
Hundreds of young people formed Mount Ararat on the field, and with
their bodies wrote the Armenian letters for Armenia. The ceremony
included a festive and patriotic concert by Armenian pop stars Hayko,
Tata, Christine Pepelyan, and Andre, among others.

Giant blue, black, red, yellow, and green circles draped the field,
with each circle respectively representing the five continents of
Europe, Africa, America, Asia, and Oceania. With each circle, a young
man or woman cheered the Pan Armenian games on behalf all the
Armenians of his or her continent.

The first to shout out words of greeting and enthusiasm was Alexa
from Europe. She presented her favorite color blue, as the one
representing the continent she came from, much like the blue waters of
Lake Sevan.

Then Hrag from Egypt took the stage. With him the huge black circle
came to the center of the field, symbolically resembling dark black
Armenian eyes. Hrag was very excited. It was his first time in Armenia
and he waved a spontaneous greeting to Kocharian, who laughed and
waved back.

To Ani from the United States, red was not only the color of her
continent, but also the first color of the Armenian tricolor. After
extending an excited greeting to Armenia and the Armenians, Ani said
that what she wanted most was to study Armenian and live in Armenia.

Massis from Aleppo was the next to shout his "Voghjouin hayrenik!"
("Greetings fatherland.") To him the color yellow brought to mind his
golden country. As the last circle was being spread on the field,
Alicia from Sydney told the spectators that her grandfather told her
she was the daughter of Armenia, and she said that she wouldn’t ever
forget her homeland.

This was followed by the Olympic slogan "Faster, higher, stronger."
It was one of the most poignant moments of the ceremony, for it showed
what the Pan-Armenian games really were all about.

Soprano Anna Mayliyan then took the stage and with her crystal-clear
voice sang the national anthem.

A group of young women from Glendale, Calif., enjoyed the event.
"The dances were so cool," said Paulette Bagaturian, who added that
along with her friends she was dancing and having a good time.

"We danced almost the whole time," said Arpi Harutiunian.

"I will take every single moment of the games back with me. They are
so important!" said Catherine Saginyan.

Sevada Bendari said: "It was a cool feeling, especially when I saw
the president."

* "Every one of us wins"

The president said, "Every one of us wins," and then declared the
games opened. Nearby sat Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians,
cheering on the athletes.

"I was stunned the Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, had his
place beside President Kocharian, yet he was not asked to give the
athletes his blessing. His blessing was very important to the athletes
coming from all over the world. However, those were very special
moments," said Dianna Hadjetian from Montreal.

* A very cute mascot to take home

In the center of the field, amid the beat of heart-pounding music, a
huge globe opened and the mascot of the Pan-Armenian Games, a teddy
bear, appeared while a spectacular fireworks show began… and the crowd

This year the teddy bear was chosen as the mascot of the games
because the world executive committee of the games thought that it
embodied strength and wisdom, "two characteristics so important in
sports games," said Arminee Parsadanyan, the executive director of the

Ms. Parsadanyan said that 5,000 souvenir teddy bears were for sale
for 2,500 drams ($7.50) at the opening and the closing ceremonies.

* * *

See below:
7. Pan-Armenian Games: The gravitational pull of the homeland (by
Armen Hakobyan)
8. Pan-Armenian Games: Athletes from Los Angeles (by Armen Hakobyan)

*************************************** ************************************

3. From Washington, in brief

by Emil Sanamyan

* Report: U.S. to strike at Iran within six months?

U.S. officials have once again turned up the heat on Iran. The U.S. is
accusing the elite branch of Iran’s military, the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), of supporting attacks against
American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of August 15, according to
the Washington Post and other media, the U.S. will soon be classifying
the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

"Reports that the Bush Administration will put IRGC on the terrorism
list can be read in one of two ways: it’s either more bluster or,
ominously, a wind-up for a strike on Iran," wrote former U.S.
intelligence operative Robert Baer in his August 18 Time column.

Mr. Baer served with the Central Intelligence Agency in Lebanon
during the 1980s Iran-backed Hezbollah attacks on U.S. forces and
diplomats. He was also the CIA’s Caucasus and Central Asia manager in
the mid-1990s. He left the CIA in 1997. The 2006 film Syriana is based
primarily on Mr. Baer’s autobiographical books, written after leaving
the CIA.

"Officials I talk to in Washington vote for a hit on the IRGC [and
other Iranian targets], maybe within the next six months," Mr. Baer
predicted, admitting that "frankly they’re guessing; after Iraq the
White House trusts no one, especially the bureaucracy."

U.S.-Iranian relations first deteriorated after the 1979 Islamic
revolution in Iran, but tensions have increased in recent years over
Iran’s advances in nuclear technology. A U.S. aerial attack on Iran
has been repeatedly predicted before.

In addition to bilateral and international sanctions, last month the
U.S. announced plans to pour billions of dollars worth of advanced
weaponry to Iran’s opponents and neighboring states. (See Washington
in Brief in the August 4 Reporter.)

In response, U.S. officials believe, Iran is reaching out to
America’s radical Sunni opponents in Afghanistan with whom Iran almost
went to war with prior to 2001, and who loathe Iran’s Shiite regime.

MSNBC analyst Rick Francona suggested on August 16 that Iran is
simply following the adage that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"
— just as the U.S. did when it supported Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
against Iran in the 1980-88 war.

* Iranian president touts "brotherly" ties with Azerbaijan in regional
diplomatic push

Iran is also reaching out to its other neighbors. President Mahmud
Ahmadinejad has kept a busy travel schedule this month, visiting
U.S.-backed Afghanistan on August 14. He was hosted against
Washington’s wishes and denied claims that his government was backing
a Taliban resurgency, the Guardian reported the same day.

Also in August, while Tehran hosted the Iraqi Prime Minister,
Turkey’s re-elected prime minister confirmed plans for a multibillion
dollar joint energy investment project with Iran.

From Kabul the Iranian president flew to Turkmenistan for bilateral
talks, and then to Kyrgyzstan for the August 16 Shanghai Cooperation
Organization Summit, which included leaders of Russia and China.

On August 21-22, Mr. Ahmadinejad made a two-day visit to Azerbaijan,
his third trip to that country in as many years. During his visit he
was once again urged to endorse a more local concern: Baku’s claims on
Karabakh and efforts to undermine Armenia.

However, in a joint press conference with President Ilham Aliyev,
Mr. Ahmadinejad said that he wanted to see progress in both
neighboring countries and spoke of a need to resolve the Karabakh
conflict peacefully through negotiations and, according to Azerbaijani
media, "on the basis of justice and law."

Among the bilateral agreements signed were several transportation
and hydroenergy projects in Azerbaijani-controlled Nakhichevan (in
particular, a proposed dam near Ordubad on the Arax River that may
potentially impact the river’s downstream flow along Armenian

In an an indirect reference to U.S. efforts to recruit Azerbaijan
against Iran, Mr. Ahmadinejad was quoted by his state news agency as
saying: "There are some forces that do not want our friendship, and
try to sour our relations. But they are wrong. Iranian and Azeri
nations are brothers."

And BBC News reported on August 22: "Azerbaijan has repeatedly said
it would not allow American troops to use its territory to attack
neighboring countries."

* Israel’s "Minister for National Fears" also in Baku

Just days before meeting the Iranian President, senior Azerbaijani
officials hosted Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Strategic Threats (read Iran) Avigdor Lieberman, on August 16. Mr.
Lieberman heads the right-wing "Israel, Our Home" party and is known
for his tough anti-Arab rhetoric. In a May 2007 Atlantic Monthly
profile, he was dubbed Israel’s "Minister for National Fears" because
of his support for preemptive action against countries and groups that
he sees as threats to Israel’s existence.

Israeli officials and Jewish organizations have long sought the
establishment of an Azerbaijani embassy, something that Azerbaijani
officials continue to refuse to do in apparent deference to Iran.

Mr. Lieberman, who lived in Soviet Azerbaijan before immigrating to
Israel in 1978 at the age of 21, suggested that in the absence of an
embassy, a commercial representation might suffice.

He also went a rhetorical step further than the typically neutral
Israeli official position on the Karabakh conflict. He said in Russian
that "the official position of the state of Israel is that we
recognize the sovereignty of Azerbaijan in the issue of
Nagorno-Karabakh." In the video carried by the Azerbaijani Trend News
Agency, he said that the Jewish lobby backs Azerbaijan around the

But in an unusual concurrence with the views of Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr.
Lieberman added that "the [Karabakh] issue can only be resolved
through a peace process, through negotiations."

* U.S. to fund a trans-Caspian pipeline feasibility study

As part of the U.S. strategy to facilitate non-Russian and non-Iranian
energy deliveries to Turkey and Europe, the U.S. will grant Azerbaijan
$1.7 million to study the feasibility of running oil and gas pipelines
from Central Asia under the Caspian Sea, RFE/RL reported on August 16.

Assistant Secretary of State Dan Sullivan, who was the U.S. cosigner
to the grant deal, said it was the largest amount the U.S. Trade
Development Agency has ever spent on a feasibility study in the
region. Mr. Sullivan said that the funding underscored the project’s

The U.S. previously secured the bulk of about $4 billion for the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that became operational last year
and is also backing the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline. RFE/RL
cited the Azerbaijani daily Ekho as estimating on August 17 that the
undersea link-up to the two pipelines might cost $11.5 billion to

* Anonymous investors to manage Georgian railway

A group of unnamed investors have pledged to invest $1 billion over 10
years in Georgia’s railway infrastructure, in exchange for 99-year
management rights, and other Georgian media reported on August 16. The mystery
group has set up a British-registered "Parkfield Investment Ltd.,"
which already has the management rights from the Georgian government.

Neighboring Azerbaijan and especially Armenia rely heavily on the
Georgian railway for cargo transportation to Europe. Georgia’s
29-year-old Economics Minister, Giorgi Arveladze said that the
investors promised to keep existing tariffs and fees through the next
year, and "agree all further changes in tariffs with the government
for five years after 2009."

Sarah Kendall, a London-based spokesperson for the group told on August 20 that "when all the formalities are done we will
be revealing the investors."

The arrangement was announced just days after Azerbaijan transferred
to Georgia the first $40 million of a $220-million low-interest loan
for the construction of a railway between Akhalkalaki and the Turkish
border, which will bypass Armenia.

Earlier this year, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan bought the
Kulevi oil terminal on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.

But Georgian media speculation has so far focused on Russian money
being behind the deal. Russia is known to have expressed interest in
both the Armenian and Georgian railroads.

In another development, in findings released on August 22 European
experts appeared to confirm Georgian charges that a Russian military
aircraft violated Georgian airspace on August 6 and apparently
jettisoned a missile that landed without exploding near the breakaway
province of South Ossetia (see Washington in Brief in the August 11

But as RFE/RL reported on August 22, Russia continues to deny its
aircraft was involved and called the incident a "provocation organized
… in Georgia."

In the meantime, Georgia claimed that on August 21 another Russian
aircraft entered Georgian airspace, this time near Abkhazia, the other
breakaway province in Georgia. Officials in Tbilisi said this was the
ninth "act of aggression" to take place in the last three months.

***************************************** **********************************

4. Documents

* Anti-Defamation League calls it Genocide

* The Anti-Defamation League on August 21 issued the following open
letter over the signatures of Glen S. Lewy, National Chair, and
Abraham H. Foxman, National Director.

In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-
Armenian issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the
unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against
the Jewish people, ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell
the Armenians.

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. On reflection, we have come to share the
view of Henry Morgenthau Sr. that the consequences of those actions
were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed
then, they would have called it genocide.

We have consulted with Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other
respected historians who acknowledge this consensus. We hope that
Turkey will understand that it is Turkey’s friends who urge that
nation to confront its past and work to reconcile with Armenians over
this dark chapter in history.

Having said that, we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional
resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will
not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at
risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral
relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States.

* AJC calls for protecting historical truth

* David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish
Committee, posted the following statement on the Jerusalem Post Blog
on August 21.

[Truth and Consequences: Armenians, Turks and Jews]

From 2000 to 2002, I led a graduate seminar entitled "Post-Holocaust
Ethical and Political Issues" at Johns Hopkins University’s School of
Advanced International Studies. Among the topics covered was the
politics of memory.

One of the case studies we explored was the controversy surrounding
language and its power. We looked in depth at the massacre of
Armenians and how its depiction had become a subject of fierce debate,
primarily between Armenians, who insisted on calling the events of
1915 a genocide, and Turks, who adamantly refused to countenance the
g-word. Essentially, this was a zero-sum game. Either one supported
the Armenian or the Turkish position, whether for historical or
political reasons, but neither side allowed room for compromise.

The basic Armenian argument was that up to 1.5 million Armenians
were deliberately targeted and massacred by the Ottoman Empire, eight
years before the modern Turkish Republic came into being. At the time,
the word genocide didn’t exist. It was Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born
Jew, who coined the term. The Holocaust was the most immediate frame
of reference for him, but he was also haunted by the slaughter of the
Armenians — and by the need to prevent a repeat of any such
occurrences — throughout his career. But had it been in use, it no
doubt would have been invoked by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, the U.S.
envoy to Turkey at the time and one of the primary sources on the
tragedy cited by the Armenians.

No, replied the Turks. This was a time of war. The Armenians sided
with Russia, the enemy. Many people, both Turks and Armenians, were
killed, but that was the regrettable, if inevitable, consequence of
conflict, and not a deliberate campaign to wipe the Armenians off the
face of the earth, as the Nazis later sought to do to the Jews.

In recent years, of course, the survivors and eyewitnesses have
disappeared. But each side has marshaled as much documentary evidence
as it could to buttress its assertion. Yet neither side has been
talking to the other. Instead, both have been appealing to the rest of
the world, seeking supporters.

Not surprisingly, each has sought to draw the Jews to its ranks. The
Jews’ moral voice, they reckoned, far exceeds actual numbers. The
people of the Shoah are best positioned to tip the scales in one
direction or the other.

The Armenian position has been straightforward. As victims of the
Holocaust, who can better understand the Armenian ordeal and anguish
than the Jews? Fearful of the danger of Holocaust denial, aren’t the
Jews most aware of the slippery slope of distorting historical truth?
And wasn’t it Adolf Hitler who reportedly asked, "Who still talks
nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?" – in effect, paving
the way for the Final Solution?

Meanwhile, the Turkish stance has been that Jews shouldn’t simply
accept the Armenian version of history lock, stock and barrel, as it’s
fraught with distortion and deceit, but rather bear in mind the
traditional Turkish welcome of minority communities, especially the
embrace of dispersed Jews from Spain by the Ottoman Empire at the end
of the 15th century.

Moreover, Turkish leaders have also at times taken a tougher line,
suggesting, in barely veiled language, that a Jewish acceptance of the
Armenian version of history could have negative consequences for other
Jewish interests, whether in Turkey or beyond.

And it is in this vise that many Jews have lived for years,
essentially pitting principle against pragmatism. For armchair
observers, that may look like an easy choice, but, in the world of
policy, where actions can have real-life consequences, it’s anything

Look at successive governments of the United States, whether under
Democratic or Republican leaders. All have reached the same
conclusion: Turkey is of vital importance to U.S. geo-strategic
interests, straddling as it does two continents, Europe and Asia,
bordering key countries – from the former Soviet Union to Iran, Iraq and
Syria – and serving as the southeastern flank of NATO. Each
administration has essentially punted when asked about the Armenian
question, seeking to discourage the United States Congress from
recognizing the events of 1915 as genocide, while arguing that a
third-party parliamentary body isn’t the right venue to settle a
heated historical dispute.

And now I come back full circle to my Johns Hopkins classroom. I had
four or five Turkish students in the course. All but one proudly
defended Turkey’s historical record, stubbornly refusing to consider
any competing narrative. But there was one young woman who, on reading
the assigned material and much more, came to me and said that for the
first time she doubted the official Turkish version of events. There
were simply too many compelling accounts of the suffering of Armenians
to swallow whole the Turkish line. She then went a step further and
shared her thinking with our class. Regrettably, the other Turkish
students distanced themselves from her, but the other students admired
her for her courage. They instinctively understood that it wasn’t easy
for her to express her sorrow and confusion, but that, under the
circumstances, it seemed the right thing to do. I, too, admired her.

I have a strong connection to Turkey, a country I have visited on
numerous occasions and to which I feel very close. Few countries have
a more critically important role to play in the sphere of
international relations. I remain grateful to this day for the refuge
that the Ottoman Empire gave to Jews fleeing the Inquisition. I am
intimately connected to the Turkish Jewish community and admire their
patriotism and enormous contribution to their homeland. I deeply
appreciate the link between Turkey and Israel, which serves the best
interests of both democratic nations in a tough region. And I value
Turkey’s role as an anchor of NATO and friend of the United States.

At the same time, I cannot escape the events of 1915 and the
conclusions reached by credible voices, from Ambassador Morgenthau to
Harvard professor Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of
A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide, to the United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum, about the nature of what took place:
it was a genocide, they determined, albeit one that occurred more than
thirty years before the term was coined.

From my experience in tackling difficult relationships, I believe
that engagement, not avoidance, is the best strategy. In a perfect
world, Armenian and Turkish historians would sit together and review
the archival material, debate differences, and seek a common
understanding of the past. To date, that hasn’t happened in any
meaningful way. I continue to hope that it will. It should. We at AJC
have offered our services, if needed, to help facilitate such an
encounter. Ninety years of distance ought to allow for the creation of
a "safe" space to consider contested issues.

Meanwhile, as the issue once again heats up in the United States,
it’s important to be clear. In a book entitled Holocaust Denial,
published by the American Jewish Committee in 1993, the author,
Kenneth Stern, an AJC staff expert on the subject, noted: "That the
Armenian genocide is now considered a topic for debate, or as
something to be discounted as old history, does not bode well for
those who would oppose Holocaust denial."

He was right. Picture a day when a muscle-flexing Iran or Saudi
Arabia seeks to make denial of the Holocaust a condition of doing
business with other countries. Sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t.

We have many interests as a Jewish people. Protecting historical
truth ought to be right up there near the top of the list.

* Newton, Mass., takes a stand

* The following open letter, dated August 21, was sent to Abraham
Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League by David B.
Cohen, mayor of Newton, Mass.

I write this letter on behalf of the citizens of the City of Newton,
Massachusetts — home to the largest Jewish population in the state
and a "No Place for Hate" community since the program’s inception —
as we stand with Israel, and with our Armenian brothers and sisters.
There is no uncertainty that more than 1.5 million Armenians were
summarily displaced and marched to their deaths by the Ottoman rulers
in the early 20th century — a genocide.

I am in full support of the actions taken by the New England
Regional Board of the ADL, and its Executive Director Andrew Tarsy in
recognizing the Armenian Genocide. I am also in full support of the
legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Adam Schiff calling on
the United States to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is an important step along
the path of peace and freedom, and crucial in combating other
genocides now and in the future. As history has shown, failure to
recognize atrocities of the past leaves open the possibility of
violence in the future. In fact it was Hitler himself who, when
contemplating the Holocaust said: "Who, after all, speaks today of the
annihilation of the Armenians?" The Armenian Genocide is a tragic fact
of history, and failure to recognize it as such does a disservice to
people all over the world who have suffered from discrimination and

Since its inception in 1913, the Anti-Defamation League has been a
forceful advocate for tolerance and justice throughout the world. I am
calling on you to stay true to your mission, "To secure justice and
fair treatment to all," by providing your support of the Armenian
people around the world. Specifically, I call on you to reverse the
national ADL position and recognize the World War I genocide
perpetrated against the Armenian people. Furthermore, I call on you to
reinstate Mr. Tarsy. With these two acts, you can ensure that people
around the world will continue to look to the Anti Defamation League
as a beacon of hope and justice and as an intractable barrier to
intolerance and hate.

I believe that this is a defining issue, and the manner in which ADL
resolves it will determine whether Newton continues as a "No Place for
Hate" community.

* Arlington, Mass., takes a stand

* The No Place for Hate Steering Committee of Arlington, Mass., on
August 20 issued the following statement.

Over the past months, Arlington has pursued certification as a No
Place for Hate community under the auspices of the New England
Regional Chapter of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and the MMA
(Massachusetts Municipal Association). This week, the Arlington No
Place for Hate Steering Committee resolved to suspend our involvement
in the program. We take this measure to protest the refusal of ADL’s
national leadership to acknowledge as genocide the killing of 1.5
million Armenians between 1915 and 1918 by the Ottoman Empire and to
support the efforts of the New England Regional Board and Andrew
Tarsy, former Director, of the New England Region of the ADL.

Arlington chose the No Place for Hate program as a vehicle for
bringing our community together, celebrating diversity, and addressing
issues of hate and intolerance as they arise. While we agree with the
program’s goals, we feel that recent statements and actions of the
national leadership have undermined its integrity and ability to be

We believe that the ADL national leadership’s refusal to acknowledge
what by any standard is genocide — and its subsequent firing of
employees who disagree with their position — is both indefensible and
at complete odds with a basic tenet of No Place for Hate:
acknowledging and accepting the history and experience of our
community members, even when this may be uncomfortable or inconvenient
for us. It tarnishes the good work of so many communities, and serves
as a sad repudiation of the ADL’s mission, "to secure justice and fair
treatment to all."

We applaud Andrew Tarsy and the New England Regional Chapter of the
ADL for their courage in standing up to the national organization’s
position. We support them in their efforts to resolve this matter so
that the Armenian genocide is rightfully acknowledged and the
integrity of the No Place for Hate program can be restored.

We would also like to express our support for the members of the
Armenian community, who have been so profoundly hurt by the position
taken by the national ADL leadership on the Armenian genocide.

* ANCA calls on ADL to support resolution, reinstate Tarsy

* Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National
Committee of America, issued the following statement on August 21.

The ANCA welcomes the Anti-Defamation’s League’s decision to finally
end its longstanding complicity in Turkey’s international denial
campaign by properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide. We remain
deeply troubled, however, that elements of its national leadership
seek to prevent the United States from taking this very same
principled step by adopting the Armenian Genocide Resolution currently
before Congress.

Much work remains, both in bringing the ADL fully to the right side
of this issue and on the broader challenge of achieving proper U.S.
recognition of the Armenian Genocide. But we are, today, gratified by
this step forward, and want to offer our thanks to all the many
Armenians and Jews who cooperated together on this issue on the basis
of our shared values of tolerance, truth and justice. We further urge
the ADL leadership to review its unfair and unjustified decision to
fire New England Regional Director Andrew Tarsy, who had the courage
to speak truthfully on this key human rights issue.

* USAPAC calls for confronting Turkish threats

* Ross Vartian, executive director of the U.S.-Armenia Public Affairs
Committee released the following statement on August.

With declarations affirming the fact of the Armenian Genocide, the
ADL and AJC have publicly acknowledged what both organizations always
knew to be true. ADL’s Foxman has unequivocally and repeatedly
explained why there was such a gap for such a long time between known
truth and public affirmation — Turkish threats against Israel and the
Jewish community in Turkey. As these organizations — joined by the
entire Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations —
continue to discuss the need to remember the Armenian Genocide in the
context of affirming all instances of crimes against humanity, we urge
that the best way to deal with threats against Israel and the Jewish
community in Turkey is for Jews and Armenians to join forces in
confronting the source of such threats. For decades our two
communities have worked together to combat denial and revisionism. We
must now redouble our collaboration.

* Armenian Assembly calls for Jewish organizations to unite

* The Armenian Assembly of America issued a statement dated August 20.
Excerpts appear below.

The Armenian Assembly commends Andrew H. Tarsy, the Anti-Defamation
League’s (ADL) former New England regional director, and its regional
executive committee for publicly acknowledging the historical truth of
the Armenian Genocide. We also salute Stewart Cohen, former Chairman
of Polaroid Corp. and Mike Ross, a member of the Boston City Council,
for resigning from ADL’s regional board in a show of solidarity. In
the face of Turkey’s ongoing worldwide campaign to deny the facts of
this crime against humanity, Tarsy’s principled stand lives up to the
promise and purpose of the ADL’s "No Place for Hate" program.

. . . .

We deeply regret that Tarsy was fired for speaking the truth, and
for challenging what he calls ADL’s "morally indefensible" decision to
oppose Congressional legislation reaffirming the Armenian Genocide.
U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, described
those events as a "campaign of race extermination" against the
Armenian people.

As a people who have been subjected to the most egregious and
extreme form of hate — namely the attempted annihilation of their
entire people — Armenians around the world stand with those who have
faced similar atrocities. It is especially incumbent upon victimized
communities to stand together against hatred, bigotry and denial.

American Jewish community organizations have been divided for too
long and have an opportunity to demonstrate their moral leadership by
standing with the Armenian people and answering Hitler’s chilling
question: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the
Armenians?" A first step would be to fully support Congressional
legislation, which affirms the Armenian Genocide: H. Res.106 and S.
Res.106, pending in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate

* Amb. Evans says recognition would aid regional stability

* John M. Evans, who served as U.S. ambassador to Armenia from 2004 to
2006, issued the following statement on August 21.

The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League have
done the right thing to describe the 1915 massacres of Armenians in
the Ottoman Empire using the historically accurate term, which is
"genocide." And AJC Director David Harris is also right to say that
"engagement, not avoidance, is the best strategy." Treating the issue
of the Armenian Genocide as a taboo does not get us — Armenians,
Turks or Americans — anywhere, but only perpetuates a long-standing
stalemate and generates further bitterness. The issue needs to be
faced squarely and honestly for the good of all, and for the future
stability of the region.

***************************************** **********************************

5. Rural Development Program takes its first steps in Armenia

* An ambitious undertaking

by Armen Hakobyan

YEREVAN — A performance by the State Dance Ensemble of Armenia on
Monday marked the beginning of a fundraiser to pay for the
reconstruction of the village school in Khashtarak village in the
Tavush region of Armenia. This undertaking is one of Armenia Fund’s
Rurual Development Program initiatives and is sponsored by the German
Union of Armenian Businessmen. According to the organizers, a portion
of the proceeds from the performance will go toward this
reconstruction project. The reconstruction and furnishing of the
school will be funded by the German Union of Armenian Businessmen,
with the participation of the German and Swiss affiliate structures of
the Armenia Fund.

Prior to the concert, Vahe Aghabegians, the Executive Director of
the Armenia Fund spoke about the program: "It can be said that the
Rural Development Program is well on its way. We have already
identified the villages, specified the projects to be undertaken, and
we have found the financial solutions for these projects. In the near
future, we will be able to see the fruits of our labor.

"The program includes 150 villages, but the first step will involve
five villages. They are Khashtarak, Lusadzor, Aknaghbyur and Ditavan.
These villages combined constitute one micro-region. This is our pilot
micro-region. After we have completed this we shall move on to Lori
marz, where we will have two micro-regions. The villages involved in
the program are already identified, there are seven of them. Then we
plan to move on to the villages of Armavir marz, which is close to the
Armenia-Turkey border. However, the first results will be visible in

Ilda Karinyan, the Executive Director of the German Union of
Armenian Businessmen in her speech prior to the performance stated
that their organization has successfully cooperated with the Armenia
Fund for the past ten years. She mentioned that the German affiliate
structure of the fund serves as a strong bridge between the Armenian
communities of Germany and Armenia. She noted also that the German
Union of Armenian Businessmen is ready to fully support the Rural
Development Program.

Union treasurer, Arman Terteryan told our correspondent that their
organization’s initial objectives aimed to support the issues of
preserving Armenian identity in the Diaspora, and in Germany in
particular. "There are 40,000 Armenians living in Germany and we try
to keep them active. Preservation of national identity is the biggest
problem for Armenians living in the Diaspora," Mr. Terteryan said,
adding that since 2001 the organization has focused its efforts on
assistance to Armenia. "We renovated a kindergarten in the city of
Abovyan, where initially only 38 children were attending, but now
their numbers reach 165. But our largest project together with the
Armenia Fund today is the school of Khashtarak village. The foundation
of the school is firm, but it is necessary to do interior renovations.
New chairs, windows… The school needs to be reconstructed and
afterward a new complex will also be constructed– with a sport hall
and heating system."

The coordinator of the German Union of Armenian Businessmen of
Germany, Masis Petrosyan added that one of the projects they hope to
realize is the heating of the school by solar energy. In response to
our correspondent’s question on the reasons for choosing this
particular school of Khashtarak, Mr. Petrosyan said: "Khashtarak
neighbors several villages, and after the reconstruction of the school
it will be possible to organize the education of children from the
other 5 villages there. Afterwards, children will have an opportunity
to study in much better conditions."

According to data provided by the Armenia Fund, 251 children attend
the school of Khashtarak today, and this number is expected to
increase to 600 after the reconstruction is completed. Approximately
320,000 Euros have been invested in the joint project by the German
Union of Armenian Businessmen and the German and Swiss affiliates of
the Armenia Fund.

With regard to the Rural Development Program in general, the
Executive Director of the Armenia Fund, Vahe Aghabegians, mentioned
that Diasporan response to this project has been amazing. "I haven’t
seen any other program, except perhaps the Goris-Stepnakert highway
project, that the Diaspora has responded to with such immediacy and
willingness. The Armenian community in the United States has also
responded to this project with great enthusiasm. The lion’s share of
donations from interested parties has been from the American-Armenian
community, which we haven’t even actively engaged yet. Some
organizations and individuals simply expressed willingness to

Another important fact that we learned from Mr. Aghabegians is that
the Armenia Fund’s Rural Development Program is being coordinated with
the Millennium Challenge Account-Armenia program in order to avoid
repetition of programs and to ensure that the schedules of the
complementary activities coincide.

*************************************** ************************************

6. AGBU’s Yerevan Summer Intern Program helps to strengthen global
Armenian bonds

YEREVAN — On Sunday, August 5, the inaugural season of the AGBU
"Yerevan Summer Intern Program" (YSIP) ended when the last of the 16
students returned home, filled with new, first-hand knowledge of

During the five-week YSIP program, the participating students from
Canada, Egypt, Romania, and the United States worked as interns in
some of Armenia’s premier institutions and corporations, including the
Foreign Ministry, the National Assembly, the Central Bank of Armenia,
the American University of Armenia, the Cafesjian Family Foundation,
the Sharm media company, and a number of leading medical institutions.

YSIP is AGBU’s third summer intern program, joining the New York and
Paris programs to offer college-aged students a mix of professional
and personal experiences. The initiative offers Armenian college
students a well-rounded program of Armenian cultural, educational and
community service activities, a chance to gain work experience and
connect to their heritage.

While workdays are spent in hands-on work settings, the evenings and
weekends are times for the YSIP participants to explore Armenia and
Karabakh. In addition to the traditional tourist attractions of Garni,
Geghard, Sevan, Dilijan, and Khor Virab, students visited many
AGBU-supported programs in Armenia, touring the American University of
Armenia and the Ultrasound Training Center, attending a concert by the
world-renowned Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, and being treated to a
performance and exhibition at one of the three AGBU Children’s

* Touring Karabakh

During a special weekend trip to Karabakh, YSIP participants saw
first-hand the great impact that AGBU-funded projects are having in
the region. These projects include the rebuilt Stepanakert School No.
7, an apartment building for war veterans and war widows, a chess
school, the Alex Manoogian monument on Alex Manoogian Street in
Stepanakert, and concerts by the Karabakh Chamber Orchestra — all of
which were established through the generosity of AGBU donors.

The interns also took a trip to three villages in Karabakh’s
southeastern Hadrut region, part of the AGBU’s "Repopulation Project."
They toured the growing village of Norashen, which already has a
school, kindergarten, and medical clinic, as well as the smaller
Bareshen settlement nearby. Students also saw the newly inaugurated
village of Jrakn, which will be completed in the next few years. As
part of their journey to Karabakh, interns had an opportunity to meet
with Karabakh National Assembly Speaker Ashot Ghulyan, and learn about
the progress Karabakh has made towards greater stability and

* Eye-opening experiences

As part of their summer schedule, students attended Armenian language
classes, dancing lessons, history lectures, as well as meetings with
various governmental leaders of the Republic of Armenia. Some of the
featured speakers and leaders were Ashot Melkonian, director of
Armenia’s History Institute; Hayk Demoyan, director of the Armenian
Genocide Museum; and Deputy Foreign Minister Armen Bayburtian.

The weekly dance classes for YSIP interns at the Nork Children’s
Center culminated in a small July 31 performance for the local

Lia Sarkissian of Los Angeles interned at the Karagyozian Clinic and
had a positive experience learning the medical field in another
country. "My impressions of Armenia’s medical facilities were
eye-opening. I saw differences, but at the same time I am proud to be
given the opportunity to participate in an internship program here and
gain first-hand knowledge. I will never forget the five weeks that I
spent here." Sarkissian said she would be eager to visit Armenia at
the next available opportunity.

Another Armenian-American, Aleen Tovmasian, interned at a legal
consulting firm, Global SPC, in Yerevan. She blogged about her summer
work experience on the YSIP blog. "My internship, or ‘practica’ as
they call it here, [allowed me to] conduct research and formulate,
translate, and help with sociological surveys in benchmark countries
in order to determine what may be the best plan for implementation
domestically. It’s extremely interesting to read about the
technological, political, and financial climates in Armenia, and work
toward improvements in those areas."

Tovmasian said she "never imagined that I would be as interested in
the development of policy; but I guess much of my intrigue with the
topic emerges from my newfound attachment to this country and the
prosperity of its children. With more technological advancements, the
children of Armenia will be able to keep up with and have the same
opportunities as children in other parts of the world."

YSIP co-coordinator Tamar Shahabian felt assured that the interns
were all satisfied with the AGBU program and impressed with their
experiences. "We were very well received here. They have a deeper
understanding as to why they feel Armenian. There are difficulties
here, but the interns want to come back again. That tells me that the
program was successful."

Shushanik Ghaltakhchian, also a YSIP co-coordinator, was directly
involved in the job placement process and echoes her colleagues
sentiments. "The biggest achievement of the program is that most of
these youngsters have decided to come back to Armenia — and this time
not alone, but with their families, grandmas, sisters, and other
family members," she said.

* A new development in Armenia

YSIP organized a reception for program supervisors at Yerevan’s local
Folk Art Museum on Thursday August 2. The event was designed to thank
all the employers who generously opened their offices to the interns
and ensured that they receive a great deal of experience in their
respective fields of study.

While summer internships are common in the West, they have only
recently become more prevalent in Armenia. So it’s no surprise that
YSIP supervisors like Harutyun Poghossian, head of Marketing and
Quality Department of the ACBA-Credit Agricol Bank, also found the
experience educational and rewarding.

"It was a great pleasure for us to have two young people working
with us whom we loved very much and whose leaving will be difficult
for us," Poghossian said. "They saw all the processes going on in our
bank. They got in touch with the bank employees and, what is more
important, learned a lot about Armenians [in Armenia]."

For Mary Ghazarian, executive director of the EuroTerm company, the
AGBU’s offer was unexpected. "Our intern perfectly substituted for our
employee who was on vacation. My assessment of YSIP is very positive.
Youth from the diaspora come to Armenia, get in touch with us, and get
acquainted with our businesses," Ghazarian said.

To keep friends and family informed about their homeland
experiences, interns posted items from their time in Armenia and
Karabakh on a specially prepared weblog (or blog) designed for the
program. Filled with stories and photos, the YSIP blog can be found
online by visiting

Lara Golnazarians, one of the interns, summed up the summer in her
blog entry at the end of July: "A five-week internship, which I
expected would add to a warm extension as a young professional, has
become a journey of self- realization….

Besides feeling happiness, joy and pride, I also felt pain,
suffering and frustration. Although contrary to my initial intentions,
I believe that one must feel all these emotions in order for a visit
to Armenia to be more than just a superficial journey."


[email protected].

www.agbu .org.

******************************************* ********************************

7. Pan-Armenian Games: The gravitational pull of the homeland

by Armen Hakobyan

YEREVAN — This past week the unifying spirit of the Pan-Armenian
Games soared across Armenia. Over 2,500 athletes not only competed in
10 different sporting events but were able to understand and learn
from one another.

Among the athletes participating in the games, there are nine
basketball players from Fresno who have beat all the teams in their
division (Tabriz, Beirut, Nice, Sydney) and are now in the

By following their game it’s clear that Rouben Vesmadian, is not
only the captain of the team, but the unifying element. "This is the
second time I am participating in these games. Four years ago I was on
the basketball team representing the city of Sydney. We won an award
for the best game and President Robert Kocharian congratulated us on
stage," Rouben recalls. It seems an odd twist of fate for Rouben that
Fresno played against Sydney on August 23. "And now I am playing on
the Fresno team. We intend to win. For me the most important thing is
for our team to be the champion and for us to be recognized as the
best Armenian basketball team."

Rouben’s desire to win is interesting because his team, like most
other teams participating in the Pan-Armenian Games, take their game
very seriously. "I believe that the Pan Armenian Games can become more
appealing on their sporting merit alone. The athletes take the
preparations for these games very seriously. For example, if we don’t
win I will be very upset. It is important for us to win on the
homeland from among Armenian athletes. And if we win, we will be
extremely proud."

However it wouldn’t be accurate to say that for this young athlete
the only important thing about these games are the sporting events.
"Meeting Armenians from other parts of the world is just as important.
For example, four years ago I met many young Armenians with whom I
became friends and I have maintained those friendships. This is a very
important element for me," said the young athlete.

Rouben’s father, Edward Vesmadian who coaches the team expresses the
same sentiment. "I have been coming to Armenia for the last 5-6 years.
I was born in Egypt and then lived in Australia for 44 years. It is
essential that young diasporan Armenians come to see the homeland with
their own eyes so that they can be inspired; live for a short while in
an Armenian environment; to understand and appreciate our traditions.
This is crucial so that the young Armenian living in the Diaspora can
have in their long term plans the idea of settling and living in
Armenia. The homeland must be our final destination.

"Our young people in the Diaspora have everything, except the
Armenian spirit. That can only be obtained here. And the young people
have to return here. We are all proud and lucky to be alive today to
see our independent homeland. I remember well, how our parents, our
fathers dreamt to see a free and independent homeland. Today, that is
a reality. We have to save our young people from assimilation through
the homeland."

And that perspective is very symbolic as Rouben Vesmadian and his
family, bought an apartment in Yerevan a few years ago. That must
further strengthen Armenia’s gravitational pull.

How is that Rouben Vesmadian plays on the Fresno team?

‘I was born and raised in Fresno. I was recruited by the Fresno
State basketball team. I have played in Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Armenia,
and Germany,’ he says. Rouben is not the only player on Fresno’s team
whose family history has endured the typical Armenian fate of

Another player with an interesting background is Alan Kuchov, whose
father is Russian and mother, Armenian and who lives in the United
States. "This is my second visit to Armenia. There have been so many
changes in four years. Yerevan looks so European, people are friendly,
everything is good."

The Armenian Reporter had a chance to talk with Fresno’s basketball
players after their match with Sydney, which was an exciting game to
watch. Both teams played brilliantly which is reflected in the final
score 76:71 in favor of Fresno.

The tallest player on their team is Vladimir Stepanian, who lives in
Holland but plays for Fresno. It was obvious that his mind was still
on the game. "We could have played better today. Prior to today’s game
we played against 3 weaker teams and that perhaps made us less alert
today. But toward the end we were able to pull it together and win. We
are psyched to go to the very end to realize our objectives, to be the
champions. I didn’t realize that there would be so much attention
focused on basketball here in Armenia. These games, I believe, are
necessary for Diasporan Armenians. For me this has been a pleasant and
meaningful time, not only athletically, but for the fact that I am in
the homeland."

Matches during the Pan-Armenian Games usually conclude with smiles
and handshakes. The game, the tense moments all diminish and what
remains is the friendship among Armenians dispersed throughout the
world, living in different countries and this is something which needs
to continue.

*************************************** ************************************

8. Pan-Armenian Games: Athletes from Los Angeles

by Armen Hakobyan

YEREVAN — "I have come to get acquainted with my homeland." This is a
sentiment expressed by an athlete from Los Angeles.

The Armenian community of Los Angeles is participating in the 4th
Pan-Armenian Games with soccer and volleyball teams. And these teams
are to be reckoned with.

The Los Angeles men’s volleyball team beat Vienna 3-0 on August 23.
After the game, some of the volleyball players met with the Armenian
Reporter to talk about their impressions and emotions.

* Raffi Mitilian

"I am very happy that we are here representing Los Angeles. Yerevan is
a very beautiful city. And so is Armenia. We are having a great time.
My Armenian is not very good, but I hope that we will win. And if we
don’t become the champions, I will be very disappointed."

* Hrayr Simonian

"We have met with many athletes, but haven’t spent enough time getting
to know them. I hope that since we’ll be here for another week we’ll
have a chance to get to know each other better so that we can make
friends and hopefully keep in touch. The important thing is being here
— we can play sports in the States. We have come to meet other
Armenians, to get to know our homeland. That is why we have come.

"My impression is that these games are very well organized. I am very
happy that they hold these games as it gives us the chance to come to
Armenia. For those of us who live in the Diaspora we learn about
Armenian history. And now we are reuniting with our family and we are
celebrating Armenian culture. These are the reasons we come and my
dream is that one day I will return here. And now, we have all come
together here and I am truly very happy that I am here."

* Artur Paghtanian

"I am very happy. This is my third time participating in the
Pan-Armenian Games. The other times I played for the soccer team, but
this year I am playing on the volleyball team. I am very pleased that
Armenians from all over the world have an opportunity to meet one
another. Armenia is the only place which can serve as a meeting point
for everyone. Another beneficial thing about the games is that every
one brings their own unique cultural perspective which helps us learn
more about one another."

********************************** *****************************************

9. Armenia, Portugal battle to a draw

YEREVAN — The Armenian national soccer team is playing some of its
best games ever. A tie with Portugal on August 22 was the latest

Following the June 6 game with Poland, Agence France Press reported
that Armenians demonstrated their "giant-killing capacities," and the
expectations now were only for victory.

Armenian fans have responded. The game with Portugal became the
first sold-out sporting event in Armenia’s recent history, with more
than 16,000 packing the Republican Stadium and thousands more unable
to get in, Armenpress and eyewitnesses reported. Celebrations
continued late into the night.

* * *

Portugal is ranked among the top 10 soccer teams of the world and is
packed with world-class soccer stars. Its coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
previously led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup victory. Portugal itself
was a finalist of the 2004 European Cup and semifinalist of the 2006
World Cup. It needed a victory in Armenia to move up to the highly
competitive Group A of the European qualifiers to ensure a top spot
and qualification for the 2008 European Cup.

Armenia, on the other hand, has no chances of qualifying.

Moreover, for the past several months, Armenia’s coach, the
61-year-old Scot Ian Porterfield, has been undergoing cancer treatment
in England and was substituted by another Briton, Paul Jones. But Mr.
Porterfield, reportedly against his doctors’ advice, returned again
and again to be with his team during games against Kazakhstan, Poland,
and Portugal.

Adding to Armenia’s potential woes, one of the stars from the Poland
game, goalkeeper Gevorg Kasparov was out with a shoulder injury and
20-year-old Edgar Manucharyan, perhaps the best Armenian striker, now
playing for Ajax of Amsterdam, was unable to join the national team.

* * *

Midfielder Levon Pachajyan put the Portuguese goalie to work early and
at the eleventh minute, forward Artavazd Karamyan set up a header by
Robert Arzumanyan, putting Armenia in the lead. As Portugal tried to
respond, Armenia continued to dominate with another shot by Karamyan
coming close.

But a slip-up by Armenian defenders handed Portugal’s top player
Cristiano Ronaldo an opportunity that he did not miss at the 37th

As Portugal tried to retake the initiative, Armenian players
continued to fight, pegging down efforts by Hélder Postiga, Nuno
Gomes, Ricardo Quaresma, and Bruno Alves.

At a press conference following the game, Mr. Scolari, the World
Cup-winning coach, stated that "Armenia’s team is a strong opponent
that performed quite well."

Mr. Porterfield, who has been credited with much of Armenia’s
progress over last year, called the game a "great night for Armenian

* * *

With two Azerbaijan games initially planned for mid-September
cancelled, Armenia will instead play two friendly games with Cyprus
and Malta. Armenia’s four remaining qualifying games include a home
match with Serbia on October 13, followed by one away in Belgium on
October 17, a return Portugal match in Lisbon on November 17, and a
game at home with Kazakhstan on November 21.

* European Championship Qualification
Group A standing with games played and points earned.
Group A Pld Pts
POLAND – 9 – 19
FINLAND – 9 – 17
PORTUGAL – 8 – 15
SERBIA – 8 – 14
BELGIUM – 9 – 10
ARMENIA – 8 – 8
Source:, August 23, 2007.

******************************************* ********************************

10. Market update

by Haik Papian

A. Rates

Yield to maturity curves:

During last two trading sessions (02/08 – 03/08/2007), total turnover
of government bonds on the secondary market by maturity segments were:

Less than 6 months: 0 AMD
6 months – 1 year: 100 mln. AMD
1-2 years: 145 mln. AMD
2-5 years: 150 mln. AMD
5-7 years: 280.8 mln AMD
7-10 years: 340.4 mln AMD
Total: 1,016.2 mln AMD

It can be observed that high volumes for longer-maturity segments
determined the shape of the yield-to-maturity curve. High: 9.75 (5-7
years), Low: 5.35 (1-2 years).

The yield-to-maturity curve has an upward-sloping shape. The shape
of the curve is almost the same for the last several months.

Exchange rates: The diagram shows cumulative exchange rate changes for
AMD/USD and AMD/EUR currency pairs for the period of July 13 to August
10, 2007.

Exchange rate quotations are presented in European terms, and the
percentage decrease/increase in the diagram means
appreciation/depreciation of Armenian dram respectively.

On August 2 the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar was 336.8 AMD,
which is the lowest it has been in the last 12 years. During the
August 9 session on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange the U.S.
dollar reached its minimal rate also against Russian rRuble (1 USD
25.3444 RUB).

Overall the exchange rates of AMD/USD and AMD/EUR were determined by
the situation in the international foreign exchange markets. After the
announcement of the main U.S. macroeconomic indicators, the dollar
temporary appreciated against the euro, which is reflected in the

From July 13 to August 10 the AMD appreciated against both EUR and
USD by 0.4 percent. Again we can observe that the pace of AMD
appreciation is going down.

B. Corporate Securities

Ararat Bank notes paid the first quarter 2 percent coupon on August
10. The notes carry 8.24 percent annual effective interest.

ArmRusGazProm is in the process of listing its 18-month maturity
notes. It is expected to be completed on the second week of September.

Valetta LLC holding placed its 18-month maturity notes in the
primary market. The total volume of placement was 350 mln AMD.

C. Indexes

Cascade Business Sentiment Index (CBSI): The Cascade Business
Sentiment Index is our approach to forecasting sentiment about
Armenia’s business trends. The Sentiment Index is based on a survey,
the respondents of which are a group of individuals who own or operate
stable and growing businesses in Armenia. The survey measures the
business owners’ expectations for the near future by addressing to
them questions and calculating the weighted average of their replies
on a numerical scale (from 1, the most pessimistic, to 10, the most
optimistic). The Cascade Business Sentiment Index for the months of
August, 2007 is 6.7, a 3 percent increase over the last month. This
increase can be explained by the relative stabilization of the AMD/USD
exchange rate and anticipation of overall demand increase after the
summer vacations period.

Cascade Commodity Index (CCI): The index, which is the average retail
price in Armenia for certain commodities, indicates a monthly increase
in the last few months. The Cascade Commodity Index for June-July 2007
is 15,160. No increase was observed in the last month. The commodities
tracked by the index are (1) petroleum (20 liters); (2) steel (100
kg); (3) pork (10 kg); (4) flour (10 kg); (5) corn oil (10 liters).

D. Major Market Events

According to reliable sources of information, the prominent Russian
investment bank, Troika Dialog, acquired ArmImpExBank. The latter was
owned by Vache Manukian, a U.K.-based businessperson of Armenian
descent. The bank, under new management, is expected to focus on
corporate and investment banking.

* * *

Haik Papian, CFA, is CEO of Cascade Investments. He can be reached at
[email protected]

11. Dr. Harutune Armenian awarded medal by Catholicos Karekin II

ETCHMIADZIN — On Saturday, August 18, Karekin II, Catholicos of All
Armenians, awarded the St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Medal on Dr. Haroutune
Armenian, president of the American University of Armenia, in
recognition of Dr. Armenian’s many contributions to scholarship and to
the community at large.

During the presentation in the pontifical residence of the Mother
See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Fr. Asoghik Karapetian welcomed the evening’s
guests, and Anahit Ordyan, AUA’s director of administration, spoke on
the life of the honoree.

Bishop Ararat Kaltakjian, Grand Sacristan of the Mother See, read
the pontifical encyclical aloud to the crowd after it was
ceremoniously brought into the hall by clergy and seminarians.

Catholicos Karekin followed the reading of the encyclical with the
official presentation of the medal to Dr. Armenian.

In his remarks, the AUA president expressed his gratitude to the
Catholicos, and added: "This medal is truly a great honor for me, but
I share this honor with all those whose care and attention I received,
and continue to enjoy, in different places and different times."

* Serving scientific and academic progress

In his encyclical, Catholicos Karekin paid tribute to Dr. Armenian’s
long years serving "the field of health-care with diligent devotion,
taking upon yourself countless positions of responsibility in medical
and educational institutions in Armenia, Lebanon, Oman, Germany, Iraq
and many other countries." These noteworthy and widely admired
efforts, he noted, "have also brought recognition to our native
Motherland and our faithful people."

He applauded the honoree’s tenure as president of the American
University of Armenia, and the generation of young scholars who have
gone benefited from his guidance. "Your life and activities provide an
excellent example for the students of the university, showing them the
path to serve the scientific and academic progress of our country and
aspiring for success through unceasing, steadfast labor," the
Catholicos wrote.

The encyclical concluded: "We have also had the opportunity to
witness your love and unshakeable fidelity to our apostolic holy
church and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, which you bear as a
seal on your soul as the worthy son of our Armenian community of

The August 18 ceremony concluded with a blessing and closing prayer
from the Catholicos.

************************************* **************************************

12. Commentary: A bystander to genocide?

* An interview with genocide scholar Gregory Stanton

by Chris Zakian

Dr. Gregory Stanton is the president of the International Association
of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). The Armenian Reporter spoke to him by
phone on August 23, to get his perspective on the developments
concerning the national Anti-Defamation League’s stance on the
Armenian Genocide and the importance of acknowledging the Genocide,
both in Congress and as a matter of historical fact.

Armenian Reporter: Were you aware of the Anti-Defamation League’s
position on the Armenian Genocide prior to the past two weeks?

Gregory Stanton: No, I wasn’t — but that’s only because I didn’t
look into it. I’ve supported and admired the work of the ADL for many
years, and frankly this came as a surprise to me.

AR: The developments in this case have moved very quickly. What do
you see as having set it all in motion?

Stanton: Ultimately, what precipitated the controversy was the ADL
actively opposing the Congressional resolution. They didn’t have to do
that — they could have continued to be silent, if nothing else; and I
don’t know why they went about it the way they did.

AR: What might the reason have been?

Stanton: It’s highly likely that the Turkish denial lobby influenced
them to take the original position. Just as it’s influenced the U.S.
government, especially the State Department, to oppose the resolution.

The refusal of the U.S. to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide is all
based on a calculation of national self-interest that is shortsighted.
And the same thing is true for Israel’s position [on the genocide]. I
agree that Israel has a need to get allies; but one should not get
allies by refusing to tell the truth.

AR: Earlier this week the ADL retreated from its original position
and issued a statement acknowledging the Armenian Genocide as such…

Stanton: People with conscience inside the ADL were uncomfortable
enough with [the former] position that the New England chapter decided
to oppose the national organization — and they should be commended
for their courage.

AR: Why is important to use the word "genocide" to describe these mass crimes?

Stanton: Denial is the final stage of genocide — it’s a
continuation of genocide. I believe denial itself is part of the act
of genocide. Now that we have a word to describe this crime — and we
did not have it at the time of the Armenian Genocide — but now that
we do have it, it’s important to use that word.

The fact that the current government of Turkey continues to deny the
genocide of the Armenians is frankly perplexing to me. It’s not the
current government that is implicated in the Genocide; it’s the former
Ottoman government of the Young Turks. The present government of
Turkey should simply acknowledge the historic truth.

AR: A common refrain among those who oppose a Congressional
resolution — and the ADL reiterated this point two days after their
acknowledgment statement — is that questions about the genocide
should be left up to Armenian and Turkish scholars. Is that a tenable
position? Can one take a neutral stance on such questions? Are they
matters just for Armenian and Turkish scholars?

Stanton: No, they’re not. They’re certainly not matters for Armenian
and Turkish scholars alone to discuss. That’s an absurd position —
like saying only Jewish and German scholars should discuss the
Holocaust. This is a matter of objective historical fact.

And that’s what we agreed at the International Association of
Genocide Scholars. We unanimously concluded that this was a genocide.
There was no dissent. All the scholars of any repute agree on this
fact. And the few who don’t are individuals in Turkey, who depend for
their livelihood on supporting the political position of the
government, and a few individuals elsewhere whose positions are funded
by Turkish interests.

AR: In defense of its former position, the ADL intimated that it was
taken up at the behest of Turkey’s Jewish community — meaning that
the ADL felt that the Jewish community was under threat in Turkey. Is
that a sufficient rationale for the public stance taken by the ADL
until this week?

Stanton: I don’t believe this position is really tenable, because I
don’t believe that the government of Turkey is a threat to the Jewish
population in Turkey. In fact, if you were to suggest that this was
the case, the Turkish government would be outraged at the suggestion
[that Jews live under threat in the country].

By analogy, you could say that we shouldn’t talk about the Holocaust
because Jews in Germany are living under threat. Certainly, sadly,
there are neo-Nazi groups in the country who are a danger. But those
groups are not the official government or the majority population; and
surely the German government will protect its Jewish citizens from
these fringe elements. But you can’t let the existence of these
neo-Nazi groups silence you on the larger matter.

AR: Do you think that, having now acknowledged the Armenian
Genocide, the ADL is obliged to support the "Armenian Genocide
resolution" in Congress? Incidentally, the ADL issued a statement [on
August 23] reiterating its opposition to any Congressional action.

Stanton: In light of their — for want of a better term — "soft
denial" of the genocide in previous statements, their current position
needs to be different. Now they must clearly state that this was a
genocide, and that the Congressional resolution should be approved. If
not that, if they can’t do that, then at least they cannot continue to
actively oppose it.

It is simply a matter of ethical hygiene that people who are
mistaken should admit that they were mistaken.

AR: The strongly-worded "Open Letter to the National Anti-Defamation
League," which you issued on behalf of the International Association
of Genocide Scholars, includes this sentence: "The fundamental
principle in opposing genocide is refusing to limit one’s universe of
moral concern to one’s own ethnic, religious, or national group."
Could you elaborate on what you meant by that?

Stanton: The fundamental cause of genocide is ethnocentrism: when
one group believes another group has no right to exist. The phenomenon
of being a bystander to genocide is when one’s area of concern doesn’t
extend beyond one’s group, to encompass the entire human race. When
you can say, Yes, there are people being killed in a genocide in Sudan
— but it’s none of our concern. The point is that it is of concern to
us, because we’re all members of the human race.

That consciousness is what’s so crucial in this ADL situation. The
New England chapter had that consciousness. The national organization
didn’t — in essence, it excluded Armenians from the human race, in
that sense.

AR: Why was there such a difference between the two levels of the
same organization?

Stanton: I think the national organization is more concerned about
international politics than about human rights, as the United States
government has been on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. That’s why
it’s so important that the Congressional resolution is passed: it will
put the U.S. on record as affirming what it’s always known to be the

AR: And if the resolution doesn’t pass? Would that be something on
the level of the "final stage" of genocide?

Stanton: It’ll be the continuation of a continuing injustice. And
we’ll continue to fight it.

********************************************* ******************************

13. Commentary: The politics of hypocrisy

by Evan R. Goldstein

* This commentary appeared in the August 24 issue of Haaretz. It is
reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Abraham Foxman has become a menace to his own legacy. That is a
shame because it is a good and decent legacy. Over the course of a
career spanning 42 years at the Anti-Defamation League, Foxman has
been an ardent champion of civil rights, a tireless defender of the
separation between church and state against those who insist on
tearing it down, and a consistent watchdog of the fever swamps of
extremism, into which he has shined the bright lights of opprobrium on
bigots of all stripes. These achievements should all be applauded.

And yet Foxman has also shown himself to be both morally obtuse and
ethically challenged. One of the more egregious instances of such
impropriety occurred in 2001, when a congressional probe revealed that
Foxman had helped orchestrate fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich’s
controversial pardon from then president Bill Clinton. Rich had fled
the country in shame to avoid federal charges that he had cheated the
government out of $48 million and had traded with the enemy. The
timing of Foxman’s personal appeal to Clinton on Rich’s behalf was no
coincidence. A few months prior to that, the ADL had received a
$100,000 pledge from Rich. In short, Foxman had prostituted the ADL’s
credibility for a deep-pocketed — and exceedingly shady — donor.

All of which takes me back nearly nine decades to Ottoman Turkey,
where over one million Armenians perished in a horrific spasm of
organized slaughter.

This historical episode has become a political flashpoint in
Washington, D.C., where all kinds of influence peddlers have been
engaged in a fierce struggle over whether Congress should officially
codify the Armenian massacre as genocide. The Turkish government has
spent millions of dollars and twisted countless arms in an effort to
trounce this resolution. More troubling, it has been able to enlist
the support of the ADL — along with other Jewish organizations — in
its campaign of denial.

Let us be clear from the outset: This debate is not about the
veracity of scholarship or the merits of comparative historical

Academic authorities agree on this matter, and the evidence that the
campaign against the Armenians constituted the first genocide of the
20th century is overwhelming and incontrovertible. Instead, the debate
is about politics, in particular the important multilateral
relationship between Israel, the United States and Turkey — one of
the world’s few Muslim-majority countries that is also a democracy. As
the ADL put it in a recent statement: "Turkey is a key strategic ally
and friend of the United States and a staunch friend of Israel, and in
the struggle between Islamic extremists and moderate Islam, Turkey is
the most critical country in the world."

Foxman has particularly distinguished himself by indulging in
spineless acts of rhetorical ambiguity, declaring that "this is not an
issue where we take a position one way or the other. This is an issue
that needs to be resolved by the parties, not by us. We are neither
historians nor arbiters." This from a man who rightfully claims that
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial amounts to an
attempt to destroy Jewish identity! This from the leader of an
organization that has rightfully called on the world not to avert its
eyes from the genocide underway in Sudan’s Darfur region! (One wonders
what Foxman would do if Khartoum were on friendly terms with

This bizarre and shameless display of hypocrisy gradually came under
fire from Armenian civil rights groups and a small cadre of outraged
Jewish journalists, in particular those congregated around the
engaging — if unfortunately named — online magazine Jewcy. All this
protest came to a climax last week when Andrew Tarsy, the New England
regional director of the ADL, publicly broke with the national
position, which he characterized as "morally indefensible." (I hasten
to add that Tarsy apparently only took this drastic step after his
efforts to quietly work within the organization to change the national
position were stymied.)

"I have been conflicted over this issue for several weeks," Tarsy
told The Boston Globe. "I regret at this point any characterization of
the genocide that I made publicly other than to call it genocide. I
think that kind of candor about history is absolutely fundamental."
Tarsy’s heroic stand has earned the young activist a great deal of
admiration in the Boston-area, where the ADL has a rich legacy of
combating bigotry. Not surprisingly, it earned him nothing but scorn
from Foxman, who promptly fired him.

But the outrage only grew, and Foxman ultimately decided out of
"concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased
threats against the Jewish people, to revisit the tragedy that befell
the Armenians." And upon "reflection, we have come to share the view
of Henry Morgenthau Sr. that the consequences of those actions were
indeed tantamount to genocide." This statement, which the ADL released
on Tuesday, is stunning on account of its total lack of integrity.

First, note the disingenuous way Foxman lays the groundwork for his
disgracefully belated admission of the obvious, by attributing his
reversal to the risk of disunity within the Jewish community. What
does the unity or disunity of the Jewish people have to do with
distinguishing between historical fact and malicious fabrication?

Second, note how Foxman completely fails to grasp the fundamental
significance of Morgenthau’s legacy (which he was nonetheless clearly
intent on co-opting). Serving as America’s ambassador in Istanbul at
the time of the genocide, Morgenthau alerted his superiors in
Washington that the ongoing persecution of Armenians was "assuming
unprecedented proportions," ultimately characterizing Turkish
aggression as an "effort to exterminate a whole race." (The word
"genocide" was not coined until 1944.) And although the American
response to Morgenthau’s cables was dreadfully feeble, his actions
testify to the ethical imperative of bearing witness and acknowledging
inconvenient truths. In contrast, Foxman’s statement of contrition
diminishes the importance of the truth.

Third, note the weasel words "consequences" and "tantamount" — why
not just say it was genocide? Long notorious for running the ADL like
a personal fiefdom, Foxman has always resisted calls to plan for his
eventual departure. In response to a 2003 effort by regional lay
leaders to force Foxman’s hand on this matter, he blithely told the
Forward that when "I’m ready to retire or do something else, I will
notify my lay leadership." As someone who believes in the enduring
value of the ADL’s work on behalf of a more tolerant and pluralistic
America, I hope Foxman realizes the time has come.

* * *

Evan R. Goldstein is a writer in Washington, D.C. and a contributing
editor at Moment magazine.

*************************************** ************************************

14. Commentary: The Anti-Defamation League and the Armenian Genocide

by Peter Balakian

The recent Anti-Defamation League decision to reverse its stance on
the Armenian Genocide represents a significant and historic move
forward for this important Jewish-American organization. By
acknowledging the facts and the long historical record, the ADL shows
that it can revise its previous, erroneous stance. In calling on a
Jewish intellectual record and testimony — Ambassador Henry
Morgenthau and Elie Wiesel, for example — ADL Director Mr. Abraham
Foxman also reveals the strength of Jewish intellectual perspective on
the Armenian Genocide.

The recent statement by David Harris, director of the American
Jewish Committee, is also an important affirmation of the historical
record on the Armenian Genocide. He too calls on the Jewish
intellectual discourse, Ambassador Morgenthau and the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial and Museum, in his assessment of the historical and moral
record on the extermination of the Armenians in 1915.

However, the discourse on the Armenian Genocide should not be
articulated as "an Armenian view," as Mr. Harris’s otherwise
thoughtful and careful statement has done. It is crucial to
acknowledge the broad and international record on the Armenian
Genocide, one that has been created by an international body of
dispassionate scholarship for decades, and notably affirmed by the
International Association of Genocide Scholars in repeated statements
that note that this is a resolved issue. This discourse has also been
profoundly shaped by Jewish writing, scholarship, and leadership.
Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Franz Werfel, Elie Wiesel, Robert Jay
Lifton, Deborah Lipstadt, Robert Melson, Israel Charney, Andrew
Goldberg, Yehuda Bauer, and Yair Auron are just a few of the important
voices. Raphael Lemkin, the Jewish legal scholar who lost 49 members
of his family in the Holocaust, invented the concept of genocide in
the 1940s, in part on the basis of the extermination of the Armenians
in 1915. In 1949 Lemkin became the first to apply the term genocide to
the eradication of the Armenians; he did so on American television.

Both Mr. Foxman’s and Mr. Harris’s statements reflect a longstanding
Jewish anxiety about appeasing Turkey, and one can understand the
importance of Turkey to Israel, and the need for a Turkish-Israeli
alliance. However, no country should be told by another country what
to think and what to say about moral and intellectual issues. And, in
the case of Israel and the Jewish diasporan lobbies, it is unseemly
and unthinkable that Jews would trade, to use Mr. Harris’s phrase,
"principle for pragmatism," at least on this issue. No culture I can
think of has a richer and more ferociously independent and creative
intellectual tradition than the Jewish one. And the recent process of
critique, dialogue, and evolving opinion surrounding the ADL issue on
the Armenian Genocide is a salient example of that tradition.

If Jewish organizations continue to honor the moral and intellectual
high ground they have done so much to create in Western civilization,
they will have no problem seeing the value and importance of the
congressional resolution (H. Res. 106) on the Armenian Genocide. For
the crime of genocide that was done to the Armenians there has been no
justice or acknowledgment from the perpetrator and its legacy, the
Republic of Turkey. In addition, what is hard to fathom is that Turkey
has engaged in a nine-decade campaign to attempt to erase the truth
and historical memory about the Armenian Genocide, and has gone to
extreme measures to bully and coerce states and organizations that
engage in the honest memory of the events of 1915.

If Jews replace "Armenian Genocide" with the "Holocaust" in the
previous sentence, as Mr. Harris has suggested, and imagine their
horror at such a scenario in the wake of the Holocaust, they will
surely see why forms of official and state affirmation of the
historical record remain urgently important for Armenians and for
broad ethical, psychological, and social reasons that affect us all.

In not standing up to Turkish coercion on the issue of the Armenian
Genocide, Israel, the Jewish lobbies, and the United States
inadvertently aid and abet the repressive institutions in Turkey that
keep it from being a genuine democracy — one that is capable of
allowing intellectual freedom and historical self-critique. In truth,
Turkey’s human rights record in the 20th century has been and
continues to be disastrous. Its treatment of its minorities, including
the Jews, in the 20th century is a dark story of extreme violence and
repression. Throughout much of the last several decades Turkey has had
more writers in jail or detention than any country including China and
Syria, and continues to persecute its intellectuals and its
educational system under penal code article 301. The assassination of
Armenian journalist Hrank Dink this year is emblematic of how
dangerous the current environment in Turkey is.

Therefore it seems more important than ever for the Jewish lobbies
and the United States to exercise roles of leadership in helping
Turkey move forward on this litmus-test issue of historical fact and
memory, just as many of Turkey’s best and most courageous scholars are
also trying to do.

The recent statements by Mr. Foxman and Mr. Harris, in their
different ways and contexts, are positive signs of change, more of
which will be important in helping to resolve this issue. The AJC’s
continued acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and its refusal to
lobby against H. Res. 106 importantly opens the way for further
affirmations. The bonds that unite Armenians and Jews are deep. I
would ask the ADL, all other Jewish organizations, and all Armenians
to heed Mr. Harris’s advocacy that "protecting historical truth" be a
top priority for Jews and Armenians and others of conscience
everywhere, as the specter of denial is always lurking: poised to
falsify the past and, in so doing, make the present ever more

* * *

Peter Balakian is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the
Humanities at Colgate University. His book The Burning Tigris: The
Armenian Genocide and America’s Response won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin

*********************************** ****************************************

15. Letters

* Oh say, can you see…?


If the book that Moorad Topalian praises and recommends (The Book of
the Tashnagtsagan Badanee, Aug. 11) is as accurate as his description
of the "Star Spangled Banner," then it may be advisable for the book
to be used to prop up the short leg of a table or as a door-stop.

The "Star Spangled Banner" had nothing to do with the War of Independence!

It was written September 14/15, 1814, during the War of 1812, and
recorded Francis Scott Key’s reaction to seeing the American flag
still flying over Fort McHenry, which had been bombarded by a British
warship throughout the night. That bombardment was the only "violent
event" that was "evoked" in the poem that he wrote and which was later
to be put to music. Perhaps it might be a good idea if Armenians in
this country were to learn this country’s history before reading about
Armenian mythology.

Very truly yours,

Avedis Kevorkian

Philadelphia, Pa.

* The Lebanon Crisis and the Armenians: A reminiscence


In all my years of schooling and of working as a photojournalist in
the Middle East, I cannot recall any country complaining about
Armenians being dishonest or traitors. But the tragedy was that when
we, the Armenians of Lebanon, refused to participate with the Kataebs
(the Phalange Party) of Sheikh Pierre Gemayel, or with the Ahrar (Free
Party) of former President Camille Chamoun, insults were frequently
hurled our way.

Last week’s Armenian-disparaging outburst by a Lebanese politician,
after losing a narrow election where the Armenian vote proved
decisive, brought these memories back to me.

Even after all these years, I clearly remember many occasions when
Mr. Chamoun (Ahrar), or Pierre Gemayel (the founder of the Kataeb), or
his sons Bashir or Amin, would tell me personally: "We don’t like you
Armenians any more. We will kick you out of Lebanon the way you
arrived: naked." The pointed reference was to the way our people had
arrived in Lebanon in the aftermath of the Genocide.

In 1978, when the rightist Christians tried to blast our Genocide
Memorial Statue at Bikfaya, His Holiness Khoren I, the Catholicos of
Cilicia, called these leaders in, delivered a fiery speech, and made
them assist in a brief memorial service in front of the damaged

The reason for this animosity was that all the Armenian political
parties — Dashnagtsutiun, Hunchakians, and Ramgavars alike — had
categorically refused to take part in the civil war against the
Nasserite Mourabitouns, the Palestinian guerrillas, with their
splinter groups or other organizations who had taken up arms to split

As a news photographer, I would regularly see and talk with all
these leaders while I was covering the fighting. My bosses at the
Associated Press loved my work because I would go to all sides,
occasionally taking interesting pictures that would be published
around the world.

On more than a few occasions, although we would advise the fighting
sides in advance that we were coming to see them, or that we would be
crossing their sides, some of their snipers would take potshots at us.
The rumor was that if a sniper killed someone important, he would get
$1,000 as a "bakshish" — a gratuity or bonus.

My car did get hit a few times. But I suppose Someone up there loved
me, because the snipers missed me.

One evening, a gunman from the Mourabitoun, stationed atop a minaret
near the Armenian High School on Kantari Street, aimed at me in the AP
office on Clemenseau Street, shattering my telephone. The
incoming-call light on my phone had just gone on, giving the sniper a
target in the otherwise dark room, and he took aim and fired. If I
hadn’t been wearing my eyeglasses, I might have been blinded from the
shattered glasses on my desk.

Not only did I take pictures, but occasionally I had to carry a lot
of cash from the office in the western part of the city to East
Beirut, to pay other AP staffers who could not cross the Green Line
due to the fighting. More than once I returned sweaty and soaked from
fear, after snipers had shot at my car. A stiff drink did the job of
cooling me off.

It’s mildly funny to relate that left to themselves, almost all the
gunmen, from all sides, respected the journalists; still, when orders
came from higher-ups far away, they did what they had to do.

Occasionally, when the Phalange or Ahrar gunmen tried to enter the
Bourj Hamoud Armenian quarter, the Armenian youth would aim rocks at
them. The slings proved efficient arms against the guns — enough to
keep them away, at any rate. And we did keep them away. Always.

Very truly yours,

Harry L. Koundakjian

[During his 50-plus years as a photojournalist, Harry Koundakjian was
known to friends and colleagues as "Harry the Horse" — a name coined
by British correspondents as a tribute to his tireless coverage of the
South Yemen revolt against the British government. The nickname stuck,
and he loves it.]

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16. Editorial: Despite ongoing Turkish threats, a reversal and a step forward

For over three decades, Jewish-American and Armenian-American leaders,
activists, and organizations have worked closely on human- and
minority-rights issues of the day regardless of the place or the
perpetrator or the political pressure to desist.

Together we successfully championed U.S. ratification of United
Nations conventions on minorities, children, women, and, of course,
genocide. And in the noble pursuit of genocide prevention through
research and education, our scholars and educators have labored
together — on many occasions under enormous political pressure — to
develop an understanding of comparative Holocaust and Genocide studies
and teaching.

In these struggles, we developed an unshakable commitment to each
other on the basis of shared values and histories, as well as
contemporary risks to our people and our ancestral homelands.

But, our national public-policy organizations have not yet worked
together in common cause with the fact and consequences of the
Armenian Genocide. Because of Turkish threats against its Jewish
minority and because Turkey appeared willing to punish Israel for any
actions by Israel or the Jewish-American community acknowledging the
truth of the Armenian Genocide, Jewish-American advocacy organizations
did not do what was normative and right. That moment of indecision
regarding the Armenian Genocide is now in the past.

This week, the Anti-Defamation League took an important step in the
right direction. It has further to go.

National Chair Glen S. Lewy and National Director Abraham H. Foxman
on August 21 wrote: "On reflection, we have come to share the view of
Henry Morgenthau Sr. that the consequences of [the painful events of
1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians]
were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed
then, they would have called it genocide."

The letter went on, however, to oppose the Genocide resolutions
before Congress. "We continue to firmly believe that a Congressional
resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will
not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at
risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral
relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States," the ADL
letter concluded.

The New England Region of the ADL, which has stood firmly in favor
of truth and nondiscrimination, has placed the matter of support for
the resolutions on the agenda of the ADL’s national policy-making
body. The body, which has about 300 members, including leaders of the
New England Region, will meet in New York City on November 1. It
should do the right thing and overrule the National Director’s
ill-considered decision to oppose the resolutions.

* * *

Meanwhile, David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish
Committee, made a strong statement in support of remembering the
Armenian Genocide: "I cannot escape the events of 1915 and the
conclusions reached by credible voices, from Ambassador Morgenthau to
Harvard professor Samantha Power, . . . to the United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum, about the nature of what took place: it was a
genocide, they determined, albeit one that occurred more than thirty
years before the term was coined."

Mr. Harris went on to point out that the AJC has long been on record
supporting recognition of the Armenian Genocide: "In a book entitled
Holocaust Denial, published by the American Jewish Committee in 1993,
the author, Kenneth Stern, an AJC staff expert on the subject, noted:
‘That the Armenian genocide is now considered a topic for debate, or
as something to be discounted as old history, does not bode well for
those who would oppose Holocaust denial.’"

Mr. Harris concluded rightly: "We have many interests as a Jewish
people. Protecting historical truth ought to be right up there near
the top of the list."

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
— comprising 50 national Jewish-American organizations — is now
debating its position. The Jewish Telegraph Agency reports that member
organizations are discussing affirmation of the Armenian Genocide in
view of the actions taken by the ADL and AJC.

Armenian-Americans deeply appreciate and commend these steps by
leading Jewish-American organizations to finally deal with this
subject as central to our being as the Holocaust is to all Jews. In
trying to understand what our community should say in response that
would convey both our gratitude and our call to further action, we
share the poignant sentiments by the mayor of Newton, Massachusetts.
Mayor David B. Cohen said, "Whenever I saw the word Armenian, in my
mind I substituted the word Jewish. And whenever I saw the word
genocide, I substituted the word Holocaust. And I said, would I be
satisfied if this were the response of my leaders? And the answer was
no!" The national ADL has to "do the right thing, recognizing the
Armenian genocide and advocating for its recognition as they would any
other genocide," he added.

* * *

The ADL and AJC acknowledge that the safety of Jews in Turkey has
been and continues to be a fundamental concern.

Having buried our colleague Hrant Dink earlier this year, we are all
too keenly aware of the mortal danger Armenians, Jews, and righteous
Turks face in Turkey for speaking freely, for challenging Turkey’s
unconscionable denial of the truth and enforcement of the alternate
lie. As we wrote last week, however, the proper response to this
danger cannot be appeasement.

Armenian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, and others of good conscience
must join together in denouncing any attempt by Turkey to use
minorities as hostages. We must urge the United States and Israel
alike to call on Turkey to eliminate every source of anti-Semitism and
racism that has become so pervasive. The Turkish government and
security forces must be held accountable for the intolerance and
violence directed against the Jewish and Armenian communities and
their leaders. Turkey cannot simply add denial of the risk to denial
of the Armenian Genocide. If the ADL, AJC, and the Israeli government
all invoke such threats and risks, then they are real and must be

At a time when events are moving quickly, we call on
Armenian-Americans to express support for the principled stand of the
ADL’s New England Region and to call on the national ADL to support
the Genocide resolutions in Congress. We also call on the Conference
of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to affirm the fact of the
Armenian Genocide and to support passage of the resolutions on the
Armenian Genocide pending before Congress. Finally, we urge that
Congress and the Bush Administration make it abundantly clear to the
government of Turkey that intimidation and threats will no longer be

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide requires more than
acknowledging this incontestable fact. For recognition to be
meaningful, it must lead to action.

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