George Shirinian, Executive Director
255 Duncan Mill Rd., Suite 310
Canada M3B 3H9
CONTACT: Deborah Hay
DATE: July 20, 2013
Reflections on Yair Auron’s Banality of Indifference Translation into
The Zoryan Institute welcomes the Armenian translation of Prof. Yair Auron’s
book titled The Banality of Indifference: Zionism and the Armenian Genocide,
an important book in the effort to combat denial. The book, published
originally in Hebrew in 1995, is a groundbreaking record of the reaction of
the Jewish community in Palestine before the founding of the State of Israel
to the Armenian Genocide. Seeing the importance of this pioneering work of
comparative history, the Zoryan Institute invited Auron to Yerevan in 1995
to participate in the International Conference on `Problems of Genocide,’
the first on genocide held in independent Armenia.
While the official Jewish reaction to the Genocide was muted and largely
self-interested, Auron documents instances of support. The Nili Group, for
example, an underground intelligence organization, actively sought to aid
the Armenian victims. Chaim Weizmann, a Zionist leader and later the first
President of the State of Israel, and Nahum Sokolov, a Zionist leader and a
pioneer of Hebrew journalism, publicly condemned the killings. Zionist
writers and journalists expressed outraged identification with the Armenians
and tried to arouse the conscience of the world. This book was made
available to the English reading public by a Zoryan sponsoring its
translation, editing and publication.
The Institute commissioned a new study by Auron, which was published in 2003
as The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide. It dealt with
the official policies of the State of Israel regarding the Armenian
Genocide, which Auron decried as denial. We hope that the Banality of Denial
will also be made available to Armenian readers before the centennial of the
Prof. Auron, a long-time member of the Zoryan Institute’s Academic Board of
Directors, has been a strong advocate of raising awareness of the Armenian
Genocide in Israel. Auron was an early supporter and participant in Zoryan’s
Genocide and Human Rights University Program and has gone on to be a leading
educator in Israel and abroad on genocide, as well as the Armenian Genocide
in particular. He has developed a curriculum that is used in Israel and has
been adopted in other countries and has published a series of books in
Hebrew and English on the various major cases of genocide, including one on
the Armenian Genocide earlier this year.
Prof. Yair Auron is a scholar of great originality, a strong advocate of
universal human rights, and a soldier in the fight against denial. It is
very gratifying that his work is being acknowledged and appreciated by the
Armenian Writers Union and government officials.
The Zoryan Institute and its subsidiary, the International Institute for
Genocide and Human Rights Studies, is the first non-profit, international
center devoted to the research and documentation of contemporary issues with
a focus on Genocide, Diaspora and Armenia.
For more information please contact the Zoryan Institute by email
[email protected] or telephone 416-250-9807.