Armenia, Belarus refuse to sign Riga Summit Declaration over Crimea

European Union leaders begin a summit in Riga Thursday with Eastern Partnership countries.

Disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, and over the EU’s reluctance to hold out membership prospects to the six states in its “Eastern Partnership”, have held up drafting of a joint communique to be issued in Riga on Friday, diplomats said.

“These are not easy negotiations,” one EU diplomat said after talks in Brussels on a draft text that will be reviewed in Latvia by foreign ministers from the EU, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus on Thursday evening.

Armenia and Belarus refused to sign up to any statement that called Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula illegal and EU diplomats said a compromise text would be put to them.

It would note the EU’s condemnation of the Crimean situation but also refer to partner governments’ positions in a U.N. vote in March 2014.

IJCIR Condemns bigotry and hatred against the Armenian clergy of Jerusalem

The Israel Jewish Coalition for Interfaith Relations (IJCIR) condemns the recent acts of bigotry and hatred against the Armenian clergy in Jerusalem. It calls for immediate attention and action to stop these repeated acts of violence against innocent Armenian clergy and laypersons there,  reports.

The statements reads:
The recurring acts of spitting, shouting and graffiti against Armenian clergy in the Old City of Jerusalem have no place in our Jewish democratic State in the Holy Land. These ugly intolerant acts violate the fundamental values of Israel and Judaism and betray our commitment that all humans are created in the Image of God. Because they are created in the Divine Image, all persons are holy and must be treated with dignity and respect.

And as Jews we have a specific obligation not to oppress the stranger in our society.

Protesting these terrible acts is not enough. We demand that the police apprehend and punish the offenders. There is no excuse for delay or inaction. These acts of bigotry will only stop when swift and consistent action is taken to try and punish the offenders.

The extremists who perpetrate these criminal acts bring shame on the Jewish people, the State of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, its government and its police. We must act now to safeguard the stability of our society and protect the basic values of the Holy City and the State of Israel.”

Prof. Taner Akçam to Lecture at UC Davis on Armenian Genocide

“Gradual Radicalization: The Decision ­Making Process for the Armenian Genocide” will be the topic of a lecture by Prof. Taner Akçam on Wednesday, May 6 at UC Davis. Taner Akçam is professor of history and the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian genocide studies at Clark University, reports.

A closer look at the Armenian genocide in 1915 is the focus of the free program, presented by the UC Davis history department, UCD Middle East/South Asia Studies Program and the Turkey Studies Research Cluster of the UCD Humanities Institute, will take place at the Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St. in downtown Davis.

Debates around mass murders boil down to two central questions: What happened? Why and how did it happen?

In the Armenian genocide research, the “what happened” question got answered at least in broad terms, Akçam says. Although historians still do not have all the details of what was experienced at the local level, they do have a general picture of how the genocide was launched and how it was developed as a state policy.

However, this is not true for the “why” and “how” questions, Akcam says, which are mostly explained with the answers of either “premeditated continuum” or “wartime radicalization.”

“The debate in question is really an offshoot of several peripheral questions regarding the intentions, motives, ideologies and motivating anxieties of the decision­makers,” a news release said.

“If in fact there was a final formal decision for the genocide, we have to answer a list of questions: What stages did it pass through before it reached its final conclusion? When and how did the decision take the shape of a plan?”

Akçam argues that we are still very far from such a level of sophistication, given that much of the debate is driven by speculation rather than documentation. In this talk, he aims to reconstruct the decision­making process based on Ottoman documents.

The fact of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman government has been documented, recognized, and affirmed in the form of media and eyewitness reports, laws, resolutions, and statements by many states and international organizations. The complete catalogue of all documents categorizing the 1915 wholesale massacre of the Armenian population in Ottoman Empire as a premeditated and thoroughly executed act of genocide, is extensive. Uruguay was the first country to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1965. The massacres of the Armenian people were officially condemned and recognized as genocide in accordance with the international law by France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lebanon, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Canada, Vatican, Australia and Bolivia.