Armenian Holocaust Denial

Armenian activists in the United States are trying to get a congressional recognition of their people’s genocide by the Turks. One would think that the Jewish Lobby would be the first one to support such a resolution:

Last year, Jewish organizations, primarily the American Jewish Committee (AJC), have been more active in thwarting the resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide. This year the politicians managed of their own accord and the resolution will be postponed even without the involvement of Jewish organizations. But a central activist in a Jewish organization involved in this matter clarified that if necessary, he would not hesitate to again exert pressure to ensure the resolution is not passed and the Turks remain satisfied… The prevailing opinion among the large Jewish organizations is that “Turkey’s relations with the United States and Israel are too important for us to deal with this subject,” according to one community activist who was involved in blocking Resolution 193 last year. The more expansive explanation, offered in meetings and discussions, is that “the Armenian genocide is a matter for historians, not for legislators.”

Even though ties between Israel and Turkey are the determining factor in decision-making in the Jewish community, there is also some weight to the matter of definition. The American term proposed in the resolution refers to “genocide” of the Armenians, while the Nazis’ acts against the Jews during World War II are defined as “Holocaust.” The distinction does indeed exist, but according to many Jewish activists, there are some who feel discomfort over the mention of the Armenian genocide alongside the Jewish Holocaust, for fear of cheapening the concept of a holocaust.

These words speak for themselves. It seems that the activists are following Israel’s line on the issue.

10 thoughts on “Armenian Holocaust Denial

  1. politics, politics. considering we’re talking about a resolution here, i’d rather have the jewish lobby support resolutions that pertain to their own interests rather than take the time out to “recognize” the genocide of the Armenians, who, by virtue of their small numbers here in the states, have little political influence. Seems like another gripe at the moral imperfections of political life. o well. Its something to get over. Would the left be outraged if Finland’s goverment failed to recognize the East Timor genocide in a resolution? I doubt it.

  2. the question is do i not have a right to be outraged by holocaust deniers that supposedly are lobbying in my name(!)??

  3. Sure you do, but i’m more interested in what you’re outraged about. i’d imagine the latter is more the purpose of this forum – to debate about what to be outraged over. And you now consider yourself among American Jewry as well, thats just as interesting as your post.

  4. no, actually, the jewish lobby does not represent (in a self-appointed fashion) only american jewery. at least in this case it clearly aligned itself with israeli foreign policy.

  5. You know when they first asked Hitler how he could get away with what he did he replied “who remembers what the turks did to the armenians” maybe if people had cared about the armenians to begin with, it might have helped prevent the Holocaust.

  6. The Canadian government passed a resolution of this type not so long ago. Why now? Well, it was of course prompted by the Armenian Lobby, a self-appointed group, etc. (For those who are outraged by the existence of “lobbies”, that is.)
    Clearly it is good to mark and commemorate genocide and, indeed, Jews should be at the forefront of that. And, yes, politics is the problem — sort of. But the bigger problem, I think, is Turkish opinion. The reason this is political sensitive is that in Turkey, and among many Turks, the idea that there was a genocide against Armenians is still taboo and considered anti-Turkish and racist and so on.
    Now, I’m not going to hold the Turkish community up to Jewish standards: few ethnic groups are as critical of their homeland as we are, and you will not find very many Web sites of Turkish groups denouncing their country in very strong terms. Still, if as Jews we are concerned about the failure to commemorate and denounce and recognise this genocide, then maybe it is to Turks we should be talking, too. They’re human beings, and they’re not stupid.

  7. And in the Old City of Jerusalem, almost every single Armenian Genocide memorial poster is defaced with that stupid mantra _na nahh nahhman nahhman me’uman_.

  8. Genocide is a term that needs to be applied with clinical precision. To deny that the mass murder of Armenians by the Turks was not genocide is incorrect. It was in fact genocide.
    Because the United States, in refusing to comply with the United Nations Convention on Punishment and Prevention of Genocide from 1948 till today!, has created an atmosphere where the mere word has lost its meaning. Most people assume that mass killing alone is what constitutes genocide.
    In the convention on genocide organized by the United Nations in 1948 there are five classifications of actions that constitute genocide.
    The first definition of genocide is the mass killing of a group of people with the intent to bring about the disappearance of the group. The other four have to do with means that don’t actually result in someone’s or some group’s physical death. They are more dealing with cultural assimilation and annihilation.
    A good synopsis of the definition is below from the prolific Native American author Ward Churchil, who resides as chair of the University of Colorado Boulder Ethnic Studies Dep. and Denver Colorado American Indian Movement. He is also on the defense committee for the “Free Leonard Peltier”, another victim of genocide.
    From http://omnipresence.mahost.org/churchill.htm
    “Those perpetrating genocide can, for example, create conditions that bring about the forcible dismemberment, destruction, or dispersal of the group, so that the group is ultimately dissolved.
    They can intentionally visit acute psychological or physical discomfort upon the group, so that group members “voluntarily” separate themselves and bring about the group’s dissolution in order to spare themselves the individual discomfort.
    They can force the transfer of the children of the group to another group at an early age and train them to see themselves as something other than a part of that cultural context into which they were born. If that happens, the culture cannot perpetuate itself and goes out of existence. That’s understood to be a mechanism of genocide. It is genocidal conduct under the law.
    And finally, those perpetrating genocide can prevent births within the group through involuntary sterilization or abortion. The word “involuntary” is what is at issue here. When the state imposes birth control as a matter of policy on targeted groups so they cannot conceive and/or reproduce themselves, with the ultimate intent that the group disappear, that is genocide.
    Now, particularly with the forced transfer of children-the boarding school process, blind and other adoptions-which was imposed throughout Indian Country during most of the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, you have genocidal conduct on the part of the federal government toward Indians. This was continued-and arguably it hasn’t really ended-in full force at least into the last generation, which is well after the atrocities visited upon the Jews, the Gypsies, the Slavs, the Poles, and everyone else considered to be untermensch (subhuman) by the nazis.”

  9. Jewish groups not helping to lobby for a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide is, at worst, simply realpolitik. It is not an issue which “helps” Jews or Israel. But actively lobbying against such a resolution shows selfishness and shortsightedness and is shameful.

  10. I, for one, am shocked and sickened. I understand Israel’s position, even if I don’t like it. And it would be one thing for Jews not to rock the boat on this issue in America (although that would be morally questionable). It is completely different to oppose the recognition of the Armenian genocide. How many times can we say “never again” before it becomes an insult to the memories of those who died. It is fundamentally wrong to oppose this resolution, and for a people with a collective memory of the worst genocide in history, a betrayal.

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