Jews Must Be First to Recognize Genocide, Israeli Historian Says


Writer Yair Auron and ex-member of parliament Yair Tzaban

YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Wednesday received Yair Auron, an Israeli historian and specialist on genocide studies. The Armenian version of his book, The Banality of Indifference, which is based on extensive research using material from historical archives, was recently presented in Yerevan. Also present at the meeting was former member of the Knesset, and former Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Yair Tzaban.

President Serzh Sarkisian extended his congratulations on the publication of the Armenian version of The Banality of Indifference and expressed gratitude to Yair Auron for his invaluable work and efforts. The President of Armenia underscored that many Jewish intellectuals have been standing side by side with the Armenian nation, sharing the Armenian people’s grief and tragedy, and taking interest in their nation’s problems. Serzh Sarkisian noted that it would be hard to name one by one all those Jewish intellectuals who have spoken about the Armenian Genocide and said that the modern Israeli historian Yair Auron with his significant work is one of them.

Yair Auron thanked the President of Armenia for his warm words and for the affection and appreciation showed to him by the Armenian public during the days of his visit. He said that all this gives him a new impetus to carry on with his struggle. The Israeli historian underscored that he shares the pain of Armenians, first because of the genocide his nation was subjected to and, second, for the policy of apathy and complacence manifested toward that despicable crime. He said that he and a number of progressive Jewish intellectuals are fighting against such policies. According to Yair Auron, the Jews must be the first to recognize the Armenian Genocide. He noted that in recent years, there has been a considerable change of attitude in his country’s civil society and expressed hope that it will come to influence current policies.

In his book, historian Yair Auron documents the situation of two national minorities – the Armenians and the Jews – in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. The book discusses political forces, a complicated balance of morals and pragmatism, and analyzes the attitude of the Jewish community of Palestine and leaders of the Zionist movement toward the Armenian Genocide.

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