ADL leader: massacre of Armenians was ‘unequivocally genocide’

ADL leader: massacre of Armenians was ‘unequivocally genocide’ –


The Boston Globe – The Anti-Defamation League said Friday that the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians that began in 1915 was “unequivocally genocide” and for the first time expressed support for US government recognition of the killings as a genocide.

The statement from ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt was posted on the organization’s website. It marked the strongest affirmation yet from the leading civil rights group in support of Armenian advocates, who have long pushed for formal recognition of what they contend was a genocide perpetrated by Turkish forces.

“What happened to the Armenian people was unequivocally genocide,” Greenblatt wrote. “We believe that remembering and educating about any genocide — Armenian, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, and others — is a necessary tool to prevent future tragedies. . . . That is why I am speaking out today and why we would support US recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”

The statement came after years of tension between the ADL and Armenian activists, who chafed at the organization’s prior reluctance to acknowledge the killings as genocide.

The measure calls on President Obama to work for “Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgment of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity.”

Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, said Greenblatt’s statement “is new in that it’s very explicit in breaking with [the Turkish government’s] denials.”

 While the ADL has never denied that a massacre took place, the organization said in 2007 that a similar congressional push was “counterproductive.”

The following year, the ADL’s then-national director, Abraham H. Foxman,said in a letter to an official in Watertown, which has a large Armenian population, that “we have referred to those massacres and atrocities as genocide.” Foxman also made explicit reference to the “Armenian genocide” during a speech in 2014.

On Friday, Robert Trestan, the ADL’s New England regional director, said Greenblatt’s statement was the “most unequivocal statement that we’ve ever issued,” and that the ADL and local Armenian community share an interest in educating the public about genocides to prevent future atrocities.

But Andrew H. Tarsy, former regional director of the ADL who split with the group over the issue, said Greenblatt’s statement was inadequate.

“I think they ought to lead the conversation about reparations for these families,” he said. “The recovery of assets, land, money, items, family heirlooms. Everything that Holocaust reparations . . . has represented should be on the table.”

Based in New England, The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” 

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