LA Councilmember Mitch Englander rescinds recognition certificate to Azerbaijani group
Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander (CD 12) has rescinded a certificate of recognition, which he sent to the recently-formed California Azerbaijan Friendship Association. This follows a meeting with representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America North San Fernando Valley chapter earlier this month.
The ANCA representatives, who met with Englander in his district office on March 1, expressed their dismay that he had sent a “Certificate of Recognition” to an organization that represents a nation that is hostile toward Armenia as well as the Armenian Diaspora.
Councilmember Englander was very apologetic regarding this matter. In addition to his apology, Councilmember Englander promised to send a letter to CAFA rescinding his certificate. The ANCA North San Fernando Valley Chapter has received a copy of the letter that the Councilmember sent to CAFA.
“We get hundreds of requests for certificates and in this case, a junior member of my staff generated this particular one without my approval,” explained Englander in his letter to CAFA.
“As a member of the Los Angeles City Council, I go out of my way to support all communities of Los Angeles and to maintain strong relationships with all of our residents to the fullest of my abilities, and so does my staff. When it comes to relationships with foreign governments, however, my conscience demands a higher level of scrutiny. In this case, I have deep concerns about the continuing pattern of human rights violations and corruption by the authoritarian regime in the Republic of Azerbaijan, and especially about the regime’s threats of war and violence against its neighbors in Armenia and Artsakh,” Englander told the Azerbaijani organization.
Englander told the ANCA representatives that he will watch the documentary, “Architects of Denial,” which describes the atrocities committed by Turkey and Azerbaijan against Armenia and will co-host a public viewing of the documentary. He also agreed to speak at an Armenian Genocide commemoration event to be held at the North San Fernando Valley Armenian Center on April 20.
The meeting ended on a friendly note and the ANCA-WR was gratified that the Councilmember was so receptive to its concerns. Councilmember Englander has had a long and friendly relationship with the local Armenian community and the ANCA-WR in particular. Everyone who attended the meeting was satisfied with the result.
In attendance at the meeting were representatives of the ANCA North San Fernando Valley Local Board Kevin Boyadjian, Nichan Kulukian, and Greg Mazmanian as well as ANCA-WR’s Government Relations Coordinator Serob Abrahamian.