Truth is Stranger Than Fiction: Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan is an Armenian
By Harut Sassounian
When I first heard that Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek, is an Armenian, I thought that it can’t be true. However, I was astonished to find out that it was correct. As Mark Twain said: “Truth is stranger than fiction!”
Long before he became Israel’s Ambassador to Baku, Deek tweeted: “My father’s grandmother’s name was Antaraan Hambarian, an Armenian. She is a survivor of the Armenian tragedy of… http://fb.me/2WQnyz9Vu. 8:43 AM. Apr 12, 2015.”
The Facebook link Deek included in his tweet was significant because it referred to an April 12, 2015 article titled: “Turkey angry at pope after ‘genocide’ remarks.” So Deek was aware that there was an Armenian Genocide, his father’s grandmother was a survivor of that Genocide, and her name was Antaraan Hamparian, even though he misspelled her first name which was most probably Antaram.
After Deek became Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan in 2019, several Armenians angrily criticized him for referring to the Armenian Genocide as a ‘tragedy’ in his 2015 tweet. Here are some of the disparaging replies: “Will you survive the betrayal of your ancestors?” “She would be proud of you… serving two countries actively denying the very thing that robbed her of her own family,” “Probably she would be greatly ashamed of you,” “Your poor grandmother is turning in her grave, sorry you condone ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and genocide,” “I can’t believe you have Armenian roots! SHAME ON YOU 1,500,000 times then, for SUPPORTING TERRORISTS Azerbaijan and Turkey! IT’S A SHAME FOR US THAT YOU HAVE ARMENIAN BLOOD IN YOUR VEINS!” and “Your great grandmother will spit on your face if she would hear what you say!”
On Sept. 30, 2021, the ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America) posted on its Facebook page: “Most shameful diplomatic appointment in the history of diplomacy. Genocide survivor state Israel sending George Deek (a self-described ethnic Armenian descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors) as its ambassador to Azerbaijan, a country openly working to complete this crime.”
In July 2021, Deek angered Armenians again by tweeting: “Together with the diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan, I had the historic privilege of being the first Israeli Ambassador to visit the remarkable city of Shusha,” a noteworthy Armenian town captured by Azerbaijan during the 2020 war.
In an interview with The Times of Israel on January 13, 2023, Amb. Deek described himself as ‘an Arab and an Israeli.’ His father was an Orthodox Christian of mixed Armenian and Palestinian roots. Here is an excerpt from that interview:
The Times of Israel: “When you meet Azeris and they discover you’re an Arab Christian, what kind of reactions do you get?”
Amb. Deek: “Naturally, it’s surprising and confusing for most Azeris. The sense of surprise is great for helping me explain about the diversity of Israeli society. But frankly, at this point, I’ve stopped correcting them because it gets tiring. It’s still funny when on December 24, they still wish me a Happy Hanukkah rather than Merry Christmas.”
The Times of Israel: “As an Israeli Christian, what’s your perspective on the Armenian community — which consists mainly of fellow Israeli Christians — and the challenges they face in Israel, both in connection with the Jerusalem-Baku relationship and with other non-related issues?”
Amb. Deek: “I have deep sympathy for the Armenian community in Israel, and specifically in Jaffa, where I grew up. We share the same faith and many cultural traditions. Many of my friends from school and from youth movements are Armenian. I had teachers who influenced me immensely who are Armenian, and I consider them as close friends.”
On January 5, 2023, the Azeri Caliber.az website quoted Amb. Deek as declaring: “Israel is proposing its assistance to Azerbaijan in the setting up of ‘smart cities’ in Armenian districts occupied by Azerbaijan.”
On January 12, 2023, Amb. Deek was interviewed by Caliber.az on video which was titled, “Beyond the visible: Excavating the depths of Israeli-Azerbaijani ties with Ambassador George Deek.”
In that interview, Amb. Deek made the following alarming statement: “The most important event is when Azerbaijan entered the second Karabakh war and we [Israel] have been here standing shoulder to shoulder with our partner and friend Azerbaijan. Our strategic cooperation continued and intensified during that period but also on the humanitarian field. The fact that I took the risk to go to Ganja in the middle of the attacks on the city and to talk to the local community, to meet them, to provide humanitarian support with equipment like basic things from blankets and heaters and so on to people who lost their homes and everything they could. And I think that created also the connection in the hearts, not just in the minds, so I think the second Karabakh war showed Azerbaijan what we mean when we say friend, what we mean when we say partner. For us these are not empty words of diplomats…. These are things that come from the heart and they actually have a strong meaning for us…. Israel’s position has been clear about the Karabakh issue for a long time. Israel supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. It has done so in words and in deeds before the second Karabakh war and after the second Karabakh war.”
He also wrongly added that “practically, the Arab-Israeli conflict is basically over.” Amb. Deek not only does not have respect for his Armenian heritage, he also has no respect for his Palestinian heritage. He must have sold his soul to the devil for his job.
The most astounding aspect of Amb. Deek’s appointment is that Israel’s Foreign Ministry officials sent an envoy with an Armenian background to Azerbaijan! Despite Amb. Deek’s effusive words about Azerbaijan, I doubt if Pres. Aliyev and the people of Azerbaijan fully trust him. In Azerbaijan, they have nothing but hatred and contempt for any Armenian, even those who are partly Armenian.