Nouvelles d'Armenie    
BU prof condemns ADL stance on Armenian Genocide

Here is a letter to the editor we’ve just received (and confirmed) from Dr. Michael Siegel of Boston University. It’s addressed to the head of the local Anti-Defamation League.

Dear Mr. Tarsy :

As a long-time ADL supporter, it is with great disappointment that I write you today to express my disgust with your organization’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and in particular, your July 26 response to the recent controversy in Watertown, in which you refused to acknowledge the genocide, and instead, stated that the question of whether a genocide occurred : ” was one to be resolved between the two countries - Armenia and Turkey.”

Can you imagine if an organization gave a similar response to a question about whether a Holocaust occured, killing 6 million Jews ? Can you imagine what we would say if an organization refused to acknowledge that the Holocaust occurred, instead stating that this is an issue that needs to be resolved between Israel and Germany ?

And can you imagine if an organization gave a response similar to that given by ADL president Abraham Foxman’s answer to a question about why the ADL did not support Congressional action to recognize the Armenian genocide : “The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn’t be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress.” Can you imagine if an Armenian organization refused to recognize our Holocaust and tried to block government recognition of the Holocaust, evading the question by stating : “The Jews and Germans need to revisit their past. The Armenian community shouldn’t be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress.”

I’m afraid that for groups which deny the Holocaust, more than just historical indifference or ignorance is at the heart of that denial. What you and I both know is at the heart of Holocaust denial is anti-semitism and hatred. Unfortunately, the Anti-Defamation League’s refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide smacks of the same, or at least it leaves that impression. Is this truly how the ADL wants to portray itself ? Not only is the group alienating its non-Jewish allies, but many Jewish supporters, like myself, cannot act too quickly to distance ourself from the organization in light of these hateful and hurtful comments.

Genocide denial is precisely the opposite of what the ADL is supposed to stand for. Ironically, by refusing to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and by having the gall to do so in front of a community made up of a large number of Armenians, the ADL is demonstrating or introducing hatred, rather then keeping hate out of Watertown.

Because the ADL’s statements, actions, and position are so starkly in contrast with the mission of Watertown’s No Place for Hate organization, I have no choice but to call for the organization to sever its ties with the ADL, and to re-organize under another name but without the ADL affiliation. I would certainly hope that you will reconsider your position and publicly acknowledge the Armenenian genocide and apologize to the Armenian community in Watertown so that such an embarrassment is not necessary.

Just as there is no place for Holocaust denial and the underlying hatred associated with it, there is no place for denial of the Armenian genocide. If anyone understands the implications of genocide denial, shouldn’t it be the ADL ? Shouldn’t it be us Jews ?

Michael Siegel, MD, MPH


Associate Chair of Academics

Social and Behavioral Sciences Department

Boston University School of Public Health

samedi 24 novembre 2007,
Stéphane ©

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