Place for Undeserved Credit
On August 14th, Watertown severed ties with No Place for Hate and its
sponsor, the Anti-Defamation League
aftermath, the ADL has waged a relentless and disingenuous damage control campaign . Indeed, the edict to stop the bleeding has been
heard round the world. Ambassadors have cut short vacations. Ministers
and diplomats have convened special sessions. All of them
trying to decipher the following statement issued by Abraham Foxman:
“We have never negated but have always described the painful
events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians
as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share
the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions
were indeed tantamount to genocide.”
response to this statement has been mixed. Some outlets
are simply giving the ADL undeserved credit for recognizing the
Armenian Genocide . Other reporters have fixated on the phrase “tantamount
to genocide”; questioning if the statement falls short of full
recognition. However, no one seems to be keying in on the real operative
phrase; that being “consequences of those actions”. Allow
me to explain.
to the UN Genocide Treaty, “intent” to destroy
is requisite for genocide. It has been Turkey’s longstanding
position that while people were killed on both sides, no one intended
to destroy the Armenians. Hence, whatever the result, it was not genocide.
Foxman’s use of the word “consequences” leaves
open the question of “intent”. Therefore, his statement is “tantamount” to
paraphrasing Turkey’s own genocide denial.
Subsequent statements by the ADL leader also lead me to believe that
this feigned epiphany is nothing more than damage control.
leading daily reported the following on Aug. 22nd:
said that for some time he has privately believed that the mass killings
constituted a genocide, but thought that describing them as atrocities
or massacres was enough. Yesterday, he said, he realized this description
was dividing the Jewish community and the ADL changed its position.
if that word [genocide] brings the community together, that's fine,"
Translation: We will use the word genocide simply to shut up our critics!
It only gets worse for Foxman when you read the international coverage
of the story.
news source “The New Anatolian” (8/24/07)
Foxman sent an apologetic letter to the Turkish Premier. In said letter,
Foxman practically prostrated himself, in an effort to minimize the so-called
shift in position.
“We have utmost respect for you and the Turkish
people. We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders
in a difficult position. I am writing this letter to you to express our
sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey
in the past few days," .
Amazingly, Foxman felt an overwhelming need to apologize to Turkey.
Yet, he offers the Armenians no apology for decades of genocide
denial. Instead, Foxman only issues carefully parsed statements, which
he hopes will allow him to straddle the fence.
Reading further on in this same article, we discover this interesting
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that the
American-Jewish lobby had corrected its "mistake" by sending
the new letter, saying that the ADL shared Turkey's sensitivities over
What “mistake” were the Turks referring to and how exactly
did Foxman’s letter correct it? Did the ADL say: We were
for genocide denial, before we were against it. (But we’re actually
still really for it.)
time for the ADL to stop the wordplay and answer this question, yes
or no. Was it a genocide by the accepted United Nations definition
of the word?
when considering ADL sponsored programs, there are also other serious
concerns to be weighed. These were briefly mentioned during
Watertown’s Council Meeting. According to Merri Najimi, an Arab
American Activist, the ADL paid for illegal surveillance's of over 950
groups and nearly 10,000 activists. Among these groups, Najimi claims,
were the NAACP, the ACLU, and the United Auto Workers.
went on to say:
“…In 1999 Federal Judge Richard
Paez issued an injunction permanently enjoining ADL from engaging in
further illegal spying….”
In the light of this disconcerting information, other communities must
now ask themselves the same question Watertown asked. Is the ADL a suitable
partner and an appropriate sponsor for programs such as No Place for
John DiMascio is a regular columnist for the Watertown TAB and Press
and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government