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No Place For Counterfeit Tolerance
Common Sense

In the light of recent revelations, it has become abundantly clear that Watertown would be better off were it not ensnared in the “No Place to Hate” quagmire. The current controversy has done nothing but (ironically) cause division; threaten, if not encroach upon, free speech; and in general become a distracting nuisance. In short, it is exactly the kind of phony feel-good twaddle that our municipal government has no business getting involved in.

But alas, the die has been cast. We find ourselves in bed with Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti Defamation League and Armenian genocide denier extraordinaire.

Despite this sad truth, Tab Editor - Chris Helms - advises us not to “throw out the baby with the bath water”. He adds: “when our friends disappoint us, the solution isn’t to stop being friends”.

Wow! I’m completely awe-struck by my editor’s Solomonic wisdom. Why, his argument is truly a Socratic wonder! Rivaled only by the “alternative logic” recently articulated by our Council President!!

First of all, ya just gotta wonder: Has Chris Helms listened to a few too many Grateful Dead records? He sure seems to be singing their ‘psychedelic hit’: “A Friend of the Devil is a Friend of Mine”.

Secondly, any “friend” who denies the Armenian genocide is no “friend” of Watertown and should be no “friend” of yours—Mr. Helms! You might ask yourself if over indulgence in mainstream media Kool Aid has induced this biased absolution.

Watertown has no choice but to extricate itself from “No Place to Hate”. How can Watertown --of all places-- remain associated with a genocide denier, no matter how remote the connection?

The ADL’s collaboration in Turkey’s genocide denial is not simply a matter of hypocrisy by the national organization. Local “No Place to Hate” committees (ADL ancillaries) stand equally in contempt because they have not withdrawn their affiliation and or demanded Foxman’s dismissal.

Foxman’s actions are a vile repudiation of the very principles the ADL claims to advocate. They damage the ADL’s credibility, stripping it of any moral authority. More importantly, “No Place to Hate” now appears to be nothing more than counterfeit tolerance based on selective indignation.

Local sponsors claim they are not participants in the ADL’s genocide denial. Ok, fair enough. Why didn’t they immediately inform us? Instead, they allowed the Council to reaffirm “No Place to Hate” unaware of Foxman’s treachery! If they didn’t know beforehand, will they now publicly condemn Foxman? Demand his immediate termination? Sever any and all ties with the ADL until he’s removed and repudiated?

As for Watertown, our continued participation (in “No Place to Hate”) would amount to nothing less than a tacit approval of the Armenian genocide and it’s subsequent denial.

Our town has always been a welcoming community. Just look at the diversity that occurred here naturally. We didn’t need ADL social engineers or a federal mandate. And we don’t need a silly sign stating the obvious or programs sponsored by organizations that have dubious agendas!

If we insist on affirming what is already clearly evident, why not craft our own proclamation of fraternal love? We can design our own silly sign, with our own catchy slogan. Heck, we all know Kumbaya. We can certainly sing it without the discordant virtuoso Abraham Foxman, leading his phony feel-good orchestra.

Why should we continue to associate with an organization that, by duplicitous leadership, denies the Armenian genocide?

Not only should Watertown withdraw from the program, we should take a page from the activist handbook. Why not urge other communities to boycott the “No Place to Hate” until the ADL removes Foxman? By doing so, we could help restore the ADL’s integrity and truly be able to say that Watertown condemns hatred in all its forms.

Watertown’s residents did not ask to be ensnared in this quagmire. We, rather I might say, the Council was hoodwinked. That’s what happens when the Council gets embroiled with inane gestures that have little if anything to do with municipal governance.

This controversy should serve as a lesson. Watertown’s municipal government exists to govern the town. The Council should limit its activity to pressing matters such as the budget, the town’s infrastructure, and future development. It has limited time and resources, and can ill afford to waste them on feel-good proclamations, social engineering, idiotic signs, and politically correct pandering.

Unfortunately, having fallen into a trap, the Council has every moral obligation to act forthwith to rectify the situation. The citizens of Watertown should give them no rest until they do!

We owe no less to the multitude of Armenians that fled persecution to legally settle in Watertown. We owe no less to ourselves as a loving and welcoming community.

John DiMascio

Communications Director
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government

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