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No Place for Undeserved Credit

On August 14th, Watertown severed ties with No Place for Hate and its sponsor, the Anti-Defamation League

In the 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.”

The media 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.

According 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.

Boston’s leading daily reported the following on Aug. 22nd:

“Foxman 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.

“So 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.

The Turkish news source “The New Anatolian”  (8/24/07) reported that
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.

Foxman writes:

“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 tidbit.

“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 the issue”.

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.)

It’s 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?

Finally, 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.

Najimi 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 Hate?

John DiMascio

John DiMascio is a regular columnist for the Watertown TAB and Press and can be reached at irevbacon@worlnet.att.net

Communications Director
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government



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