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Israel And The Armenian Question

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Even as American Jewish groups were championing the Armenian Genocide Resolution, lobbyists from Turkey and Israel relentlessly pressured members of the U.S. House of Representatives to squelch the symbolic bill, which was tabled late last week by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Israel’s state policy of Armenian Genocide denial, and its fevered efforts to coerce Pelosi to back off bringing HR 106 to a floor vote, prompted many of Israel’s Armenian citizens – roughly 5,000 Christians and 20,000 Jews - to take to the streets in protest (second item).

Unlike Turkey, which prosecutes its citizens for writing about or otherwise acknowledging the Armenian Genocide as settled history, Israel’s media practiced self-censorship, reports The Christian Science Monitor:

With Israel's strategic relationship with Turkey in mind, the Armenian question has become an untouchable topic. The protest went virtually uncovered by most of the local media and got noticed by foreign papers only.

And Israel’s government took a page from the Ahmadinejad Handbook Of Holocaust Denial:

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[Turkey's ambassador to Israel, Namik] Tan says there is no proof to support the genocide claims and reiterated what he says is a longstanding offer to bring Turkish and Armenian historians together to study the issue.

That, says George Hintlian, historian of the Armenian community of Jerusalem, is not an option.

"For us," he says, "it's like sitting with David Irving," a self-styled British historian famous for questioning facts surrounding the Holocaust. "Do you sit with deniers?" …

"I think the totality of the Israeli public and the press sympathizes with us, but this double-standard is so embarrassing for Israeli intellectuals that it's hard for anyone here to speak about it. We have a psychological burden for the next generation. The American-Jewish community is saying that this stain should be taken away from the people of the Holocaust, but Israel is acting pragmatically."

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Ironically, as Israel curries favor with the Turks it risks losing the once-unquestioned support of the American Jewish community, some of whom are worrying whether they are losing their souls by sacrificing their principles on the alter of pragmatism. The Forward interviewed a member of Anti-Defamation League’s national executive committee who was concerned that the ADL could no longer be counted on to "stand up for what’s right and wrong," and dared to ask: "[A]re our principles put through some kind of filter that involves Israel’s self-interest?"

Note: The Anti-Defamation League’s National Meeting is being held Nov. 1st though Nov. 3rd. Jewcy and No Place for Denial are joining forces to rally in front of the group’s headquarters (605 Third Avenue, at 39th Street) to "urge the ADL National Meeting to take a moral stand against genocide denial." The rally is on Thursday, November 1st from 7 to 8:30 PM. Be there or be square – oh, and bring your own signs.


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Victoria Knox (AKA The Stiletto) blogs about politics and ... you name it, since these days everything has become politicized..

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