Genocide ‘Widely Recognized In Israel,’ Says Israeli Minister

Israel's Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein visit Dzidzernagapert Friday

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey are widely recognized as genocide in Israel, an Israeli cabinet minister said after visiting the genocide memorial in Yerevan on Friday.

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein also drew parallels between the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.

“True, there is no state law [in Israel recognizing the genocide,]” Edelstein told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But I think that in Israel, in view of … our common history and some similar elements and moments, you will hardly find people who will deny the genocide, who will say, like we unfortunately hear, that all this is fabrications and lies.”

“So I think that unfortunately — I stress, unfortunately — in this area our peoples have quite a lot in common, quite a lot for mutual understanding,” he said.

Citing the strategic character of Israel’s relationship with Turkey, successive Israeli governments have resisted domestic calls for Armenian genocide recognition. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official reaffirmed this stance during landmark hearings on the issue that were organized by an Israeli parliament committee last December.

Support for Armenian genocide recognition appears to have grown within the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and the government since 2010. Some observers link that to Israel’s worsened relations with Turkey, which vehemently denies the genocide.

Israel’s Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, publicly called for the Jewish state to “formally recognize the Holocaust perpetrated against the Armenian people” during further Knesset discussions on the sensitive issue in June. Erdan acknowledged that the Israeli government has not changed its policy yet.

Edelstein, who is also a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, laid a wreathe at the genocide memorial on Yerevan’s Dzidzernagapert memorial during what was the second trip to Armenia by an Israeli government member in four months. Agriculture Minister Orit Noked visited Yerevan and paid her respects to genocide victims in April.

Edelstein arrived in Armenia to attend, together with Armenian Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosian, an event marking the 20th anniversary of an organization representing the country’s small Jewish community. He also held separate talks with Poghosian.

“When it comes to cultural exchanges, there are benefits to both sides involved,” Edelstein told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “That is why I hope this is not just a visit but perhaps also a change to some different phase in at least cultural ties between us.”

“I am sure that such meetings and contacts will continue and we will turn our relations from being just good and normal to relations that will fully realize the potential for cooperation between our countries,” added the Ukrainian-born minister.

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35 Comments

  1. Hratch said:

    If that is the litmus test, then we can also say that it is widely accepted in the US as well. But that is not going to change anything. Official recognition and then putting muscle behind the decision is all that matters.

  2. Levon said:

    Pardon me Minister Edelstein but we Armenians don’t have much in common with a people who allow their government to cower behind a morally bankrupt policy of genocide denial that sanctions complicity with perpetrators for political and economic favours. Your attempt to console us with petty platitudes of solidarity are meaningless without legal action.

    “Mutual understanding” begins with the facts. When Israeli officials grow some balls and draft laws that are based on those facts and unanimously pass those laws in the legislature then we will take you and what your government have to say more seriously. Until then don’t waste our communities time.

  3. Hrant K. said:

    Hope is that thing inside us that insists, that something better awaits us if we have the courage
    to reach for it! If you see the Lion’s teeth, it does not mean, that it’s smiling…! Beware of Crocodile
    tears! Armenia has 2 competing neighbors: One, that has been the Strategic Partner of Israel since
    1948, but has changed since the rise of the AKP leadership, the second is its historic ally, but has
    changed to an Archenemy since 1989..! Turkey is becoming very disturbing to Israel in the African Continent,
    especially in countries of Islamic background, where there are also a lot of precious natural and fundamental
    strategic recources. Iran on the other hand is threatening the very existence of the Jewish State, through firey
    rhetoric, and by its drive to acquire weapons of MD!It is imperative, that we Armenians should be keen to open our minds, eyes and ears before opening our mouth…! Observing, judging and not putting all of our eggs in one basket, is one of the options we should highly consider…!

  4. Hrant K. said:

    There are no similarities between the Arm. Genocide and the Shoah, except in the human suffering part!
    The Armenians were driven out of their Millenia Old Homeland, whereas the Jewish people of Europe
    and elsewhere were granted a Homeland (after “Waiting for 2 Millenia”…!)

  5. Alex said:

    Did he forget to mention how Jewish lobbying groups in US took for decades money from republic of turkey for denying the genocide in the US. Reminding that it will not only hurt the relations with turkey, but also Israel to every president of US. Now because of the flotilla incident they say these things. How about Israel selling weapon to azeri’s, who say they will use those weapons only against Armenians, and not Iran. Imagine Armenians selling weapons to Palestine and Lebanon and Syria and those countries leaders say we will only use it against Israel. Israeli and Armenian relation are purely for $$$, and nothing more, in fact i believe they strongly dislike Armenians as nation, people, and culture.

    If you want Armenians to have good relation:
    1. Recognize the Armenian Genocide and build a memorial in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
    2. Formally force every Jewish lobby in the world that helped Turks to deny the Armenian Genocide to apologize and build monument to Armenian victim where they are headquartered and have the formal apology in stone by the memorial.
    3. Actually improve your tie with Armenia and not give excuses for this and that.
    4. Visa free travel between countries, after all part of Jerusalem has been Armenian for almost 2,000 years.

  6. Shant Melkonian said:

    What a joke! I can’t LIKE this really. If HYPOCRISY was an Olympic event… WOW! USA, Israel & Turkey would share Gold, Silver as well as bronze… Their anthems would have to be played SIMULTANEAOUSLT!!! Ouch… Would sound like heavy metal played backwards.

    All three have used our [great suffering] as a tool against each other in every politically opportune moment. Quite laughable… Enough to make Armenian blood boil…

  7. Zareh said:

    Mr. Edelstein, Where is the beef? like that old lady said in the burger commercial.

  8. Zareh said:

    “widely recognized” is like saying my wife is a little bit pregnant.
    Just imagine if Armenia said the Jewish Holocaust is widely recognized in Armenia but the government of Armenia does not recognize the Holocaust.

  9. AraK said:

    Enough of this BS! Either jews should recognize our genocide OFFICIALLY or they should shut the f*ck up!
    Even taking us for idiots has its limits!!!

    • Hrant K. said:

      Raffi, let them take the “giant leap for mankind”(like Doct. Charny and Mr. Sarid) instead of a small step for man (widely recognized baloony)!!!

      • Hrant K. said:

        Tribute to our late Neil Armstrong and our 14 adorable scientists, heroes of the Mars Curiosity Project Participants ! We should depend exclusively on our own capabilities. Help from honest friends won’t hurt too!!!

  10. Avetis said:

    This is considered political management for the Israelis/Jews. They want to have at least some leverage with Yerevan in talks about Iran and other matters related to Israel’s security. But political maneuverings such as this is enough to melt the hearts of significant numbers of our ever-naive compatriots…

    Political West, Turkey, Israel/Jews, Georgia, Azerbaijan = proven enemies of Armenia

    Russia, Iran = proven allies

  11. MIHRAN DURGERIAN said:

    I do realose ISRAEL is playing politics out of her own will however the ISRAELI cabinet needs or must make a CLEAN ANS STARIAUGHT FORWARD STATEMENT ONCE AND FOR ALL IN ORDER TO GAIN ARMENIANS SUPPORT WORLDWIDE IF IT IS AT ALL IMPORTANT FOR THE STATE OF ISRAEL …pleasant and friendly statements in a covert fashion can’t satisfy any armenian particularly ARMENIA’S govemnet..SO UNTULL THAN ARMENIANS NEED TO WAIT AND EXPECT THE CHANGE!…

  12. Zareh said:

    Mr. Edelstein,
    Your government claims to be the ONLY democracy in the Middle East. In a true democracy the government should represent the wishes of the “widely recognized” Genocide of the Armenians. As long as your government denies the Genocide your government’s claims of “the only democracy” in the Middle East is false, fabricated and deceiving.

  13. Albert said:

    There are two very moral Israelis by the name of Dr.Israel Charney and Mr. Yossi Sarid who have tried to convince the Israeli government to accept the Genocide. Mr Sarid who was an Israeli politician wrote an incredible editorial in Haaretz where he outlined the reasons why Israel does not want to recognize the Armenian Genocide. One of the reasons is that it takes away from the so called”uniqueness of the Holocaust and Jewish suffering” because this has alot of propaganda value. You should read the work of Norman Finkelstein called the Holocaust Industry and how the holocaust has been used as an excuse for the horrible human rights crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians and other Arabs. Other great Jewish critics include Dr.Noam Chomsky who criticize Israel’s racism. Recently Jewish gangs have increased in Israel who have beaten several Palestinians to death for no reason.

  14. Taline said:

    I have a question. Have any Arab or Muslim countries acknowledged our genocide officially?

    • Hrant K. said:

      Taline, yes the Lebanese Parliament has recognized the Arm. Genocide in 1994!

  15. Parsik said:

    what a sad picture, it shows that how dirty is politics and to what extend ruling parties in both countries will go to put up a show and play around with our feelings just to stay on power just a little bit longer in their own respective countries, I personally think Armenian leaders are playing with fire are going beserk probably caused by these days common Bentley fever!

  16. Bob said:

    Armenians…always trying to get others to do their work! If you want Turkish land so much, come and try to take it! In other words…MAKE OUR DAY!!!

    • Avery said:

      Keep on hallucinating, Turk-oglu ‘Bob’.

      We Armenians will sit back and watch Kurds chase TSK out of Western Armenia.
      Then we’ll make a deal Kurds. And don’t hold your breath about Armenia attacking Turkey: we are quite a bit smarter than your Turkish Dept of misEducation has taught ignoramuses like you.

      And about your boast….”MAKE OUR DAY!!!” (wow: all caps, and three exclamation marks; we are duly impressed): your cousins East of RoA made the same boast not too long ago. Artsakh’s Armenian Mountain Warriors crushed the AzeriTatarTurk invaders. The KIA ratio was 5-to-1, in Armenians’ favour: 35,000 invaders were permanently retired from life – courtesy of NKR military. Sultan Heydar Aliyev was on the phone every day in early 1994, begging Moscow to stop NKR tank columns from racing to Baku.

      And I’ll make the same offer to you, Turk-oglu ‘Bob': Go ahead, invade Armenia – like you guys threatened to do in 1993: make Our day.

    • MIHRAN DURGERIAN said:

      It seems you know your history well you also should know the knivelness of the turkish policies how did turkey acqiuered western armenian land…turkey has exsausted all venues it has possessed since world war one they were than available for turkey’s interests….don’t rush yourself into convinient conclusiuons wait a bit to see a complete change before being too much disapointed my dear BOBY!….we realy want to make you very very happy….

    • Fred said:

      World War III is comming. Your day is not far away. You have made a lot of enemies. Greese, Armenia, Kurdestan, siprus, Israel, Iran, Russia, The whole of Europe, the Arab world. And you did all that by being Barbarians. When the warld war III comes. We will show you how to be Barbarian. Anatolia will be clensed of all barbarians by an act of sheer barbarism.

  17. Garegin Manasraian said:

    Israel MUST validate it ONLY by a legal resolution approval.

  18. Krikor said:

    We , Armenians want to see FACTS no Words. Words are cheap.
    Israel should be the first country to recognize the Genocide

  19. RS said:

    Israel has no scrupples for appeasing to Turkey, as far as I’m concerned they’re denying the genocide.

  20. Arten said:

    Can anybody imagine the response if Armenia was to dare question the Holocaust, and call it incomparable to our suffering? We’d be condemned the world over, have trade imbargos placed on us, and have to publicly apologize at the steps of the Knesset and build a synagogue in place of a church in the center of Yerevan as punishment for our insensitivity. Israel’s double standard makes one sick and I have long given up on showing them any sympathy. The Jewish state should have been the first to recognize the genocide, but instead they spit on the graves of the perished by using it as a political tool. I encourage everyone to give them the same treatment and turn off the television every time yet another Holocaust documentary comes on. One must be blind to think that we are any way similar. We are above using our ancestors suffering as chains to keep the international community dancing to our tune, we just want justice to be served, not to bleed the current Turkish state dry like Israel is doing to Germany right now. Even though God knows the Turks deserve it moreso than the apologetic Germans.

  21. Arziv said:

    Too much talk and hyperbolic verbosity. Too many visits by Jew officials to little and unimportant Armenia. Cui bono? What are these visits for ? How does it benefit Armenia ? Israel is a stalwart ally of azerbaijan, supplying her with arms, technology and war materiel; it also supports Azerbaijan in international forums. What business have they got now in Armenia ?. We don’t have oil, neither is Armenia fertile ground for the illegal immigration industry. If Israel-USA launch an attack on Iran, poor Armenia; we’ll be hit with immesurable direct consequences. It will be a memorably moral , symbolic and honorable day when Israel recognizes the genocide; then the USA can follow suit. But let’s not hold our breath. Politics is about politics and national interests, not morality.

  22. Arman said:

    Have Jewish radicals stopped spitting on Armenian priests in the streets of Jerusalem?? I haven’t heard of those spitting outrages in some time. I wish the international media would expose how some ultra-conservative Jews were intolerant and used to spit on Armenian priests who wore a cross over their black robes!!

  23. German_in_Yerevan said:

    Some naive Armenians have fallen victim to this latest Israel scam and believe that Israel will formally recognize the genocide.

    My grandmother used to say: “If you go to sleep with dogs expect to wake up with fleas”!

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