Knesset Speaker: ‘Recognizing Armenian Genocide is a Moral Imperative for Jews’

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein


BY LAHAV HARKOV
From The Jerusalem Post

Edelstein maintains discussion does not blame any modern country, but shows Israel identifies with victims of massacre.

As Jews, we must recognize the suffering of the Armenian people, even if we do not blame anyone, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday at a plenum discussion of the Armenian Genocide.

In response to a motion to the agenda by [Member of Knesset] Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), Edelstein said “this discussion does not blame any modern country, rather it shows that we identify with the victims of the massacre and its terrible outcome.

“We are not placing blame; we are acting like Jews and being faithful to the truth and the suffering of another people,” Edelstein added. “We cannot deny history and hold back human values out of diplomatic or political caution.”

Gal-On called for the government to recognize the Armenian Genocide before its 100th anniversary next year.

“The government should sacrifice the recognition in the name of temporary interests,” she said. “Every time there’s a different diplomatic situation. When we’re for relations with Turkey, we don’t recognize the Genocide and then there’s the Marmara [Turkish flotilla ship to Gaza] and we change our mind.”

The Meretz leader pointed out that many members of Knesset are children of Holocaust survivors.

“As a nation that experienced the Holocaust, we cannot continue to ignore the Armenian Genocide because of irrelevant considerations,” she stated.

According to Member of Knesset Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu), the Jewish People were “next in line” after the Armenians to be killed.

“Whoever thought of the Final Solution got the impression that, when the day comes, the world will be silent, like it was about the Armenians. It is hard for me to forgive other nations for ignoring our tragedy and we cannot ignore another nation’s tragedy. That is our moral obligation as people and Jews,” Rivlin said.

Rivlin said that a recent expression of regret from a Turkish official is connected to the fact that many countries, including Israel, refuse to ignore the Genocide.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau responded to the motion in Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s place, saying that as Jews and Israelis, there is a moral obligation to recognize human tragedies, including the Armenian Genocide.

“It is a good thing that the Knesset marks these tragedies. The State of Israel never denied what happened,” Landau stated.

However, the Tourism Minister said that in recent years the topic became a political one between Turkey and Armenia and each side is trying to prove it is right.

“We hope these two countries will authorize the agreement they signed several years ago and will continue to have an open, deep dialogue that will allow them to heal from the wounds that remained open for decades,” Landau said.

When the discussion ended, the motion was moved to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, as opposed to the Knesset Education Committee as Gal-On proposed.

Gal-On accused Liberman of sending Member of Knesset Shimon Ohayon (Likud Beytenu) to make sure the motion was moved to the classified committee in order to “bury” it.

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22 Comments

  1. Areg said:

    The time will show who will do what. Saying is one thing and doing it is another thing. Many have been buying time over and over again to kill the Armenian Cause but they will never accomplish that goal.

  2. Karnig said:

    Mr. Edelstein you should have recognized the Armenian Genocide the moment Israel became a Country.
    ‘ TOO LITTLE TOO LATE” you are sixty some years late.

  3. Ara said:

    Waffling verbiage and torrent of semantics. The Jews will not recognize the Turkish genocide. Least of all this scoundrel Avogadro Lieberman who is nurturing a grand plan to deport all Palestinians from Israel. Can not be expected from Lieberman to support a de jure recognition for an event and action which he intends implementating if given the opportunity.

  4. Vindicated Man said:

    Armenians recognized the Holocaust, but Israel… It keeps using the Genocide as a negotiations lever against Turkey. So pragmatic. And cynical, to say the least.

  5. Berge Jololian said:

    Yeah okay… we heard this several times before…

    stop playing games with genocide based on Israel’s politics de jour with Turkey.

    Knesset speaker Yuli Edelsteino should go speak to Abraham Foxman and his Anti-Defamation League, who openly deny the Armenia genocide to appease Turkey, calling it “consequence of World War 1 that led to tantamount genocide.”

    As Rabbi Hillel said (if Israel still remembers who he is), “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

  6. Sokimag said:

    It is good to see that some Jews are friendly towards us Armenians. We must remember this and not become anti-Semitic, because the Jews are not our enemies. A lot of you guys associate Jews with Turks, which is totally false. Jews are not Turks and Turks are not Jews. They are different.

    By befriending the Jews, we have more chance to isolate Turks from the others, but by becoming enemies of Jews, the Jews are more likely to side with Turks. I have made my choice and it is to become friends with Jews, so maybe in the future Jews will join us against Turkey.

    • Hratch said:

      It is not a matter of one being like the other, it’s all about self interest. The fact that Muslim Turkey with its 70+ million population is friendly with Israel says it all. Image having Turkey join Iran and others in the region opposing Israel. It would be a nightmare scenario for both the West and Israel. By pacifying Turkey, they have eliminated a major threat to their existence. And of course, in return Turkey gets to get away with all sorts of violations. No amount of Armenian, Kurdish or Greek tragedies can ever overcome Turkey’s friendly stand towards Israel. We were told for over 70 years that Turkey was important in the fight against Soviet expansion and that they needed to be armed and backed by NATO, but the truth is that Turkey’s sole purpose in the region was to protect Israel’s existence. In fact, Israel and Turkey have been cooperating militarily since the 1950s. Israeli air force pilots have routinely trained in the Anatolia plateau. So it’s not our attitude that is going to change the situation, it’s the reality on the ground that needs to shift in our favor. No amount of hugs and kisses will ever change anything if it’s against their national interests.

      • Sokimag said:

        You are absolutely right. Israel’s self interest lead it to Turkey. That’s true, I agree with that. Israel’s friendship with Turkey won’t be affected at all even if Armenia shows interest in having deeper relations with Israel, but at least Israel won’t be against Armenia if we show that we are not against them. They may be kinda friendly with us, but they would still show more interest in Turkey, because they really think they need Turkey.

        Israel thinks it has 2 very good reasons to maintain good relations with Turkey:

        1) Turkey acts as a buffer zone against Russian Imperialism for Israel and the West.

        2) Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries that doesn’t not want the destruction of Israel. Turkey can have a major impact on the neighboring muslim countries.

        Quite frankly, I’m not blaming Israel, because I can see the situation they are in. It is surrounded by hostile countries. Armenia is in a similar situation.

        But the thing is, Jews must be careful about the Turks, because the Turks can backstab them like they did to us in the 1915 Armenian genocide. Israel must really be careful with Turkey. It is very possible that Turkey betrays Israel.

        • edward demian said:

          Wake up ! Please, Turkey is already islamic, agressive, and will like a wounded snake, turn on Israel. Ask the average Turk what he thinks of Jews. Friends of the Jews? Huh.

        • edward demian said:

          Wake up ! Please, Turkey is already islamic, agressive, and will like a wounded snake, turn on Israel. Ask the average Turk what he thinks of Jews. Friends of the Jews? Huh.

      • Sokimag said:

        Oh and I must not forget! Public perception counts too. What I mean by that is Israel government can lean toward Turkey, but the common Jew doesn’t see it like that. We should not hate Jews, because Israel government does not represent the common Jew.

        But if we act anti-Semitic, the common Jew then realizes that we are not very friendly toward them, so they become enemies with us and support even more their government. That’s what I’m afraid may happen if too much Armenians become anti-Semitic. If we get the Jewish people friendship, we have much more chance to succeed in this world, especially the West.

    • Berge Jololian said:

      Yes, Sokimag – you are correct. However,

      Abraham Foxman and his Anti-Defamation League, who openly deny the Armenia genocide to appease Turkey, says that the Armenian genocide was a result “consequence of World War I that led to tantamount genocide.”

      To understand what Foxman’s ADL is saying, think of applying the same description to the Holocaust during War War II. Consequence is opposite of intent. To say that, there was no intention, means that it was not genocide, which contravenes the 1948 UN convention and definition of genocide, which requires the element of intent.

      You will see that ADL’s Abraham Foxman and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually have something in common. Both are genocide deniers.

      As Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

      Jurist Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent and Holocaust survivor, coined the word “genocide” and first applied it to describe the barbarity that befell the Armenians at the hands of the Turkish State.

      Dr. Lemkin explained that the Turks committed genocide with the full intent to annihilate. Lemkin explained, “I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times, first to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action.” – CBS News Interview 1949

      • Sokimag said:

        yes! It is very shameful what Abraham Foxman did. To be pro-Turk is one thing, to be anti-Armenian is another. He must not confuse them.

        I have no problem saying that the Holocaust did happen, because I understand how bad a genocide can be. We, Armenians, must condemn all genocides regardless of the ethnicity. You see, Berge, it is very important for us to speak against all genocides.

  7. Ruzanna said:

    Dear Yuli Edelstein thank you very much, you are a decent human being. We need more people like you on this planet. Thank you.

  8. Rita said:

    It is a moral obligation on Israel to recognize the genocide, how would they feel if Armenians denied the Holocaust? It is not enough for individuals to say so.

  9. Mabuballah said:

    If blame is not to be placed in the matter of the Armenian holocaust, then might one not be forgiven for failing to impute blame in that of Hitler’s death camps as well? (It is then but a small step to suggest that such events did not happen at all, but, if I may be permitted to rerun an already-overused quote of late, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”)

  10. NOVELIAN said:

    It is clear that Armenians do have a great deal of resentment with Israeli government’s stance on the Armenian Genocide. One would think of all the people… But I would not throw away the baby with the bath water! Jews as people have been more conscientious towards other peoples sufferings in general, (Ambassador Henry Morgenthau,Rafael Lemkin,Franz Werfel, to name a few) with the exception of their government regrettably, and some Ignorant American Jewish leaders. Jews are very much aware of our history, and our sufferings. Granted, the fact that “Holocaust” has become very commercialized, and they do not want any other similar atrocities to be compared to or take away, or somehow lessen the importance of their “holocaust”. They have done everything but register it as a Trade Mark. Is it any wonder that not one single meaningful, well directed Epic Movie never been made on the Armenian Genocide in Hollywood compared to hundreds of “holocaust” related ones? If anything, we should not reinvent the wheel, we should learn from their example and educate the ignorant ones.

      • Bedros said:

        Keep waiting, pray hope and dream in Justice……come on it is a joke the world does not work this way…we should stop begging and start by pretending ….stop crying but make our persecutors cries….stop respecting international laws but be respected by international laws and comunity, stop assuming defence position and pass to attack, stop fearing to tell the truth, ans espescially stop working for foreign interrests against our own. These are some of what made us loosers til now…

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