Schiff Responds to Armenia’s Exclusion from Holocaust Conference

PASADENA–Senator Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) has joined the Armenian-American community in urging the US representative to the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust to protest Armenia’s exclusion from the conference–taking place this week in Sweden.

In a January 26 letter to Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat–Senator Schiff expressed his concern regarding the reasons for Armenia’s exclusion and stressed the importance of Armenia’s participation in the conference–in terms of offering valuable historical experience and scholarship on the subject of genocide. Senator Schiff firmly believes that as victims of the first genocide of the 20th century–Armenia’s have a great deal to offer this multinational dialogue on the subject.

The following is the text of Senator Schiff’s letter to Deputy Treasury Secretary Eizenstat:

Dear Deputy Secretary Eizenstat:

I am writing to urge you–as a US representative to the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust–taking place this week in Sweden–to formally and publicly protest Armenia’s exclusion from this gathering.

I am deeply troubled by the fact that out of the forty-five countries invited to this conference–Armenia was excluded. As victims of the first genocide of the 20th century–Armenia’s have a great deal to offer this gathering–in terms of historical experience and scholarship on genocide and its lasting impact. Armenia’s input and participation would be invaluable and consistent with the goals of this conference–aimed at providing a forum for dialogue and reaching a mutual understanding in the commitment to educating future generations about one of the most heinous crimes of modern times–the Holocaust.

It is my sincere hope that Armenia’s exclusion was an unfortunate oversight and not an intentional omission in an effort to appease those who would stop at nothing to deny or revise the record on the Armenian Genocide. As the representative of the largest Armenian constituency outside of Armenia–I am well aware of the efforts by the government of Turkey to call into question the historical accuracy of the genocide and its continuous attempts to compromise the academic integrity of our institutions of higher learning with respect to the teaching of the Armenian Genocide.

An examination of Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide provides useful insights into the anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi campaigns to rewrite the history of the Holocaust. As a matter of fact–the academic adviser to the conference–Professor Yehuda Bauer from the International Center for Holocaust Studies Yad Vashem in Jerusalem–was among some 100 prominent scholars and writers–who voiced their outrage at the practice of historical revisionism and denial of the Armenian Genocide at a program financed by the Turkish government at Princeton University.

The Armenian Genocide was a precedent for the Holocaust. In fact–when planning the Holocaust–Hitler asked–"After all–who today still speaks of the Armenia’s?" This quote by the architect of the Holocaust is prominently displayed in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum–and serves as a chilling reminder of the failure to learn from the past. In excluding Armenia from this highly important conference on the Holocaust–participants will not have the benefit of learning from the lessons of the Armenian Genocide.

The United States played an important role in protesting the Armenian Genocide while it was taking place and helped provide relief and refuge to its survivors. It is incumbent upon us as a nation to take the leadership once again in protesting any and all attempts at omitting–excluding–or revising the historical record on the Armenian Genocide–in a sincere effort to learn from the past and teach future generations the horror of the crime of genocide as a way to eradicate it for all of humanity.

Sincerely,

Adam Schiff

State Senator-21st District

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