Charny Attacks Israel’s Genocide Denial Policy

JERUSALEM–Prof. Israel Charny–a noted scholar and historian–dispatched a letter Monday to Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Israel’s Ambassador to Armenia Rivka Cohen–among others–saying he is "deeply ashamed" of the position taken by Cohen and the foreign ministry "to deny the gencoide of the Armenian people."

Below is the text of the letter–which the Asbarez received via electronic mail:

To Ministry of Foreign Affairs–State of Israel
Shimon Peres–Foreign Minister
Michael Melchior–Deputy Foreign Minister
Rivka Cohen–Ambassador to Armenia
Armenian Desk

Dear Honored Minister–Deputy Minister–Ambassador– and Professional Staff at Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

As a Jew and Israeli–I am deeply ashamed of the position taken by our Ambassador and Ministry to deny that the genocide of the Armenian people in 1915 was in fact genocide.

This is the equivalent of denials of the Holocaust of our people.

Even in these very serious days of our national history–when the support of other countries such as neighboring Turkey is of great practical importance–I do not believe that historical/moral issues of recognizing respectfully and honorably the genocidal mass extermination of any people should be bypassed by any people–and in particular by our Jewish people.

I am enclosing with great concern for your attention an editorial in a leading US-Armenian newspaper calling on Armenia to expel the Israeli Ambassador. For your further information–the author of this editorial–who is the head of the Armenian United Fund in the US–comparable to our United Jewish Appeal–was for many years a delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

I am also enclosing for you a report dated February 28 that the European Union voted a second time urging Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

And I am enclosing for you a copy of a statement signed by 126 Holocaust scholars in 2000 recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Signators include a leader in Israeli Holocaust scholarship–our Prof. Yehuda Bauer; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate–Holocaust survivor–Elie Wiesel.

Will not the values of Zion weep at our realpolitik shaming of another people who–like us–carry everyday the grief and outrage of their memory of the mass genocidal murders of their people?

With prayers for the strength of our people and country in such grave times–when we are fighting in self-defense against a deadly and even genocidal terrorism that attacks indiscriminately including unarmed youths in cafes–and families of men–women and children gathered to celebrate weddings and bar-mitzvahs–I am

Respecfully yours,

Prof. Israel W. Charny–Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief–Encyclopedia of Genocide

Executive Director–Institute on the Holocaust & Genocide–Jerusalem

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