Scholars Blast Jewish Organizations Opposing Genocide Bill

LOS ANGELESIn the Tuesday edition of the Los Angeles Times, an opinion piece entitled Never Again For Armenia’s Too and authored by two prominent Jewish scholars criticizes some of the leading American Jewish organizations for opposing the passage of the Genocide Resolution pending in Congress. Authors Daniel Sokatch, executive director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance and David N. Myers, who teaches Jewish history at UCLA say in their opinion piece that For the last 60 years, the Jewish community has labored to avoid granting Hitler, in the words of philosopher Emil Fackenheim, a posthumous victory. Jews have taken as their motto never again, and most tend to understand that this charge refers to all of humanity, not only to fellow Jews. One of the last surviving leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Simha Kazik Rotem, once said that the central lesson of the Holocaust to him was that the Jewish people should stand vigilant against genocidal acts directed at any people. This is why it is troubling that some major Jewish organizations have lined up in support of Turkey’s efforts to keep the U.S. Congress from recognizing the Armenian massacres as an act of genocide. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and B’nai B’rith International recently conveyed a letter from the Turkish Jewish community opposing a resolution recognizing the genocide, continued the opinion piece. The American Jewish community has insisted, and rightly so, that the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and other governmental bodies formally commemorate the Holocaust. Why should Jews not insist on the same in this case, especially given the widespread scholarly consensus that what happened to the Armenia’s from 1915 to 1923 was genocide? After all, the man who coined the term genocide to refer to the Holocaust the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin cited the Armenian massacres as a precedent, added the authors. The opinion piece went on to explain that Jewish opposition to recognizing the Genocide stemmed from a desire to safeguard the important strategic relationship between Turkey and Israel. The authors encouraged the continuation the strong Jewish-Turkish alliance by argued that Turkey, a trusted ally and friend of the Jews and the United States, must come to terms with its past for its own sake. Sixty years (and millions of historical documen’s) later, the world still has to contend with those who deny the Holocaust. We need only recall the shocking words and deeds of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on this score, added Sokatch and Myers. In response to such denials, all decent-minded people, and Jews in particular, must continue to declare loudly never again not only to future genocides but also to the attempted denial of past genocides, regardless of who the perpetrators or victims are, concluded the opinion piece.

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