Newburyport Becomes 11th Massachusetts Municipality to End Ties with ADL

Watertown, Massachusetts–The City of Newburyport, Massachusetts last week formally withdrew from the Anti Defamation League’s No Place for Hate program, reported the Armenian National Committee of Merrimack Valley.
Newburyport has become Massachusetts’ 11th municipality to end relations with the No Place for Hate program due to the ADL’s failure to unambiguously acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and its continued active opposition to legislation affirming the Armenian Genocide.
"We are pleased that the north shore has joined so many other cities and towns in Massachusetts in standing firmly opposed to genocide denial in any of its form," stated Pearl Teague, chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of Merrimack Valley. "We are grateful to the commitment of Lieutenant Richard Siemasko, Esq. and the members of the Human Rights Commission as well as Mayor Moak who carefully listened to Rev. Aram Marashlian and Judy Mouradian and other local residents and recognized the failure of the ADL to not only live up to its own mission statement but more importantly to live up to the standards of our community."
In late August, Newburyport’s Commission on Diversity and Tolerance had written an open letter to the ADL and ADL national director Abraham Foxman’stating that "The members of Newburyport’s Commission for Diversity and Tolerance are distraught and dismayed by Mr. Foxman’s and the Anti-Defamation League’s stance on the Armenian Genocide. Not only has the ADL failed to support the Armenian people by advocating for congressional recognition with HR 106, but also, in fact, it has lobbied against the legislation"
The letter continued to say that the Commission finds "that the ADL’s logic that led to the statement that a ‘Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion … and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States’ fatally flawed, and contrary to the spirit of Never Again."
In a February 1 letter to the New England ADL, Newburyport mayor John Moak stated that "in wake of…the [ADL’s] failure to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide between 1915 and 1923 as anything other than ‘tantamount to genocide,’ … the Commission has decided to end its relationship with the No Place for Hate program."
Newburyport joins Watertown, Belmont, Newton, Needham, Arlington, Medford, Lexington, Bedford, Westwood and Northampton in ending ties with the ADL’s No Place for Hate program due to the ADL’s failure to unambiguously acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and continued active opposition to Congressional legislation affirming the Armenian Genocide.
The fight against the ADL’s genocide denial spread to Western Massachusetts in the fall when the Human Rights Commission of the City of Northampton followed by Northampton’s City Council ended their city’s relationship with No Place for Hate.
In a September 28 letter to the ADL’s Foxman, Northhampton’s Human Rights Commission made it clear that "while we may sympathize with the complexities of current international relations, we cannot in conscience continue a relationship with an organization that claims to stand for full accountability for genocide, yet stops short of endorsing a Congressional resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide. We cannot endorse selective recognition of hate by an organization that claims leadership in creating a world where there is no place for hate."
The HRC further stated, "acknowledging the truth about the Armenian genocide not only has an impact on survivors and their families, it also has an impact on our ability to address other acts of hate."
The ADL has for many years refused to acknowledge that the systematic massacre of 1.5 million Armenia’s between 1915 and 1923 was genocide. To make matters worse, the ADL has actively engaged in efforts to oppose Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.
Only after intense pressure which started in Watertown, Massachusetts earlier this summer did the national ADL issue a "Statement on the Armenian Genocide" on August 21, 2007.
Referring to the events of 1915-1918, the statement declared, "The consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide." Aside from the fact that the Armenian Genocide began in 1915 and continued through 1923, the statement was not a full, unequivocal acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide.
Not only was the qualifier "tantamount" inappropriate, but the use of the word "consequences" was seen by many as an attempt to circumvent the international legal definition of genocide by avoiding any language that would imply intent, a crucial aspect of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention definition.
The ADL convened its national meeting in New York City in early November at which time the issue of the Armenian Genocide was discussed.
Upon conclusion, a one sentence press statement was issued that "The National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today, at its annual meeting, decided to take no further action on the issue of the Armenian genocide." http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Mise_00/5162_00.htm
For complete information about the ADL controversy surrounding the Armenian Genocide visit www.noplacefordenial.com

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