WASHINGTON—On June 8, the Washington Times published a revealing article about the deterioration of Jewish-Turkish relation and the role Jewish American organizations played in supporting Turkish interests, killing Armenian genocide legislation, and undermining Armenia’s economic livelihood in the U.S. Congress.
The article by Eli Lake, titled “American Jewish community ends support of Turkish interests on Hill,” begins with a chilling account of how the Armenian Genocide Resolution was killed in 2000:
* In October 2000, the government of Turkey had a problem.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert had promised to bring a resolution commemorating the Armenian genocide to the floor for a vote, a move that Ankara said would be a slap in the face to a NATO ally.
* The Turks called up Keith Weissman, a senior researcher from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and asked him to intervene.
Mr. Weissman said in an interview this week that AIPAC lit up the phones and managed at the last minute — with the help of the State Department — to persuade President Clinton himself to write a letter to Mr. Hastert saying a vote on the resolution would cause strategic damage to U.S. interests.
* The last-minute push worked. Mr. Hastert removed the resolution from the floor, and the full Congress has yet to take up the matter to this day.
According to Barry Jacobs, the American Jewish Committee’s former director of strategic studies in the office of government and international affairs, “The major Jewish organizations decided in 2008 that the question of the Armenian genocide resolution was so sensitive we would no longer take public and private positions to oppose it.”
The article also notes how “In Congress, the Jewish organizations lobbied for an oil pipeline from the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a pipeline that bypasses Turkey’s rival Armenia entirely.”
The author notes that the support for Turkey by Jewish-American organizations is in decline. He quotes Morris Amitay, the former executive director of AIPAC who has also represented Turkey, as saying: “If someone asked me now if I would try to protect Turkey in Congress, my response would be, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’”