The leadership of the Council of Hellenes Abroad for the North & South America Region reacted swiftly last week against a provocative ad that appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times. The President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon of N. & S. America Chris Tomaras–in a letter to several leaders of the Jewish communities in the United States and abroad–expressed his disappointment and surprise for this ad–that goes against the long tradition of friendship and common values shared between the Greek-American and the Jewish-American communities.
"Of all the people of the world–the Jewish Diaspora surely knows the meaning of the words holocaust–genocide and pogrom. Yet–when you applaud Turkey for its democratic and secular values–you choose to ignore (or perhaps some of you really do not know) the organized–repeated and sustained wholesale persecution and murder of ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey in the 20th Century," Tomaras said in his letter.
The ad–which appeared Sunday–November 8 in the New York Times–offered congratulations to Turkey for the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic and was presented and paid for by the American Jewish Committee–the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League. The text of the entire ad follows: "Congratulations! Mazel Tov! Tebrikler! As Americans and Jews–we join in celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. We especially applaud Turkey for:
-Its democratic and secular values;
-Its close and mutually beneficial ties with the United States;
-Its invaluable strategic role as a NATO partner;
-Its ever deepening relations with the State of Israel;
-Its historic tradition–dating back more than 500 years–as a haven for Jews fleeing persecution.
We join with the Turkish people in celebrating this milestone–and we look forward to continued flourishing ties in the years ahead among Turkey–the United States and Israel."
In his letter–the President of SAE of the Americas stressed several points that should have been considered before the publication of such an ad–including the Armenian Genocide.
Tomaras’ letter was addressed to the leaders of the aforementioned Jewish organizations and their affiliates in Chicago.
The letter expressed disappointment in the Jewish organizations’ support of the Turkish issues.