With the rift widening between Turkey and Israel over the latter’s bombing of Palestinian settlement in Gaza, Israeli lawmakers, once again, drew the “Armenian Genocide Card,” by returning the Genocide recognition bill to the Knesset’s agenda on Wednesday.
Zionist Union and Likud party lawmakers Itzik Shmuly and Amir Ohana stated they would submit legislation to make Israel the 30th country to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The move came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Israel over violent protests along the Gaza border. The Turkish President later recalled his ambassador from Israel and commented on Twitter that Israel is “an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60+ years,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
Members of the Knesset in response concluded that the time had come to recognize the Armenian genocide by the Turks, a move Israel had previously avoided in order not to harm diplomatic relations with Turkey.
Shmuly emphasized that “We won’t accept moralizing from the antisemitic Turkish butcher who bombs thousands of Kurds in northwest Syria every day, and whose country is responsible for the genocide of the Armenian people and the historic horrors toward the Assyrians,” adding later that recognition of the genocide should have happened long ago.
“Every time the Turkish regime does something to anger Israel, the Jewish state’s politicians and members of parliament threaten Ankara with the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, furthering their cowardice as a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust,” Asbarez editor Ara Khachatourian wrote in an op-ed in December when, once again, Israel-Turkey ties were frayed.
“If the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel, which should have been a no-brainer, is contingent on Ankara’s whims, then, perhaps, Israeli lawmakers should abandon this effort and forever erase it from their agenda, since, evidently, the crime which served as a blueprint for Hitler to plan and execute the Holocaust does not warrant recognition by them unless Ankara, or more specifically, Erdogan angers the Jewish State,” added the Asbarez op-ed.
“Israel must recognize the Armenian Genocide not because it’s politically expedient, but because it is a historic fact. By not recognizing it, Israel continues to amplify its own hypocrisy by becoming complicit in its denial,” emphasized Asbarez in December.
Ohana argued that the diplomatic reasoning behind not acknowledging the genocide no longer existed, emphasizing that “it’s not too late to do justice. The time has come to officially recognize the terrible injustice done to the Armenians. When Hitler presented Wehrmacht officers with his plan for mass extermination in Poland, including women and children, he soothed the concerns about the world’s reaction by saying ‘who, after all, speaks today of the Armenians?’ For that reason alone we should have already officially recognized this genocide.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid sponsored a bill to recognize the Armenian genocide earlier this year, but it was voted down in February, which means it cannot be submitted again until August.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has called for the Knesset to recognize the Armenian genocide, as did his predecessor, President Reuven Rivlin. Many bills to recognize the atrocities were proposed and voted down over the years, but the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee has voted to recognize the Genocide.