BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
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.
The latest such effort was voiced by the leader of Israel’s Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, who according to The Times of Israel, has said that his party will introduce a resolution in the Knesset, the Israeli legislature, to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This is a reaction to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling Israel a “terrorist state” that “kills children” after the Israeli government launched attacks against demonstrators protesting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The recognition of the Armenian Genocide has been discussed in the Knesset as a whole or in various legislative committees ad nauseam, yet always it has been blocked by the executive branch as being too risky as it would harm Tel Aviv’s relations with Ankara.
“Erdogan crossed the line,” said Lapid according to The Times of Israel. “Someone who denies the murder of hundreds of thousands of children in the Armenian genocide won’t lecture us. Someone who cooperated with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, in a war which has left half a million dead, won’t lecture us.”
Lapid’s comments are true. After all this is what we, Armenians, have been saying for more than a century or after the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. So it begs the question: had Erdogan not called Israel a “terrorist state,” would Lapid and his Yesh Atid party have introduced legislation calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide? Or, would they have continued to be accomplices to Turkey’s crime and maintained their denial of the Armenian Genocide?
For a state that never misses an opportunity to remind the world of the horrors of the Holocaust, Israel has had a hard time reconciling its respect for human rights and the losses suffered by Jews with the fact of the Armenian Genocide.
A similar scenario played out in the United States where American Jewish organizations fervently pounded the pavement to whip members of Congress into rejecting any and all Genocide resolutions. Some of these organizations changed course and recognized the Genocide, albeit due to Ankara’s posturing toward Israel and because of the backlash from the Armenian-American community. It is worth noting that some of these Jewish groups continue their anti-Armenian lobbying, this time becoming mouthpieces for Azerbaijan and its despotic regime.
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.
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.