TEL AVIV–Jewish Genocide scholars professors Yair Auron, Israel W. Charny and Elihu D. Richter wrote an open letter to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni expressing their irritation on the announcement of Gaby Levy, Ambassador of Israel to Turkey that, “What we [Israel] realized in Gaza, was not a genocide just like the way it was not a genocide carried out against Armenia’s.”
The ambassador of Israel to Turkey made a speech following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan criticized Israel’s attack on Gaza.
Below is the text of the open letter:
Open Letter to Tzipi Livni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel.
We are writing to express our shock, disbelief and horror at the statemen’s attributed to Ambassador to Turkey Gaby Levy by the website of Sabah News (Turkey) that "what we [Israel] did in Gaza is not genocide just like there is no Armenian genocide." These statemen’s were reportedly in response to commen’s made by Prime Minister Erdoghan of Turkey criticizing Israel’s response to the terror attacks from Gaza. We would like to believe that he was misquoted.
Ambassador Levy is insultingly wrong in denying the Armenian genocide. There is an overwhelming body of historical evidence from many separate and independent bodies of information to show that the mass atrocities experienced by the Armenia’s were a result of an intentional policy on the part of the Turkish government at the time. It is precisely this evidence of intent to kill and destroy, in whole or in part, as defined by the UN Convention on Genocide, which is why these atrocities constitute genocide. They were adjudged genocide by Raphael Lemkin, the person who gave the world the word-concept of genocide, and have been so adjudged by any number of impartial commissions and professional authorities, including the International Association of Genocide Scholars.
Israel’s ambassador is humiliatingly further misdirected on Gaza, where it is Hamas, an organization with a genocidal agenda, which is carrying out terror attacks aimed at killing, destroying and expelling the entire population. Israel is defending itself against the perpetrators of this genocidal agenda. The Grad rockets Hamas is now firing at population centers in Israel come from Iran which has expressed a sworn determination to wipe out the State of Israel.
Clearly Israel has never embarked on a genocidal program or action in Gaza, but for the ambassador to prove his point as it were by comparing Israel’s actions today in Gaza to the known genocidal activities of the Ottoman Turks against the Armenia’s and other non-Moslem minorities in 1915 and on is self-defeating in the extreme. The aim of Israel’s military actions in Gaza is to stop the genocidal terror aimed at the Israeli public. To link proof that Israel is not the aggressor in Gaza with a denial of the validity of the Armenian Genocide is seriously harmful to Israel. Ambassador Levy’s mission is not to revise historical truth, but to represent Israel with honor, self-respect, competence and integrity. He has failed the test on all counts. By publicly declaring his denial of the Armenian genocide, he paves the way for denial of all other genocidal threats, foremost of which are those now facing Israel.
Israel’s relationship with Turkey is a matter of vital importance to the two countries. But this relationship does not require public displays of obsequiousness and participation in genocide denial. It does require Ambassador Levy to advise Turkey of the genocidal threats from Hamas, and from Iran, its paymaster.
We call upon the Government to repudiate the remarks attributed to him.
Prof. Yair Auron, PhD, Dept. of Sociology, Open University of Israel
Prof. Israel W. Charny, PhD (retired Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University), Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Editor, Encyclopedia of Genocide
Prof. Elihu D. Richter, MD, MPH, Genocide Prevention Program, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine