YEREVAN (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)–Armenian Jews called on the Anti-Defamation League to support a U.S. congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide.
In a letter to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, the chairman of Armenia’s Jewish community, Rimma Varzhapetian-Feller, applauded the organization’s "firm stand" recognizing the genocide. But Varzhapetian-Feller lamented that the ADL refuses to support a resolution now being considered in Congress to recognize as genocide the World War I massacres of Armenia’s by Ottoman Turks.
"Any genocide committed against a nation must not remain unrecognized or unpunished," said the letter. "However, on behalf of our community I express regret over the fact that the ADL doesn’t endorse the House resolution on the Armenian Genocide."
Varzhapetian-Feller said the failure to recognize the Armenian genocide paved the way for the Holocaust and suggested that a congressional resolution could help prevent future genocides.
“We should also speak on behalf of those whose voice is not heard. The ADL’s support of the H. Res. 106 would be of utmost importance; otherwise the ADL stance would provide a cloak for genocide deniers and perpetrators. We are hopeful that the Anti-Defamation League will openly support this bill,” added the letter.
“Everyone should understand that the failure of universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide paved the way for Hitler’s atrocities against our people. Thus, passage of the H. Res. 106 is one more step toward prevention of genocide,” continued the letter.
“Humanity cannot tolerate genocide denial any longer. The Jewish community of Armenia joins the supporters of the H. Res. 106 and expresses hope that the Armenian Genocide will be recognized not only but the United States but also by Jewish communities throughout the globe."
The ADL has been at the center of a controversy since the town council in the Boston suburb of Watertown voted to sever ties with an anti-bigotry program the organization sponsors in protest of the ADL’s positions on Armenian genocide. Two other suburban Boston communities have followed suit.
After Watertown’s decision, the ADL switched from its long-held position of neutrality on whether the Armenian massacres constituted genocide, but the group remains unwilling to support a congressional resolution affirming ADL’s newly adopted position that the Armenia’s suffered attempted genocide at the hands of the Turks.
Other Jewish groups — including the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International — have adopted similar positions, citing concerns about American and Israeli strategic interests in the Middle East and threats to the Turkish Jewish community.
The Armenian National Committee of America has lined up support for a congressional resolution from 12 Jewish groups, including the Union for Reform Judaism, Americans for Peace Now, the Zionist Organization of America and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.