Jewish Writers Blast Israel, US And Turkey for Denying Genocide

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By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
September 16, 2004

The Turkish government spends millions of dollars to deny the Armenian Genocide. Yet, despite such intense Turkish efforts, and sometimes because of them, the Genocide is becoming more widely known to the world. Scores of countries and international organizations have officially acknowledged it in recent years. The international media frequently refers to the Armenian Genocide.

Despite the Israeli government's shameful support for Turkish revisionism, Jewish scholars and commentators have played a major role in reaffirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide. In recent weeks, two more Jewish writers have published very important articles on this issue.

Hillel Halkin, an Israel-based author, in an article published in the August 17 issue of The New York Sun, castigated the "Republican congressional leadership and the Department of State" for opposing congressional resolutions "that do nothing more than express official American acknowledgment of the pre-meditated murder, mostly in 1915, of an estimated 1 to 1.5 million Armenians by the armies of the Ottoman Empire." He asserts: "this murder is a well-documented episode that only the rare pro-Turkish historian bothers to challenge these days."

Halkin points out that the Turkish government "for decades has conducted a concerted campaign to deny that the Armenian Genocide took place. To this day, what happened to the Armenians in World War I is a banned subject in Turkey." The writer describes as "utterly absurd" Turkey's systematic efforts "to censor its own history as if it were an article in a Stalinist encyclopedia." He suggests that "far from bringing shame on them, a frank admission of what their armies did to a helpless population nearly a century ago would only rebound to the Turks' credit. Just think of the esteem that the German Federal Republic, in the years after World War II, earned in the world by its honest confronting of the Holocaust."

The Turks, Halkin writes, have threatened other countries "with dire consequences should they acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Although some governments stood up to such intimidation (most notably France which officially recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2001), others have caved into it. One of the saddest cases in this respect, apart from America, has been that of Israel, where programs on what happened to the Armenians have even been barred from state television."

Halkin describes as "pathetic" those countries that have "yielded to Turkish pressure on this issue." He wonders: "What exactly is the Bush administration afraid of?" He correctly points out that should the US Congress adopt a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, the Turks would just "splutter and get over it, which is exactly what they did three years ago vis-à-vis France."

Halkin blasts the Israeli foreign ministry for being "chock-full of fearful bureaucrats needlessly anxious about jeopardizing their country's good ties with Turkey." He accuses both the Israeli government and "some Jewish lobbies in America," for having "collaborated shamefully with the Turks on the Armenian issue."

Halkin concludes his powerful article by pointing out that since the "Jewish State does not recognize" the Armenian Genocide "for reasons of realpolitik," the Jews should then stop blaming other countries that for their own reasons of realpolitik did not lift a finger while the Nazis were slaughtering the Jews!

A second important article, written by Israeli attorney Nir Eisikovits, appeared in the September 1, 2004 issue of "In the National Interest," an online weekly published jointly by The National Interest magazine and The Nixon Center.

The writer points out that Israel's denial of the Armenian Genocide is based on two considerations: the belief in the "uniqueness" of the Holocaust, and Israel's self-perceived strategic interests or "realpolitik."

Eisikovits considers the first argument "both morally warped and empirically unfounded." By asserting that "Jews do not have a monopoly on pain," he emphatically states: "Jews cannot, simultaneously, attack those who deny the Holocaust and assist others who deny the Armenian Genocide." The writer also points out that the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides have not in any way diminished the Nazi atrocities.

As for the considerations of "realpolitik," Eisikovits sadly concludes that Israel's appeasement of Turkey "does not seem to be working."

Recalling that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently accused Israel of "state terrorism," he concludes that Israel has apparently sold its "moral integrity in vain." He also argues: "Realism in international affairs, with all its merits, must be subordinate to a nation's most basic principles rather than dictate them." By refusing to recognize other cases of genocide, "Israel would have undermined the main reason for its own existence," Halkin states.

The courageous positions taken by these righteous Jewish writers, combined with all other efforts by Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide would eventually force the governments of the United States and Israel to stop parroting the lies and start telling the truth on the Armenian Genocide.