Letter to the Editor: Heritage Park Human Rights Lecture

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Letter to Editor

Heritage Park Human Rights Lecture

September 27, 2012

Appearing in the Armenian Weekly, HETQ, Keghart, ArmeNews, The Armenian Reporter International, HyeMedia.com, USA Armenian Life magazine and elsewhere.

Dear Editor,

It is disappointing that the Najarian Human Rights Lecture Series, affiliated with the Armenian Heritage Park on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, has tapped Ambassador Edward Djerejian to be the main speaker for its 3rd annual lecture at Faneuil Hall on October 25.

Djerejian, whose parents were Genocide survivors, is a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Syria. He is now the Founding Director of the James A. Baker III Institute in Houston.

The Institute’s namesake is James Baker. He is a former Secretary of State and an Armenian genocide denier, as is Madeline Albright, an ex-officio member of the Institute. Its Board of Advisors is filled with current and former executives of Chevron, Marathon Oil, Shell Oil, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and similar corporations, several of which also fund the Institute. Not surprisingly, human rights are nearly invisible on the Institute’s agenda.

In a depressing political presentation to Armenian Americans in Texas in 2011, Djerejian uttered not one word of criticism of Turkey or Azerbaijan. Nor did he mention Artsakh/Karabagh’s rights, human or otherwise. Instead, he took a neutral position on the issue, and approvingly quoted Azeri President Ilham Aliyev that “Azerbaijan has the upper hand.” Regarding the Genocide, Djerejian noted only that “the Armenian Genocide can best be resolved within the context of improved state to state relations between Armenia and Turkey.”

A true human rights advocate would never give such a speech. A career U.S. State Department man would.

Astonishingly, Djerejian’s book “Danger and Opportunity” (2008) praised Kemal Ataturk as a “charismatic military leader who drove European occupiers out of Turkey.” It also touted Turkey for its “potential outreach to the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia.” This is a form of pan-Turkism, which led to WW 1, the Armenian genocide, and Turkey’s providing military and political support to Azerbaijan. Is Djerejian unaware of this, or does he not care?

In 1999, Djerejian and Peter Rosenblatt, a former U.S. ambassador and top member of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) visited Azerbaijan and Armenia, allegedly to serve as peacemakers on the Karabagh issue. Both AJC and JINSA are genocide deniers that have worked with Turkey to defeat the Armenian genocide resolution. AJC Executive Director David Harris, who has twice visited Aliyev, says “Azerbaijan is important for the Jewish people.” Djerejian’s partnering, in effect, with AJC and JINSA strikes one as strange, to say the least. Fortunately, the Djerejian-Rosenblatt expedition flopped.

I could go on, but I won’t.

Hopefully, the Najarian/Armenian Heritage Park lecture series will invite a true human rights advocate for its 2013 event.


David Boyajian

Belmont, Mass.