The Newton Tab: Top newsmakers of 2007

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Article cropped except for David Boyajian related text.

The Newton Tab
Newton, Massachusetts

Top newsmakers of 2007
December 26, 2007

1. Lt. Richard Geary and the Newton firefighters Newton firefighters have endured a tough 2007, but none more than Lt. Richard Geary.

2. Everyone involved with the Newton North construction project

3. David Boyajian
Newton resident David Boyajian illustrated the power of a simple letter to the editor when he ignited a debate that made national headlines.

In his July 6 letter to the Watertown TAB and Press — the Newton TAB’s sister paper — he questioned the Anti-Defamation League’s stance on the Armenian genocide.

Boyajian was disturbed about ADL national director Abrahan Foxman’s refusal to unequivocally recognize the genocide that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians. Neither would Foxman support congressional legislation that would make recognition official. For a major organization advocating human rights, the ADL’s position was unacceptable for many.

Boyajian’s letter tugged at the heartstrings of the Armenian-Americans living in Watertown. Rallying against the ADL, they asked the town to withdraw from the ADL program, No Place for Hate.

Regional ADL director Andrew Tarsy supported recognition of the genocide and was subsequently fired.

A few days later, the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, changed the organization’s position by calling the deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire “tantamount to genocide.”

But, it was too late and too little. Newton decided to withdraw from No Place for Hate as long as the program’s parent organization refused to unequivocally acknowledge the genocide and did not support congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide. Other Massachusetts communities followed suit.

Following the Anti-Defamation League’s annual meeting, the anti-hate organization did not change its stance, and communities like Newton and Waltham remained detached from No Place for Hate.

All this from one man’s letter to the editor.

4. Noam Chomsky

5. Paul Levy

6. New public officials elected

7. U.S. Army Capt. Michelle Jacobs

8. World Champion neighbors

9. Kristin Kenney

10. TAB bloggers