Holocaust survivor and Armenian Genocide denier.
LANTOS BACKS ARMENIAN GENOCIDE VOTE
By Lisa Friedman, WASHINGTON BUREAU
The Daily Review, CA
Sept 17 2005
Lawmaker changes stance after accusing Turkey of failing to support U.S. interests
WASHINGTON - In a momentous victory for California's sizable Armenian communities, the House International Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly Thursday to declare the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire an act of genocide.
In a surprise move, Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, declared that after years of opposing the genocide resolution, he now would support it. The only Holocaust survivor in Congress and the founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Lantos had long cited Washington's close relationship with Ankara as a key reason for objecting to the resolution.
In 2000, when the issue came before the same committee, Lantos told his colleagues, "There is a long list of reasons why our NATO ally, at this point, should not be humiliated."
On Thursday, Lantos said that while he was "profoundly moved and anguished by the Armenian people's horrendous suffering," he remained unconvinced that the massacres they endured technically constitute genocide.
Instead, he cited Turkey's unwillingness to allow U.S. troops to use its territory to launch an invasion of northern Iraq as well as the country's growing closeness with Syria even in the wake of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination.
"Turkey ignored our interests," Lantos said. "Our allies must understand that if they expect the U.S. to support matters of great interest to them, we expect them to support the things that are important to the United States."