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J ewish editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Genocide Denial

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  • J ewish editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Genocide Denial

    Sassounian: Jewish Editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Genocide Denial

    By Harut Sassounian ~ on December 1, 2009 ~ Armenian Weekly

    Armenians are understandably distressed when they encounter statements that distort or deny the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and feel comforted when it is properly acknowledged. While they are quick to castigate the deniers, they rarely take the time to recognize those who speak the truth.

    These thoughts came to mind as I was reading two truthful and bold articles on the Armenian Genocide--the first by a righteous Jew, the editor of the Intermountain Jewish News (IJN) of Denver, Color., and the second by a righteous Turk, commentator Burak Bekdil of Hurriyet Daily News.

    The editor of the IJN did not mince words, starting with the headline: "All that lying about the Armenian Genocide did not help." He then proceeded to launch a frontal attack on Jewish organizations and Israel's leaders who have been playing immoral games with the Armenian Genocide, just to appease the Turkish government. Here are some excerpts from that powerful editorial:

    "We could use the word 'diplomacy' or 'politics' or 'ignorance' or 'objectivity' or 'fairness.' In truth, there is only one word: Lie. For many years, some national Jewish organizaitons lied about the Armenian genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during WWI. These organizations said it didn't happen, or that it was a matter of 'historical dispute.'

    "...On the grounds that Israel had to maintain good relations with Turkey, these national Jewish organizations--not to mention Israel herself--accepted Turkey's denial of the Armenian genocide, or said it was 'disputed.' Good relations with Turkey could only be purchased by acceptance of Turkey's lying about the Armenian genocide, we were told. It was disgraceful.

    "...Lying about the Armenian genocide should not be part of the currency of Israel--or American Jewish--diplomacy with Turkey. Israel and these national Jewish organizations should now see that, even pragmatically, the lying did not help. And morally? When it comes to genocide, diplomacy and politics have no place. There can be no denying, ignoring or low-prioritizing genocide. Israel and national Jewish organizations denied that principle--and this denial is now coming back to bite them.

    "...Regarding genocide, posterity is enormously unkind. Today, even in Turkey the number of scholars who acknowledge the Armenian genocide is growing. Various counter-claims, denying the Armenian genocide, look ever more outlandish. Can you imagine anyone credibly claiming that the Warsaw Ghetto revolt in 1943 shows that the Holocaust was just a 'civil war' between the Jews and the Germans? That's how ridiculous the 'civil war' characterization of the Turkish prosectuion of the Armenian genocide is coming to look. Posterity, we repeat, treats genocide deniers very unkindly.

    "...When bad people murder a whole population, good people must respond, as respond we must in Darfur today. When time passes and we look back on people who murdered a whole population, we must never allow that transcendent evil to be denied or downplayed because of diplomatic or political consideraitons. It's wrong. And it won't work."

    Liberal Turkish commentator Burak Bekdil's article is just as powerful. Several years ago, he received a suspended 20-month sentence for writing an article that criticized the Turkish judiciary. now, once again, Bekdil risks being thrown into jail, as article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it a crime to refer to the Armenian Genocide.

    In his commentary, Bekdil is boldly suggesting that the Turkish government make a list of all its past crimes, adopt a resolution in parliament led by the AKP Party, and issue an apology to the victims. He specifically mentions "the Armenian Genocide" among Turkey's past crimes! Here is an excerpt from Bekdil's daring article:

    "First, let's make a list of the Turkish atrocities of the past century. There is Dersim, of course. But for a start, I shall also propose the Armenian genocide; war crimes against Greeks during the War of Independence; pogroms and other violence against Greeks, Armenians and Jews during the earlier years of the Republic; the deaths of 40,000 Kurds as the only Turkish Nobel laureate once put it; and more Kurdish atrocities between 1984 to 2002. Of course, these sorrowful events can be multiplied endlessly and any other ideas are most welcome... I would urge our pro-AKP liberals to pen a draft text in recognition of a full list of Turkish atrocities in the 20th century, decorated further with an official apology to the victims and their relatives."

    Armenian organizations should pay tribute to these two righteous men for daring to condemn their own leaders and expose their lies on the Armenian Genocide!

    The editor of the IJN, Miriam Goldberg
    Հա'յ ժողովուրդ, քո միա'կ բրկութիւնը քո հաւաքական ուժի մէջ է:

  • #2
    Re: J ewish editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Genocide Denial


    The Independent
    Saturday, 30 January 2010

    Recognition of the Armenian genocide is a paramount moral and
    educational act

    While Israelis commemorated the second Holocaust of the 20th century
    this week, I was in the Gulbenkian library in Jerusalem, holding the
    printed and handwritten records of the victims of the century's first
    Holocaust. It was a strange sensation.

    The Armenians were not participating in Israel's official ceremonies
    to remember the six million xxxish dead, murdered by the Germans
    between 1939 and 1945, perhaps because Israel officially refuses
    to acknowledge that Armenia's million and a half dead of 1915-1923
    were victims of a Turkish Holocaust. Israeli-Turkish diplomatic and
    military relations are more important than genocide. Or were.

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    George Hintlian, historian and prominent member of Jerusalem's
    2,000-strong Armenian community in Jerusalem, pointed out the posters a
    few metres from the 1,500-year old Armenian monastery. They advertised
    Armenia's 24 April commemorations. All but one had been defaced, torn
    from the ancient walls or, in at least one case, spraypainted with
    graffiti in Hebrew. "Maybe they don't like it that there was another
    genocide," George told me. "These are things we can't explain." More
    than 70 members of George's family were murdered in the butchery and
    death marches of 1915 - when German officers witnessed the system of
    executions, rail-car deportations to cholera camps and asphyxiation
    by smoke in caves - the world's first "gas" chambers. One witness,
    the German vice-consul in Erzurum, Max von Scheubner-Richter, ended
    up as one of Hitler's closest friends and advisers. It's not as if
    there's no connection between the first and second Holocausts.

    But the times, they are a-changing. For ever since Turkey began
    shouting about Israel's slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza a year ago,
    prominent Israeli figures have suddenly rediscovered the Armenian
    genocide. Who are the Turks to talk about mass murder? Has anyone
    forgotten 1915? For George and his compatriots - there are in all
    10,000 Armenians in Israel and the occupied West Bank, 4,000 of
    them holding Israeli passports - they had indeed been forgotten
    until the Gaza war. "In 1982, the Armenians were left out of a
    Holocaust conference in Jerusalem," he said. "For three decades,
    no documentary on the Armenian genocide could be shown on Israeli
    television because it would offend the Turks. Then suddenly last year,
    important Israelis demanded that a documentary be shown. Thirty Knesset
    members supported us. We always had Yossi Sarid of Peace Now but now
    we've got right-wing Israelis."

    Maariv and Yediot Ahronot began to mention the Armenian genocide and
    George Hintlian turned up on Israeli television with Danny Ayalon -
    the foreign office minister who humiliated the Turkish ambassador by
    forcing him to sit on a sofa below him - and Knesset speaker Reuven
    Rivlin who said that Israel should commemorate the Armenian genocide
    "every year". The Israeli press now calls the Armenian genocide a
    "Shoah" - the same word all Israelis use for the xxxish Holocaust. As
    George put it with withering accuracy: "We have been upgraded!!!"

    This piece of brash hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed by Yossi Sarid who
    has described how, a few months after Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced
    the Gaza war, "an important Israeli personality telephoned me and said
    the following: 'Now you have to hit back at the Turks, to denounce
    them for the crimes they committed against the Armenians You, Yossi,
    have the right to do so...'" Sarid was appalled. "I was filled with
    revulsion and my soul wanted to puke," he wrote in Haaretz. "The
    person who telephoned me was an example of the ugly Israeli who had
    disgracefully been at the forefront of those who denied the Armenian
    Holocaust." So now "new tunes" - Sarid's phrase - are being heard in
    Jerusalem: "The Turks are the last ones who have the right to teach
    us ethics."

    The bright side to this anguished debate is that one of Israel's
    top Holocaust experts bravely insisted - to the fury of then-foreign
    minister (now president) Shimon Peres - that the Armenian massacres
    were undoubtedly a genocide. Tens of thousands of Israelis have
    always believed the same; several hundred are expected to turn up at
    the Armenian commemoration on 24 April, and most Israelis refer to
    the Armenian genocide as a "Shoah" rather than the tame "massacres"
    hitherto favoured by the political elite.

    Yet the most extraordinary irony of all occurred when the Armenian and
    Turkish governments last year agreed to reopen diplomatic relations and
    consign the Armenian Holocaust to a joint academic enquiry which would
    decide "if" there had been a genocide. As Israeli Professor Yair Oron
    of the Open University of Israel said, "I am afraid that countries will
    now hesitate to recognise the (Armenian) genocide. They will say: 'Why
    should we grant recognition if the Armenians yielded?' Recognition of
    the Armenian genocide is a paramount moral and educational act. We
    in Israel are obliged to recognise it." And American-Armenian UCLA
    Professor Richard Hovannisian asked: "Would the xxxish people be
    willing to forgo the memory of the Holocaust for the sake of good
    relations with Germany, if Germany were to make that demand?" George
    Hintlian described the Armenian-Turkish agreement - which in fact
    may not now be ratified by either side - as "like an earthquake".

    We walked together in the cold afternoon through the darkened
    interior of the great Armenian monastery of Jerusalem with its icons
    and candles. George opened a cabinet to reveal a hidden staircase
    up which priests would creep for a secret week when invaders passed
    through Jerusalem. In this dank, pious place, Ronald Henry Amhurst
    Storrs, governor of British Mandate Jerusalem, would often sit to
    ponder what he called "the glory and the misery of a people".

    Miserable it has been for thousands of Armenians here. Up to 15,000
    lived in Palestine until 1948, many of them survivors of the first
    Holocaust. But 10,000 of these Armenians shared the same fate as the
    Palestinian Arabs, fleeing or driven from their homes by the army of
    the new Israeli state. Most lost their businesses in Haifa and Jaffa,
    many of them seeking refuge - for the second time - in Jerusalem. A
    few set out for Cyprus where they were dispossessed for the third
    time by the 1974 Turkish invasion. As George put it bleakly, "Today,
    6,000 Armenians are residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank. They
    cannot travel and they are counted as Armenian Palestinians. For
    Israeli bureaucracy, they are Palestinians."

    George himself is the son of Garbis Hintlian who, as a 17-year-old,
    survived the death march from his home at Talas in Cappadocia. "We
    lost my uncle - my grandfather was axed to death in front of him."

    After the 1918 armistice, he worked for the British, carrying files
    of evidence to the initial (but quickly abandoned) Constantinople
    trials of Turkish war criminals. To no avail.

    And glory be, if the tables haven't changed again! Turkey and Israel
    have made up and become good friends again. Yossi Sarid anticipated
    this. "Let us assume that Turkey will renew its ties with Israel. Then
    what? What then? Will we also renew our contribution to the denial
    of the Armenian Holocaust?"
    Hayastan or Bust.


    • #3
      Re: J ewish editor and Turkish Commentator Protest Genocide Denial

      Not to question the sincerity of the authors or their righteousness..........but this is Israel putting pressure (and retaliation) against Turkish new TV series, cooperation with Iran and Syria, rejecting Israel from joint military exercise, and Erdogan’s none stop anti-Israeli rhetoric specifically the in regards to the last Gaza operation by IDF. This kind of stuff has been coming out and will continue to come out.

      Even though their marriage has turned ugly lately I still don’t see Israel to officially recognizing AG or even stop their backing of Turkish lobby with AIPAC in US.
      There is no gain for them.................righteousness mean nothing when it comes to what they may consider national interests.

      I do however think that this match in heaven between them is going to continue to take a bad turn with Israel seeing Turkey turn less secular and more Islamist, even within the military elite and now Egrenekons loosing more power.
      B0zkurt Hunter