Sunday, October 21, 2007

Armenian Genocide: Beating up on the ADL

The passion with which some people are attacking the ADL for its position on the Armenian genocide leaves me wondering if they are not using this as an excuse to beat up on the organization.

As I wondered in a previous post, will there be the same passion against Jimmy Carter when he comes to Lexington as there against the ADL? Take a look at this clip from Lexington , Mass town meeting. Why not criticize Carter, who after all, says quite explicitly that neither what happened in Armenia nor what is going on in Darfur are genocides.

Or will anyone complain about the sneering way in which NPR's Senior News Analyst, Dan Schorr, referred to the genocide on his weekly news analysis on Weekend Edition this past Saturday?

Schorr, his voice dripping with criticism, referred to "this business of people who want to please the Armenians in California coming up with a resolution calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians genocide" which will antagonize a "once very loyal ally, Turkey."

Will these people criticize Carter, stop supporting NPR, or go after the politicians who are changing their positions on this matter? Will John Murtha, who has so severely condemned the war in Iraq, stop being their hero as a result of his call for the defeat of this resolution?

I don't think they will do any of these things. They will go after the ADL which has done important work in the field of prejudice reduction.

Without falling prey to conspiracy theories -- something I abhor -- I have to wonder what is these ADL critic's unspoken agenda? Why are they singling it out?

20 comments:

Hume's Ghost said...

I may have misread, but from the transcript it didn't look like Carter explicitly denied genocide in Armenia so much as he was unwilling to call it that for diplomatic reasons. Came across as him kind weaseling around it.

At least, contrasting his take on that with what he says about Darfur it seems that way, given he does flat out say that he does not think that Darfur is experiencing genocide.

Regardless, I don't think this alters the point you're making.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

The fact that someone refuses to call it a genocide is of great importance to the Armenians. No is denying that many Armenians were killed. The question is whether it was a genocide.

You may be right that Carter was wriggling just for diplomatic reasons. If so, that's even more contemptible for a man who likes to proclaim himself to be a man who does not fear speaking truth to power.

Blogger said...

"The fact that someone refuses to call it a genocide is of great importance to the Armenians. No is denying that many Armenians were killed. The question is whether it was a genocide."

Deborah, there is a great deal of evidence that mass scale crimes were committed against Armenian people - but one thing lacking is intent (written or verbal order) to destroy these people. Without this crucial factor, we do not have genocide.

Deborah - I am inviting you to read "Radovan Karadzic and Srebrenica Genocide" article, so you can get some insight into clear genocidal intent that this leader executed upon Srebrenica Bosniaks (please read it):

http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2007/10/radovan-karadzic-and-srebrenica.html

No similar orders were ever issued against Armenians. Genocide is not about numbers; it's about intent to destroy particular group of people (and there is no evidence that Turkey ever issued such orders against Armenians).

hockey hound said...

"You may be right that Carter was wriggling just for diplomatic reasons. If so, that's even more contemptible for a man who likes to proclaim himself to be a man who does not fear speaking truth to power."

I agree. Well said, Prof. Lipstadt. Carter's "wriggling" is a manifestation of a cowardly mind unable to think objectively and speak courageously. Jimmy Carter cannot bring himself to appellate the horrors of Darfur as genocide simply because he chooses to absolve himself publicly by consenting to one of the most biasly vested organizations in the modern world (the UN and its International Criminal Court) adjudicating in his stead with the proclamation that the atrocities being committed in Darfur is NOT genocide. "Contemptible" is putting it mildly, in my opinion.

"it didn't look like Carter explicitly denied genocide in Armenia so much as he was unwilling to call it that for diplomatic reasons."

The victims and survivors of genocide, whether of the Nazi Holocaust, of the Sebrinicia genocide, or of the genocide presently taking place in Darfur, would certainly judge Jimmy Carter's "unwilling to call it that for diplomatic reasons" as an "explicit denial," your laboured mentation notwithstanding. Your above statement, Hume's Ghost, denotes a disjointedness from the reality of genocide, no matter either the brazeness or the political facade maintained by its perpetrators. You are being excessively objective, which is one of the first steps we take toward becoming a bystander. The shameful record of the Red Cross during the Nazi Holocaust is forever an object lesson in this regard; one of the lessons of the Holocaust.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

webmaster said...

Dear Pr. Lipstadt:
I have written to you previously on this matter but my question and comments were not answered. But I will ask again: Can't it be argued that Turkey has been empowered to deny the Armenian genocide due to the help of Israel and prominent Jewish organizations?

Would Turkey have succeeded this long in denying the genocide without such help? Would it have felt encouraged to continue to do so?

webmaster said...

When a human rights organization like the ADL does not stand up to genocide and genocide denial, it invites criticism. the ADL is not standing up in the face of hate. I will repeat this: The ADL is NOT standing up to genocide and genocide denial.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Blogger writes: "Genocide is not about numbers; it's about intent to destroy particular group of people (and there is no evidence that Turkey ever issued such orders against Armenians)."

First of all, one need not set out to destroy an entire group for it to be genocide. Destroying a group in part can be considered genocide, e.g. what Sadaam Hussein did to the Kurds.

Second of all when Lemkin conceived of the idea of genocide he was motivated in great measure by what happened to the Armenians. Seems to me that if he thought this was genocide -- and he coined the term and the concept -- who am I to take issue with him?

Webmaster: I am utterly convinced that Turkey would have engaged in the same denial -- and actually did for many years since 1915 - without the support of Israel or any Jewish organization.

You seem convinced that it was Israel and the ADL which empowered the Turks to engage in this denial. I think that you might start by examining the role of the US, [unless, of course, you think that Israel told the US to deny and the US hopped to it].

Yes I have no doubt that Turkey would have and actually did deny on its own.

I have criticized the ADL's position. It's statement reversing its stand was a step forward but a bit too wishywashy -- to put it mildly -- for my taste.

However, while I disagree with their position, I realize that they are worried about real live people -- the Jewish community of Turkey in particular -- and do not have the freedom to speak in as unincumbered fashion as you and I do.

Dan Schorr, one of the icons of liberal journalism, was absolutely sneering about the resolution because of the damage it could cause the US.... No criticism of him? No criticism of Carter?

In any case, this unifocus on the ADL leaves me wondering if people with other agendas have not used this issue for their own purposes.

By the way, what's the Saudi position on the Armenian genocide? What's the Palestinian's? I wonder...

hockey hound said...

"But I will ask again: Can't it be argued that Turkey has been empowered to deny the Armenian genocide due to the help of Israel and prominent Jewish organizations?"

Yeah, and the State of Israel (but only her Jewish population-not her Muslims) was behind the tsunami wave in Asia, the earthquake in Iran, the attack on the WTC and the Mount Saint Helen eruption in the United States. Hell, Jews were probably behind the sinking of the Titanic! And they need to accomplish all these evil deeds in order for them to take over the world!

"empowered to deny the Armenian genocide"

Empowered? Who empowered Jimmy Carter, who is wont to excoriate publicly the State of Israel, to deny the Armenian genocide? Who empowered the Sudan government to deny the genocide taking place in Darfur? Has Israel "empowered" these deniers as well?

Denial of genocide is an noetic exercise and an act of the will, not the result of political enduement. Deniers of genocide, whether a David Irving or a Jimmy Carter or an entire government, like those of Iran and Turkey, is the explicit transgression of those persons or governments who construct the lies and let loose the efficacy of that same denial.

Simply put, your accusation against the State of Israel is ludicrous and blatently malicious and doesn't deserve a response. But since you ask...

Hume's Ghost said...

your laboured mentation notwithstanding. Your above statement, Hume's Ghost, denotes a disjointedness from the reality of genocide

Huh? What are you blathering on about? Carter did not explicitly deny the Armenian genocide. Unless the word "explicit" has taken on some new meaning that I'm unaware of. That does not exclude the possibility of Carter having implicitly denied it was a genocide, but given that I'm not a mind-reader and all I was going on was a couple of lines of transcript I drew the conclusion that jumped to the least amount of conclusion.

And I personally consider it to have been genocide. I'm not sure why I'm even responding, however, given that you clearly did not read what I wrote, as evidenced by you asserting that I claimed Carter denied a genocide in Darfur for diplomatic reasons. I did not, and did not because he gives his reasoning for not calling it genocide (and I disagree with him on this as well) and they are not diplomatic reasons in contrast to Armenia.

And does inspiring some college kids to do a student film about the genocide in Darfur count as being an innocent bystander?

Geesh.

Garen said...

Pr. Lipstadt,

You write: "I have to wonder what is these ADL critic's unspoken agenda?"

As someone who's closely associated with the campaign to bring the ADL to the right side of the genocide issue, I can assure that there is no "unspoken agenda".

The reason why so many young Armenians like myself are enraged at the ADL is the blatant hypocrisy of its actions: I mean, this is a human rights organization that is still actively abetting a massive campaign of genocide denial.

Please rest assured that had Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch taken the same stance, we would be opposing them as hell.

After more than 90 years, we're just sick and tired of having our history being denied for reasons of crass political expediency.

Hume's Ghost said...

One more thing:

Sorry about my tone. I've been extremely irritable and cranky lately, and I've fallen into the bad habit of excusing my being snide by feeling bad about it after I hit submit.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Garen:
"After more than 90 years, we're just sick and tired of having our history being denied for reasons of crass political expediency."

I supportthe resolution. But I also recognize that there are real lives at risk here. Turkish synagogues have been bombed in the recent past. Turkish Jewish institutions are under the protection of the Turkish army.

What you describe as "crass political expedience," I see as a matter of the safety and security of real people.

If to you that is crassly expedient, then I have cause to wonder about your motivations......

hockey hound said...

"Sorry about my tone.'

It's quite alright, Hume's Ghost. I'm not offended in the least.

Garen said...

Deborah,

First, please do not wonder about my motivations and insinuate things that are present only in your mind.

For your information and for the record, I do not find concerns about the safety of the Jewish community in Turkey to have anything to do with "political expediency". These are legitimate concers that need to be addressed.

But forgive me to note that the root cause of Turks' misguided anger toward American Jews is the readiness of the ADL (and that of other U.S. Jewish organizations) to offer Turkey, as part of a package deal sealed between the latter and Israel in the 1990s, their mercenary services to support the Turkish government's campaign of genocide denial in the U.S. Congress.

Had the ADL stayed genuinely neutral on the matter at the outset, none of this mess would have happened.

hockey hound said...

'For your information and for the record, I do not find concerns about the safety of the Jewish community in Turkey to have anything to do with "political expediency".'

You label the ADL as a "Jewish organization," simultaneously acknowledging the reality of blatent Turkish Muslim hatred of "American Jews" (actually, Muslim hatred of Jews is not limited to only American Jews), yet you selfishly obfuscate the danger of this same hatred of Turkish Jews by positing, as though this same danger did not exist (and it certainly does exist!), that your personal [Armenian] concerns about "genocide denial in US Congress" should usurp the necessity of the safety of Turkish Jews. Your concern for humanity seems to be very limited.

But of course, I shouldn't expect you to give a damn about Turkish Jews. It sounds to me as though you hate American Jews (which would mean you hate all Jews) just as passionately as do Turkish Muslims.

Garen said...

Dear Hockey Hound,

Your visceral reaction to my comments makes me believe that you suffer of a serious case of Armenophobia. I wonder what's the root cause of your hate and racism towards Armenians.

I do not deal with bigots, and therefore this conversation ends here.

hockey hound said...

"I do not deal with bigots"

Nor do I.

Under my real name, in an American newspaper, I have defended the truth of the Armenian genocide. I actually had a stormy debate with me dear friend Dr. Bernice Lipkin over Bernard Lewis' denial of the Armenian genocide (a rebuttal to Lewis' opinion is outlined in my article).

You are simply stupefied that someone would point out to you publicly the anti-Jewish sentiment in your statements. Your own imprudence has found you out.

Accuse me all you like. My words speak for themselves. I am neither a racist nor a bigot. I am the passionate opposite.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

webmaster said...

I am baffled. So it is OK to deny a genocide in order to avert another genocide?

So we deny the Armenian Genocide because we fear a Jewish genocide in Turkey?

Does anyone remember Neville Chamberlain? The Munich Agreement?

What have we learned? have we learned anything at all?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Webmaster:
You are confusing issues. Neville Chamberlain was not the matter of a resolution about something which happened it was about giving up a country [Czechoslovakia]to Germany without that country having any say in the matter. [Go to the new Churchill Museum/War Rooms in London and see Masaryk's letter to Churchill at the time. It will break your heart.]

Now remember I support the passage of the resolution but, to be honest, if someone said to me: Vote for this bill and the Turks will begin attacking Jews alive today in Turkey, I probably would not vote for the resolution.

And I would hope you would not either.

It's a terrible situation but if it were clearly that black and white I would say we have to save the living.

In terms of Holocaust denier and the fight against them, it's an "easier" situation. Most deniers [with the exception of Ahmadinejad] don't have the power to hurt live Jews, except in isolated acts.

Siamanto said...

hockey hound, what's this racist ideas that you are injecting here?
1. You are implying that if Jews in Germany are in danger, then we should deny the Holocaust so they will not be harmed?
2. Because of a small number of Jews living in Turkey, the world should forget about a vicious crime??!
3. There are more than 60,000 Armenians living in Turkey at this moment and they are not scared like you or the ADL of being harmed.

My suggestions are:
1. If the world and Jews want, then the Armenian Genocide will be accepted by the Turks and no harm will be done to anyone in Turkey.
2. After the acceptance, peace will exist between Armenia and Turkey and everyone will live easier and happier. The same as Germany admits its guilt.
3. The sad truth is that, Jews seems to be very jealous of any other Genocides and they are doing their best to keep them out of existence and media so the Holocaust will be the only tragedy in the world. They are even undermining the Darfur, Rwanda and other Genocides.

...and you need to start accepting constructive criticism and truth without accusing people of anti-semitism!!
Stop it!