Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Armenian genocide: ADL reverses its stand

So this morning I posted something about the ADL-Watertown, Ma.- Armenian controversy. I posted it in great sadness because I thought the position taken by the ADL was so wrong.

And a few hours later, the JTA reports that, in a sign that people and organizations sometimes still do the right thing, the ADL has issued a statement acknowledging that what was done to the Armenians constitutes a genocide and there is no need for historians to determine that fact.

The organization still opposes a resolution, a position with which I disagree. On that reasonable people can take different positions. On the tragedy that was perpetrated against the Armenians there is far less room for that.

This was the right thing to do and it is only too bad that it had to happen in the first place.

BTW, I am not suggesting that my posting is what changed Abe Foxman's mind. My guess is that it was, in the main, his conversation with Elie Wiesel and the chorus of criticisms that came from so many people in the field, myself included.

The statement, which was issued by Abe Foxman, says:

In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-Armenian issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians.

We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.


Unknown said...

Dr. Lipstadt,

Are you certain that the ADL statement acknowledge the genocide?

What about this:
"Hasn’t it been a consistent position of deniers that the vast number of Armenian deaths were an unplanned outcome of war? And that though Turkish military actions may have led to a large number of Armenian deaths, there was no genocide because there was no intention or centralized plan to destroy the Armenian people? So to say that the Turkish actions during the war had "consequences" that were "tantamount" to genocide reads…well, doesn't it read rather like an elaborate restatement of the position that the Turks' military campaigns had the consequence of devastating the Armenians in Ottoman territory--a catastrophe, but not an intentional one and not actually a genocide?"

Quote taken from blog post at Jewcy

Deborah Lipstadt said...

It's a pretty flabby statement. They could have been more direct. You're right about that. The whole thing unbelievable.