Wednesday, October 10, 2007

House Foreign Affairs Committee passes Armenian Genocide resolution

A short while ago the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the resolution condemning the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey in World War I as an act of genocide.

Turkey is very upset and is threatening to reconsider supporting the American war effort, which includes permission to ship essential supplies through Turkey and northern Iraq.

So here's my question: if the "Jewish lobby" controls American foreign policy and many Jewish organizations, especially Abe Foxman and the ADL, opposed this resolution because of their fears about the welfare of the Turkish Jewish community and their appreciation of Turkey's relations with Israel... HOW COME THIS PASSED????

Maybe Jimmy Carter can explain.... Must have been a mistake....Or the Foreign Affairs Committee did not get its marching orders right... And if Jimmy can't explain maybe Professors Walt or Mearsheimer can....♠



Quote: Abe Foxman and the ADL, opposed this resolution because of their fears about the welfare of the Turkish Jewish community and their appreciation of Turkey's relations with Israel...

Abe Foxman [and others] had no right whatsoever to oppose this motion, his higher duty was to support the recording of the truth, a secondary duty was not to support some cover up and concealment of it. If I was an American-Armenian then Abe's no better than an Holocaust denier. Digraceful!

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Dear Fairplay,
I supported this resolution publicly and unequivocably. However, people such as Abe Foxman worry about the security of love people -- the contemporary Turkish Jewish community -- and the security of Israel (also real people). That is not so easily dismissed.

When real people are threatened choices become more difficult.


[Q] When real people are threatened choices become more difficult.

Deb, the Holocaust Jews and the Genocide Armenians are real people, everything we stand for is wrapped up in preserving the truth and the accuracy of what happened, 1911- 1913 / 1933 - 19945. Even to the extent of causing ructions and coming to verbal blows with others. We both know about the lady who asked her husband in the Treblinka unclothing yard not to complain to the guards - in case it made made things worse, but this was her [understandable] mistake. And Abe Fox mistake also. The Armenians worldwide want our support and we are honour bond to give them it, otherwise we lose face. What the Turks did was unforgiveable and they need to be reminded of it daily. And let them close their bases, their loss.

argv said...

I agree, this is not so black/white. Where does one draw the line? I don't think you can, so easily. I also don't see that opposing a resolution that might have a negative impact on Jews in Turkey and Israel is akin to denial of the Armenian holocaust, especially if you already know (as surely Abe Foxman did) that the resolution would pass anyway.

I'm also curious on your current thoughts regarding Turkey's application to join the EU. The topic has been off/on the agenda. Will this resolution provide new impetus for the EU to require it?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

To Fairplay:
I supported the resolution. Go back and see the article I wrote with Peter Balakian on the issue.

Having siad that, I cannot ignore that real people -- people who are alive today -- could be put in danger because of this resolution.

And not just Turkish Jews but American soldiers as well.

I still support the resolution but I don't believe it behooves any of us to make pronouncements that the lives of living breathing people are not important.

This is not a matter of losing contracts [as was done to the French] but of protecting people. There have been a number of synagogue bombings in Turkey [you can still see the blookd on the floor]. When those people need to turn to the Turkish police for protection, they want them to answer.

Ultimately this is about the Turks and their insistance on their distorted version of history.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

DEar Argv,
The question of Turkey's entry into the EU is tough. I have publicly said that until they acknowledge the genocide they should not be admitted.

But I am also aware of a growing Islamic radicalization in that country and radicalization is fueled by feelings of being rejected by the European "western" world.

In fact there are Turkish specialists who have said that there is nothing the Islamic radicals would like more than to see Turkish membership rejected.

MS said...

I understand why historians and concerned citizens should care about interpretations of the Armenian genocide, but I'm not clear why the US government or the EU should. Is it because Turkey is restricting free speech on this issue at home? That would certainly be a legitimate issue of concern for the E.U., but I'm not sure what concern it is for the U.S. I also find it strange that the Turkish government wants to mandate its version of history to other governments. Still, I think I'm missing something. Can someone explain or point me towards a piece that might help? Thank you.

Sephardic Perspective blog said...

How the Turks Saved the Jews from Genocide

by Shelomo Alfassa / October 10, 2007

In the fall of 1921 a Turkish steam ship sailed into New York harbor named the SS Gul Djemal, the name of the ship meant "Beautiful Rose." On that ship, was my great-grandmother Rosa and her brother Eli; their father Isaac had arrived sometime earlier, all were Spanish speakers, all set sail from Turkey.

My family spoke the Spanish language because their ancestors had fled Spain in the late 15th century when the Spanish government committed one of the most heinous acts in history, the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population of Spain through near-total displacement of its Jews. Although the Jews had existed in Spain prior to the invention of the Spanish language or even the arrival of Christianity, in 1492 they were subject to mass violations of human rights and were forced to flee--or as the Spanish government put it, they would "incur the penalty of death."

In the end, hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Spain, leaving behind what would amount in today's monetary system as billions of dollars in assets. These assets included private property such as homes, furnishings, jewelry, books, family objects, clothing, etc; and communal property such as businesses, real estate, synagogues, etc.

The only reason why I am able to sit here in 2007 and write this essay is because at the time when the Spanish government advised the Jews they would have to flee their homeland or face death, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire--the leader of the state that existed before the modern Republic of Turkey--allowed my family and our people to seek refugee in his lands, this includes what is today Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Israel, the Balkans, and other places. Not only were the Jews allowed to go freely, but the Ottoman Empire sent ships to the west to assist the Spanish refugees in their terrible plight.

Sultan Mehemet stated: "Who among you of all my people that is with me, may his God he with him, let him ascend to Constantinople, the site of my royal throne. Let him dwell in the best of the land, each beneath his vine and fig tree, with silver and with gold, with wealth and cattle. Let him dwell in the land, trade in it, and take possession of it."

When the most powerful nation in the world, 15th century Spain, openly and publicly threatened genocide against the Jewish people for the stated crime of practicing their own religion-Judaism, it was a Muslim government, the Ottoman Empire, which stepped in and saved the Jewish people from destruction. It was the Ottoman Empire that saved the Jews of Spain and to a great extent, Portugal, from certain death which the goverment threatened them with.

Unlike the Christian kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, the Ottoman Empire never had a system of government-sponsored hatred against the Jewish people. Even though Jews were dhimmis, the government of the Ottoman Empire never set in place specific targeted anti-Jewish policies such as those that existed in Christian Europe. It is a sad reality that today many people only remember the Ottoman Turks for alleged bad treatment of minorities, when clearly, they have done many positive things that we today hundreds of years later should continue to praise.

acadia said...

I think that we should stand behind Jewish organizations in support against this resolution. Members of Congress were subjected to two public relations campaigns, one financed by the Turkish government, the other by Armenian-American and other groups supporting the measure.

The vote was 27 to 21.

Do we really need to lose a key ally over something like this? What do we have to gain with support of this resolution? This is ridicolous and I am against it.


The Turks need to be told firmly that history cannot be rewritten. The pacifier is "we appreciate that Turkey is a modern, growing,dynamic state who's policies gain the admiration of the modern world, a nation who lead the west in peace, green-exports [cannabis?]medicine, heart surgery and literature, and those nasty people who committed the masacre are long gone, so no blame whatsoever can be attached to their descendants - whose close ties to the UK and USA are so close and vital, you end this diplomatic song and dance with the message "Mess us about and we'll NUKE you". To be frank the political mess between the West and the Islamic States gone so far downhill that it's irrecoverable. The terrorists are winning the Political War by posing as Martyrs, and everyone you kill is replaced by 2 more. A white knight is wanted who's sensible enough to deal with and won't turn out to be another Gengis Khan.

acadia said...

"To be frank the political mess between the West and the Islamic States gone so far downhill that it's irrecoverable."

You are dead wrong. It's not "irrecoverable". It's all politics. Average Jews and Palestinians get along 100x better than Israeli/Palestinian politicians. Same with Muslims and Christians. It's all politics.

Nothing is "irrecoverable". Better times are coming for all of us.

hockey hound said...

"Average Jews and Palestinians get along 100x better than Israeli/Palestinian politicians. Same with Muslims and Christians. It's all politics."

The obfuscative naivete of your statement above reminds me of something Bruno Bettelheim once said: "If all men are good, there can be no Auschwitz."

In the real world, average Palestinian Muslims are sending rockets into targets like Haifa and Siderot and Kiryat Shimona in order to kill average Israeli Jews. What world are you living in? The religion of Islam and the violence and hatred it incites against the Jewish people is the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Islam proves that, yes, contrary to the common proverb, you can get blood from a stone.

mister mister said...

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

If you believe that the U.S. or the Jewish community has interests that are more important than speaking out against crimes against humanity, then you have to be willing to accept the evil consequences of inaction.

Turkey is an independent nation that acts in its own interest. It could cut off American supply for other reasons, such as lack of American support in their operations against the Kurds. Islamic extremism in Turkey could result in increased support of Hamas.

Even if my hypotheticals were to occur, I would not want Genocide recognition to be based on losing Turkey as an Israeli or U.S. ally because that would be hypocritical. Recognition and support by everyone who believes that it is morally irreprehensible to commit and deny Genocide must happen now, regardless of what the current state of our political alliances happen to be.