Тема: ADL scandal etc
# 1651
seems that this case will be evolving further, lets follow it here:)

Jewish group in U.S. reverses stand; calls Armenian massacre "genocide"

Foxman and the Armenian Genocide

More on recognizing the Armenian Holocaust

Major Jewish group recognizes Armenian genocide
The Anti-Defamation League declines, however, to back a congressional resolution to do the same. The decisions spark impassioned reactions.
# 34159
The Armenian Weekly Volume 73, No. 37, September 15, 2007

Newton Human Rights Commission Ceases Participation in NPFH

Town Refuses to be ‘In the Same Boat’ with ADL

By Khatchig Mouradian

NEWTON, Mass. (A.W.)—Generations of Americans converged at Newton City Hall on Sept. 11 to make their voices heard to the local Human Rights Commission (NHRC) meeting, which, after deliberations, unanimously voted to cut their ties with the ADL’s No Place for Hate (NPFH) program until the former unequivocally recognizes the Armenian genocide and supports H.R.106 in Congress, thereby affirming the historical record.

Commissioners and Advisory Council Members

In a letter dated Aug. 24, the NHRC had asked the ADL to recognize the Armenian genocide, actively support H.R.106 and rehire the ADL’s New England regional director Andrew Tarsy.

During the Sept. 11 meeting, commissioner Marianne Ferguson noted that although Tarsy has since been rehired, unequivocal recognition and support for the Genocide Resolution had not been achieved.

Advisory Council member Dianne Chilingerian expressed concern about the ADL’s position on the Genocide Resolution, which she considered inconsistent with its mission. She said that she is bothered by the ADL’s position as a human rights activist, and that this is not just an Armenian issue. Student Advisory council member David Fisher asked how we expect to end genocide campaigns today “when we still can’t recognize what happened 92 years ago.”

ADL Regional Board Members

Emphasizing that he was not speaking on behalf of the ADL, the organization’s NE Regional Board member Gerry Tishler said, “I have studied, thought and written about the Armenian genocide and it wasn’t ‘tantamount to genocide’ it was genocide. … I am also in favor of the U.S. government acknowledging and commemorating the Armenian genocide.” He noted that the meeting of the ADL’s national commissioners will discuss the issue in November, though said that continuing with the NPFH should not be based on that outcome. “If you make it conditional, you are making a bad mistake,” he said, noting how much the ADL has added to the town’s programs.

NE Regional Board member Beth Tishler also argued the importance of not dissociating from the NPFH, adding, “We have stood up and gone against our national leadership. We have heard you. The National ADL has heard you.”

ADL National commissioner David Apel said that ADL national director Abe Foxman “is not empowered” to support the Genocide Resolution, and that “your message will be brought forth to the national commissioners in November.” In response, members of the audience pointed out that while Foxman seems to be able to change his position daily on the Armenian issue, he needs the green light from the commissioners to properly acknowledge the truth about 1915.

“I reject the notion that we are misguided citizens,” continued Apel. He said the last few months had been a learning experience for him and many others, and that everyone in the room was in the same boat. “Give us time till November,” he added.

Members of the Audience

Newton residents, university professors, human rights activists, students, descendents of Armenian genocide and Holocaust survivors, spoke about the need to send the right message by severing ties with the ADL.

Newton resident David Boyajian, whose letter to the Watertown Tab sparked the ADL controversy, said that the “ADL’s [genocide] acknowledgement was thinly disguised denial,” and that its “verbal gymnastics show bad faith.” He stressed that the ADL will not change its position without pressure from the towns, and asked that Newton sever its ties immediately.

Newton resident Sonya Merian, whose mother was on one of the earliest Newton Human Rights commissions, read a letter by the ANC of Eastern Massachusetts addressed to the NHRC members and Newton mayor David Cohen. “Foxman apologized to the Prime Minister of Turkey for having put his government ‘in a difficult position,’ expressing his ‘sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey.’ No apology to the heirs of Armenian Genocide survivors has been issued to date,” she said.

Prof. Jack Nusan Porter, treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), stressed the importance of severing ties with the ADL until Foxman resigns or changes course. “Turkey cannot harm a single hair of a single Jew,” he said, referring to Foxman’s stated concern that supporting the Genocide Resolution would harm the Turkish-Jewish community. “Is Israel, with its army, afraid of Turkey?” he asked.

Newton resident Nancy Akanian said she was startled that the NPFH has an annual re-certification process for all participating towns, and said the ADL was hardly in a position to grade anyone on their human rights performance.

“The ADL lacks the moral leadership and courage and any program sponsored by the ADL cannot be accepted,” said Newton resident Michael Mensoyan.

Newton resident and Armenian Youth federation (AYF) member Nora Kaleshian said, “My family and I are deeply hurt [by ADL’s practices],” expressing hope that it promotes the Human Rights of all people.

Prominent human rights activist and author of Our Bodies, Ourselves, Judy Norsigian, also from Newton, noted that “the time is ripe to make this a national issue.” She underlined the position and authority of Newton to send a strong message to the ADL by severing ties.

Newton resident Bethel Charkoudian introduced her father, a genocide survivor and thanked the NHRC for their stance. “My father survived the genocide and came here because he knew people understood his suffering,” she said.

Associate professor of philosophy at Worcester State College Henry Theriault said that while people were used to the denial of the Armenian genocide by Turkey, it was shocking to see a human rights organization engaging in the denial, adopting similar hate speech and lobbying against genocide recognition.

“There is no such thing as ‘degree of genocide,’” said Newton resident Salpi Sarafian. “The ADL has spoken in absolute clarity against Sudan, Bosnia and Afghanistan. They need to do the same regarding the Armenian genocide.”

In a poignant speech, activist Berge Jololian underscored the importance of realizing that recognizing the Armenian genocide is a moral issue and not a political one. “ADL was established in 1913, the Armenian genocide occured in 1915. ADL had 92 years to acknowledge this crime,” he said.

Activist Narini Badalian recounted her experience at a recent lecture by Foxman in New York. Badalian had confronted Foxman to say whether ADL’s position is consistent with that of a Human Rights organization. Foxman had responded, “It is up to you to decide.” Badalian urged, “It is time for us to decide.”

Activist Luder Sahagian made strong points about the failure of the ADL to “rigorously uphold settled history.” He said, “The ADL has yet to subscribe to the wisdom of the esteemed Rabbi Hillel, who many, many years ago advised, ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor…That is the entire law. All the rest is commentary.’”

Visiting professor of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University Dikran Kaligian said, “The ADL has made itself complicit in [Turkey’s] multi-million dollar denial campaign.” When the ADL controversy first broke, he explained, the ADL’s first reaction was not to approach the Armenian community but to hire a leading PR company. “Foxman does not see this as a moral issue, but a PR problem,” Kaligian said, adding, “We need to take the necessary steps for them to get the message.”

In an emotional speech, activist Alik Arzoumanian responded to the numerous calls on the NHRC and on Armenians to wait until the November meeting before deciding to sever ties. “We have been waiting all our lives,” she said, and explained how offended she was by Foxman’s claim that a Genocide Resolution was “counter-productive.” Foxman considers “our struggle to recover our dignity” to be counterproductive, she added. “I don’t want to give National ADL one more day.”

Mayor Cohen

Newton mayor David Cohen spoke next, and said that “there is a tremendous amount of common ground here.” He called the ADL National’s failure to “make a forthright statement” recognizing the genocide and supporting the resolution as “an ongoing injustice.”

“The resolution that we have in the U.S. Congress is one of the best pieces of legislation that deserves passage,” he said, referring to H.R.106. “It is incumbent on the ADL” to support it, he added.

In the same boat?

ADL Regional Board members emphasized several times during the meeting that everyone in the room was “on the same boat,” though they went on to say that suspending ties with the NPFH and ADL was not the answer. Asked to comment near the end of the meeting, however, Student Advisory Council member Fisher said, “Hearing the voices of the Armenian community and my own Jewish conscience, I cannot be in the same boat with you.”

The NHRC voted unanimously to cease participation in the NPFH, pending the ADL’s unambiguous recognition of the Armenian genocide and support of HR106.
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# 41005
'No Place for Hate' no longer
Town cuts ADL ties over genocide

By James Vaznis (jvaznis@globe.com), Globe Staff | October 21, 2007

No longer do signs welcome travelers to Westwood as a "No Place for Hate" community. Those signs, located at four town lines, were taken down last week.

Selectmen decided Monday night to suspend participation in the antidiscrimination program because they don't believe its sponsor, the Anti-Defamation League, has gone far enough in recognizing the Armenian genocide of nearly a century ago - an issue that remains a sensitive matter today, especially for area residents of Armenian heritage.

Westwood joins Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, Newton, and Watertown in suspending or cutting ties with the ADL, believing its refusal to directly acknowledge the historical genocide runs counter to the ADL's mission of fighting against hatred and fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect. About 60 cities and towns across the state, including many south of Boston, belong to the ADL's local No Place for Hate program.

"I think the community wished it didn't have to come to this," said Town Administrator Michael Jaillet. "We wish our sponsor had taken a different position and stood up for the truth."

The ADL acknowledged in August that the Ottoman Empire's massacres of Armenians from 1915 to 1923 was "tantamount to genocide." But Westwood and other critics want the ADL to use sharper language - dropping the "tantamount to" - and push for congressional passage of a resolution directly acknowledging the genocide.

Westwood, where some Armenian residents pushed for dropping the ADL affiliation, will continue promoting cultural harmony, town leaders say. But the No Place for Hate Committee will now go by a new name, the Human Rights Committee.

"The town of Westwood has concluded that our ability to carry out the founding principals of the No Place for Hate program is seriously compromised by the ADL's position on the Armenian genocide and the House and Senate resolution," said Nancy Hyde, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, reading from a letter the town sent to the ADL last week about their vote.

Al Gordon, a spokesman for the New England region of the ADL, said the town will find it difficult going it alone in its campaign for tolerance.

"We think in the long run Westwood will not profit from its decision to sever ties," Gordon said. "The ADL has internationally recognized expertise in dealing with hate incidents and promoting cultural awareness."

Since adopting the No Place for Hate program two years ago, the committee has done such things as passing out literature on tolerance, organizing panel discussions, and participating in local cultural events. The ADL helped the group locate speakers and a choir of Ugandan orphans for a Martin Luther King Day program this year.

Tom Viti, the town's library director who cochairs the Human Rights Committee, acknowledged it would be difficult to replace the connections the ADL has.

"The ADL has been really involved in high-pressure volatile situations in responding to hate crimes," he said. "The committee is going to have to do a bit more work."

But he said the town's new Human Rights Committee will probably seek out guidance from other similar groups, and hopes to offer an increased number of programs and events each year.

The ADL first came under fire this summer in Watertown. At that time, the ADL did not acknowledge the Armenian genocide, outraging the large Armenian population in that town. Watertown's decision to cut ties prompted other communities to follow and for the ADL's New England office to break from the national group's position of not calling the massacres a genocide.

Ultimately, the ADL's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, in a carefully worded statement, acknowledged the massacres was "tantamount to genocide." The group, however, did not offer to support a resolution in Congress that would officially call the massacres a genocide. Support for that legislation, which had been building momentum, appeared to be eroding last week as the Bush administration worried it might offend the Turkish government, an ally of US military troops in Iraq.

Westwood officials say they would restore the town's affiliation with the ADL if the group adopts sharper language and backs a Congressional resolution acknowledging the genocide.

"We are looking for an unequivical statement," Viti said. "A word like tantamount starts to qualify things."

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
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# 42836
ADL: no further action on genocide

Published: 11/05/2007

The Anti-Defamation League has decided to take no further action on the Armenian genocide question.

At the league's national commission meeting in New York last week, ADL's New England leadership pushed for a more unambiguous statement recognizing the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide. The matter was discussed at a three-hour closed door session on Friday afternoon, after which the ADL's national commissioners voted overwhelmingly to endorse its current statement on the genocide. The New England leadership withdrew its resolution calling for a further statement.

In August, under mounting pressure from Boston-area communities, the ADL reversed longstanding policy and referred to the "consequences" of the killings as "tantamount to genocide." Critics said the statement was insufficient and a dodge, a charge the ADL has repeatedly denied.

ADL leaders from New England, who had initially pushed hard for a clearer statement, claimed to be satisfied with the outcome. James Rudolph, chairman of the New England regional board, told the Boston Globe that he had received assurances that the August statement was unequivocal.

"I feel comfortable with it," Rudolph said.

New England ADL leaders say they plan to try and mend fences with several Boston communities who broke ties with a popular anti-bigotry program sponsored by the ADL in protest of its position on the genocide. But local Armenian activists gave no indication that they would stop pressing for a change.

"I am very disappointed," said one Armenian leader who wished to remain anonymous because talks with the New England leadership are ongoing. "The current decision by the entire cadre of ADL commissioners from across the U.S. makes the entire organization complicit in Turkey's genocide denial campaign."
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# 47658
ADL New England director resigns
Published: 12/05/2007

The New England regional director of the Anti-Defamation resigned.

Andrew Tarsy announced his resignation Tuesday in what the Boston Globe described as "the culmination of a months-long dispute with the national organization over its failure to fully acknowledge the Armenian genocide of 1915."

Tarsy would not elaborate on his departure, the Globe reported, except to say that it was "a professional judgment based on knowing when it's your time." His supporters said it was the result of his rift with the national director of the ADL, Abraham Foxman, over the Armenian issue.

In August, Tarsy was fired after he publicly criticized the ADL's refusal to use the term genocide to describe the massacres of Armenians. In the face of protests from Jewish communal leaders in Boston and an Armenian-led campaign to have municipalities cut ties with the ADL, Tarsy was rehired and the organization released a statement saying the killings were "tantamount to genocide."

The ADL stood by its refusal to endorse a congressional resolution that would recognize the killings as a genocide. Last month, ADL leaders from Boston failed in their attempt to have the national organization take additional steps.

"At the end of the day, the vision of the New England leadership and Abe Foxman's leadership were simply not fully compatible," said Steve Grossman, a former member of the ADL's regional board, according to the Globe. Tarsy "realized that he would have to make too many compromises that he was not prepared to make. I think he leaves with his integrity intact, with his head held high."

Officials in the national ADL offfice reportedly declined comment.
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