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State of Denial

It’s time for Israel to rethink its rejection of the Armenian Genocide

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Shimon Peres, and the Armenian Genocide. (Collage: Tablet Magazine; Erdogan photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images; Peres photo: Amos BenGershom/GPO via Getty Images; background photo: Wikimedia Commons)
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There has been speculation about Turkey’s shifting international ties ever since the election of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of the Islamist AKP party, in 2003, and the Gaza flotilla incident of May created a new breach in the long-standing alliance between Turkey and Israel. Among the many issues that have emerged in post-flotilla relations between the two countries is the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

The flotilla episode is fraught with complexities and ironies on both sides. While the Turkish-led mission focused on a grave human rights crisis—Israel’s oppressive treatment of Gaza’s Palestinians—Turkey’s righteous indignation toward Israel both oversimplifies Israel’s distress about Hamas and seems glaringly hypocritical in view of its own human-rights problems. Those problems, which include Turkey’s repressive and violent treatment of its large Kurdish population, some 15 million or more, and its record of legal detention, imprisonment, and torture of Turkish intellectuals, journalists, and political activists, constitutes one of the world’s worst human rights records, as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports repeatedly show, over the past 20 years. Add to that Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus in violation of international law and its international campaign to falsify the history of its genocide of the Armenians in 1915, and the ironies multiply.

While there remains a narrative among opinion-makers like New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman that frames Turkey as an exemplary friend and a real democracy, Jews should wrestle with some truths about past and present realities. Jews, like Christians, lived as designated infidels under the Ottomans, often under harsh and repressive laws; Zionists were jailed and killed outright by the Turkish government through the end of World War I (Palestine was under Ottoman rule then). The U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, an American Jew, Henry Morgenthau, said more than once that he feared that the fate of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks awaited the Jews next. It remains uncomfortable for Jews to recall that Turkey supplied the Nazis with large amounts of chromium during World War II, a mineral that was used, among other things, for killing in concentration camps. And today a virulent anti-Semitism has spread throughout Turkey so that recently a banner of the Islamic Saadet Party read: “Legendary leader Hitler, our patience is running out, we need your spirit.”

It’s a strange irony that in recent decades Israeli and Jewish diasporan groups have colluded with Turkey’s aggressive policy of denying and rewriting the history of the Armenian Genocide. In this equation the Armenian past has become a bargaining chip between Turkey and Israel, which have a regional partnership based on reciprocal needs. Turkey is an important source of Israel’s water supply and at least until recently, had been a friendly Muslim ally in a hostile region. Israel supplies Turkey with high-powered weapons, and the lucrative military manufacturing deals are important to Israel’s economy.

In 1982—by threatening the lives and livelihoods of Jews in Turkey—Turkey pressured the Israeli government to stop a genocide studies conference in Tel Aviv, at which a group of scholars were giving papers on the Armenian Genocide. As a result the Israeli government pulled out its support, Elie Wiesel decided he could not participate, and the conference was moved to an out-of-the-way location and was greatly diminished. In the 1990s, two Armenian documentaries that were to be aired on Israeli TV—one of them about the Armenian community of Jerusalem—were canceled at the last minute because of Turkish pressure. From 1989 on, Jewish-American organizations have worked at Ankara’s request to help stop a simple, non-binding Armenian Genocide resolution from passing in the U.S. Congress. When former Israeli Education Minister Yossi Sarid declared 10 years ago that he wanted to institute a new history curriculum with a chapter on genocide that would have “a broad reference to the Armenian genocide,” he was rebuked by his government and shortly thereafter left office.

In recent years, the Israeli government has mimicked at times the Turkish government’s propaganda about 1915. Shimon Peres, then Israel’s foreign minister, went as far as to say: “We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. What the Armenians went through is a tragedy, but not genocide.” Peres’ crude denial elicited angry responses from Israeli scholars, and Israel Charny, the director of the Institute on Genocide in Jerusalem, crystallized the anger of many when he replied: “As a Jew and an Israeli I am ashamed of the extent to which you have now entered into the range of actual denial of the Armenian Genocide, comparable to denials of the Holocaust.”

The question remains: Is aiding Turkey’s denial of a genocidal past something Israel can continue to do? And at what cost? Amos Elon, writing in Haaretz about the “hypocrisy, opportunism, and moral trepidation” of Israeli collusion with Turkey, put it well when he asked: “But where is the boundary between the natural chauvinism of exploitation and the cheap opportunism of hypocrisy? What happens when the survivors of one Holocaust make political deals over the bitter memory of the survivors of another Holocaust?”

***

While political events provide opportunities for moments of reform, change, or introspection, it is not crass opportunism, I believe, that should dictate a change in Israeli policy on the Armenian Genocide. Rather, might this be a time—when the ironies of history have surfaced in the wake of the flotilla episode—for Israel and some Jewish diasporan organizations to rethink the moral concession Israel has made in this ethical arena—not as revenge against Turkey, but as thoughtful reflection on painful truths?

Given Turkey’s relentless campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide and insinuate its own extreme national narrative into democratic societies around the world, Israel’s call for the genocide’s proper and long overdue recognition would have important ethical meaning. It would, among other things, be a redress to genocide denial in general. As scholars have noted, denial is the final stage of genocide. The distinguished Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt has written that “denial of genocide, whether that of the Turks against the Armenians or the Nazis against the Jews … strives to reshape history in order to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators.”

Recognizing the Armenian Genocide would allow Israel to embrace the deeply rooted relationship between Jews and Armenians in the modern age. When Hitler exhorted his military advisers eight days before invading Poland in 1939, “Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” he made it clear that he was both inspired by what the Young Turk government had done to the Armenians in 1915 and also noted that because the memory of what had been the most well-reported human rights catastrophe of the first quarter of the 20th century had been washed away, it was easier to commit genocide again.

Hitler learned a good deal from the genocide of the Armenians because Germany was Turkey’s wartime ally, and there was a great deal of documentation from German foreign officers and other German personnel in Turkey at the time. There are, of course, parallels—in bureaucratic organization, killing squad implementation, race ideology, and more—between the two events. Yet what ties Jews to Armenians even more deeply is the powerful role Jews have played in bearing witness to and later defining Turkey’s genocide.

Ambassador Henry Morgenthau’s life remains a crucial part of the history of rescue and resistance during the Armenian Genocide. As U.S. ambassador to Turkey, he had the courage to step outside his prescribed role as ambassador and confront Pashas Talaat and Enver—the two major architects of the plan; he implored both the U.S. and German governments to intercede and stop the mass killing of the Armenian population; and he was a primary force in helping to organize the first major relief campaign for the Armenians in the United States.

In the end Morgenthau would lose his job because of his stance on the Armenians. After leaving Turkey in 1916 and noting that it would remain “a place of unutterable horror” for him, he included in his acclaimed World War I memoir of 1918, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, the first full narrative about the Armenian Genocide in English.

Franz Werfel, the Austrian Jewish novelist who escaped Hitler’s death list by a hair in 1934, wrote the first major novel about the Armenian Genocide, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, which depicted Armenian resistance to massacre in a small mountain village; it was also a novel that was a specific warning to the Jews of Europe about what might happen to them. The Nazis banned and burned the book in 1934, but the novel would inspire Jewish resistance during the Holocaust and became an important text in the educational curriculum for Jews in Palestine and then Israel.

Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish legal scholar who coined the word genocide, was the first to use the term Armenian Genocide in the early 1940s—noting that it was the precise term for intended group destruction of the Armenians in 1915. He underscored that the concept “genocide” derived from his understanding of the acts committed against the Armenians in 1915 and against the Jews in the 1940s: “Examples of genocide,” he wrote in 1949, “are the destruction of the Armenians in the first World War, the destruction of the Jews in the second World War.” He also noted in his autobiography that his study of the Armenian massacres was a turning point in his life’s work.

In the modern era, the contributions to the Armenian Genocide discourse made by Jewish scholars both in Israel and worldwide has been extraordinary, and a list would be long and include Elie Wiesel, Robert Jay Lifton, Deborah Lipstadt, Robert Melson, Jay Winter, the documentary filmmaker Andrew Goldberg, Israeli scholars Yehuda Bauer, Israel Charny, and Yair Auron, who wrote The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide. Recently, the Center For Jewish History and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York put on brilliant exhibitions on the lives of both Raphael Lemkin and Henry Morgenthau—in which the Armenian genocide figured significantly.

Given this long-standing record of Jewish engagement and intellectual achievement concerning the Armenian Genocide, and the deep ties between the two cultures—it would seem an organic thing for Israel to finally say: The game is over. The truth of history, the meaning of genocide, the importance of ethical memory is a defining part of Jewish intellectual tradition and identity. And, in the Armenian case, the two genocidal histories commingle in deep and historical ways. As for fear of Turkey? The other 20 countries (including France, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Greece, and Canada) that have passed Armenian Genocide resolutions have witnessed Turkey’s initial diplomatic anger, an ambassador recalled for a short time, and then it’s been back to business as usual—proving that the hysteria passes and life goes on.

The Israeli government could recognize the Armenian Genocide by honoring the words of the great founding genocide scholar Lemkin—a Holocaust survivor who lost 49 members of his own family to the Nazis. In August 1950, Lemkin wrote to a colleague: “Let us not forget that the heat of this month is less unbearable to us than the heat of the ovens of Auschwitz and Dachau and more lenient than the murderous heat in the desert of Aleppo which burned to death the bodies of hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenian victims of genocide in 1915.”

As for Armenians, in the midst of this, they look on with bewilderment, anger, bitterness. For the sizable meaning and historical significance of the genocide committed against them, they feel endlessly embattled in the effort to preserve the truthful memory of what happened to them. It seems to most Armenians that the accurate memory of their history is an ethical necessity, a minimal thing to ask others to affirm in the face of the continued assault on historical truth by Turkey. Israel’s affirmation would be of distinct ethical importance given the common experience the two peoples have shared. For Israel, colluding with a denialism is too painfully ironic.

Peter Balakian, the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities at Colgate University, is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, among other books.

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Jerome says:

Israel and Jewish groups should have recognized the Armenian genocide long ago. It is shameful that they haven’t and they should now regardless of the fact that it will smack some as political retribution for the flotilla fiasco.

jackie says:

Thank you so much for this article. I am a bit shocked. I am so disappointed in Israel’s policy of collusion with Turkey about the issue of the Armenian holocaust. At the same time, I am proud that so many Israeli and Jewish scholars have worked to document the truth of this tragedy. It is simply shocking to me that Israel has taken the position it has – but this is a political decision from a place of regional insecurity. It may have bought Israel some regional points and opportunity… but it is at the expense of its soul. What a disappointment.

Yes, Israel should (in a world where it had friends without end, and its survival was not daily at stake) recognize the truth of the Armenian genocide.

However, in THIS world, it’s alliance with Turkey (recently, and perhaps in the future too) is far too important to let truth find a voice.

Indeed, and l’havdil, Israel and Turkey share a pathology in being unable to recognize tragedies that they (or their immediate predecessor) inflicted on people’s within their modern borders.)

The parallel is not only historical and abstract, it is personal and cultural. For example Ben Gurion was Ottoman/Turkish educated, and gave his early labor speeches in Turkish (you can look it up.) He learned his ideas of law in the late Ottoman Empire and the new Turkish state.

“Later Ben Gurion decided to learn law in Turkey since Turkey controlled Palestine and he traveled there in 1912. However with the outbreak of World War I, In 1915,Ben Gurion and his friends were arrested and accused of conspiring against the Ottoman Empire in order to establish a Jewish state. He was subsequently exiled to Egypt.” (FYI: http://www.jewishmag.com/43mag/bengurion/bengurion.htm )

Turkish inability to acknowledge the Armenian genocide is not entirely unlike Israel’s inability to confront the Nakbah – not that the latter was a genocide, but it was certainly a grievous and violent wound inflicted on another people as part of the early state building activities of the Jewish people.

Turkey and Israel share a cultural of political denial about the past. Their crimes and sins were different…. but there is enough of a relationship to make them cousins in denial.

It would be better for us all if there was a way to live in truth.

EdwinS says:

I am ashamed that beit Israel has not made the Armenian struggle for justice our own struggle.

I am both Armenian and Jewish (the latter through conversion) and this has always been a painful subject for me. The fact that Israel supports the denial of the Turkish Genocide has always been couched in the interests of Israel, which lives in a tough neighborhood and can’t afford to annoy any of its few allies. But, really, what kind of ally is Turkey? Polls of its populace suggest that it is deeply anti-Semitic (we’re talking Arab-world levels) and strongly given to believing the most ludicrous conspiracies about Jews, and it often threatens the Jewish community in Turkey every time the spectre of Genocide acknowledgement is suggested. What kind of civilized country acts this way?

Many of us could have seen the flotilla incident coming from a country that is more interested in deflecting attention from its own human rights fiascoes by attacking a country that its population has been primed to hate. These types of publicity stunts will not end; they are far too valuable politically.

I fear, though, that Turkey would not brush off an acknowledgment by Israel like it did for countries like France and Sweden that it admires. This would be just the kind of straw that it needed to inexorably shift away from Israel and start openly conspiring with Iran. As deeply saddening this is to me, recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel will not come until the forced Turkish-Israel marriage expires for other reasons.

I was not there and did not see the Armenian Genocide. All I know is what the propaganda machine on each side provide. This I do know: The Jewish Genocide was very different, because the victims were not fighting the Germans and most likely would have participated in the German war effort as loyal citizens. The holocaust not only did not help the Nazi war effort, it detracted from it.
I read Turkey say that it was the Ottomans not modern Turkey who did it and that it was a nasty war with atrocities on both sides. Prove this wrong. It comes down to who was worse. In the US we read more of the Armenian perspective because there are more Armenians here. The may be more true than the Turkey explanation, but I don’t know. Determining truth by the volume of the shouting is not science.
Here is another thing that I know. For the US or Israel, or any other country to declare that they have the true knowledge, the jurisdiction, and right to judge is false. It is also true that any statement made today will not help those who died, and those making any statement did not participate in any killings.

Dan – Do you know that Holocaust deniers continue to say “show us the proof” about the Holocaust and deliberately ignore the mountain of evidence that would do just that? Why don’t you read Balakian’s article above. He’s not shouting.

What ethnic Armenians were doing in the far eastern fringes of the Ottoman Empire in order to carve out an independent state should have nothing to do with those Armenians, who might not have not known or had any similar irredentist sympathies, living in Istanbul and the west who were nevertheless rounding up and killed just the same. This is similar to Germans using the dolchstoss legende against Jews because there were Jews involved in Bolshevism which threatened Germany at the time.

And your final statement is truly disappointing, and yet again gives solace to genocide deniers of all stripes. When you fail to see the point of acknowledging the horror of a single genocide, you are saying that those that commit genocide in the future might enjoy the sort of hemming-and-hawing that consigns the worst sins of man against man to the dustbin of history.

…and jeopardize Israel’s import of Turkish tomatoes????

Steve Rosenberg says:

It is a disgrace that here in the year 2010 the issue is still being debated in Israel. Israel should feel such shame for not standing up long before now. Add to the list of Armenian genocide-deniers and Holocaust-deniers those who will be Israel-destroyed deniers when Turkey, Iran and the rest of Israel’s enemies coalesce and succeed in wiping Israel out. Think it can’t happen? Think some of Israel’s “Allies” would not look the other way if it meets their regional needs and goals?

Lionel Gaffen says:

When Mr. Balakian states unequivocally,that:” While the Turkish-led mission focused on a grave human rights crisis—Israel’s oppressive treatment of Gaza’s Palestinians “-I see a person who has made his mind up about that issue, without knowing the facts[as most of the rest of the world does]and leads me to question the rest of his thesis, as being slanted. The Gaza strip has two borders, one with Egypt, and one with Israel. Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, and has continued to be bombarded by the reigning terrorist groups, specifically, Hamas, who took conrol of the area from the PA Authority by brutal force, in 2007.
Egypt conrols an extensive border with the Gaza Strip, and keeps that border sealed for the same reason that Israel does, because of the threat of terrorism by Hamas, who would link up with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in order to try to bring down the government there. There is no human rights crisis in Gaza, except for the one perpetrated by the Hamas terrorist organization, who terrorize their own population. Israel delivers to the Gaza strip, all the humanitarian supplies that are sent legally, via the UN, and allows Gazans who require medical treatment that is unavailable there to come to Israel- several thousand come each year. There is no oppressive treatment of the Gaza strip inhabitants by Israel, because there is no direct contact with them, and the Gazans are free to leave Gaza via Egypt whenever they are allowed to by the Egyptian government.
He continues: ” Turkey’s righteous indignation toward Israel..” should read’act of righteous indignation ‘, as he goes to point out that it is hypocritical of them.
Had Balakian not made these outlandish opening remarks, his thesis would have carried more weight, with this reader, at least. I do agree, that it is long overdue to have historians present their views as to what really transpired, as best as can be done, after a 95 year period, and that Israel make itself heard.

Harold says:

Mr. Balakian:

You lost me in the second paragraph where you wrote “a grave human rights crisis—Israel’s oppressive treatment of Gaza’s Palestinians”.

For you to write this as being so obviously and objectively true that it requires no elaboration or nuance completely vitiates anything else you may have written here.

First of all it is “Alleged Armenian Genocide” as no consensus has ever been reached beyond the fanatical Armenian groups!

The Armenian militias having sided with Russia which the Ottoman Turks were fighting had started a rampage of pillage, killings and rape behind the defensive lines.

As for “tiny Israel” the undeclared Terrorist State which has murdered ten unarmed Turkish Civilians after attacking a civilian supply vessel in eastern Mediterranean in International Waters she is alreayd condemned by the International Community and got totally isolated for her crimes!

Turkey is the World’s 16th largest economy with the 2nd fastest growing GDP and will NEVER give in to ‘blackmail’ such as the tone in the above article.

Microscopic Israel BADLY NEEDS Turkey far more than Turkey NEEDS Israel!

Therefore a change of attitude would only solidify Turkish Resolve and further unite the Secular and Pious Turks in their digust toward Israel.

Guess who would be the most likely LOSER in such an eventuality? A nation with half the population of Istanbul; Israel or TURKEY?

David Boyajian says:

Fortunately, there has been progress in calling attention to the holocaust hypocrisy of groups such as the Anti-Defamation League.

3 years ago, Armenian Americans called on the ADL to stop denying the Armenian genocide and to stop working with Turkey to defeat Armenian genocide resolutions in the US Congress. As a result, the ADL’s denials became international news, and caused a great deal of tension between Turkey and Israel.

In Massachusetts, more than a dozen cities, citing the ADL’s immoral and hypocritical stance, severed ties with the ADL’s alleged “No Place for Hate” program. The MMA (Massachusetts Municipal Association), which had co-sponsored the NPFH program, did the same.

This website tells it all: http://www.NoPlaceForDenial.com

The ADL has still not acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Its statement of August 21, 2007 was actually a denial of the Armenian genocide because it implied that the genocide was not intentional on the part of Turkey. That is, the ADL statement deliberately contravened Article II of the UN Genocide Treaty of 1948 which requires “intent” by the perpetrator.

Please read the horrendous record of certain other groups such as the AJC, JINSA, and others in their genocide denials:

http://npfdinfo.blogspot.com/2007/10/press-kit-history-of-opposing.html

Interestingly, the immoral behavior of these Jewish American groups, did not buy them much from Turkey in the long run, as Turkey continually spits in the faces of Israel and Jews.
Sorry, but it’s the truth. Talk about “appeasement”!

Sadly, these same groups are sticking with Turkey out of sheer desperation. Pathetic.

What the ADL, AJC, etc. are doing, though they don’t seem to care, is confirming that their talk about the Holocaust stems not from morality and principle, but from the desire to use it for political gain. That is not true of all Jewish groups, of course. Just the top lobbying organizations.

A.L. Bell says:

I think Jews and Israelis should recognize the genocide against the Armenians and also recognize that we all live in a fallen state. We all are injured by all genocides, and, at some level, most of us who are literate adults who have some cash and the ability to vote share some responsibility for all of the genocides committed during our lifetimes.

Turkey should let historians and the courts do their best to respond to what happened, and, at the same time, that’s true for every jurisdiction on Earth.

We in the United States should do more to take responsibility for and atone for the many atrocities committed in our homelands or committed in our names, and the same is true, of course, for England, France, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, etc. etc. Maybe there are some countries and peoples that are truly eternally blameless, but my geography isn’t good enough for me to know who they are. My guess is that, if you know enough about “vegan pastoral tribes people in Obscuristan,” you can find some skeletons in their storage hides, too.

I think that, if the message is, “We are humans together, we have sinned, let us try to remember the victims, help the survivors and be better people,” maybe, in the long run, that would be a lot better received than, “Hey, you jerks killed a bunch of people. You’re evil monsters.”

Peace Power says:

Levo,
I am not sure how you can sleep at night with such statements you have posted? I am not sure if you are human being or just a robot singing the old songs of Ottoman and Neo-Turks. How possibly anyone can ever say what you have said, unless you have participated in mass murder yourself.

Israel’ reliance on Turkey for it’s water supply may have something to do with Israel’s reluctance to denounce the Ottoman oppression. Or, is it something else hidden behind the cloak of a government’s visage?

Many sources actually suggest that the Turkish Zionists were involved in the Armenian Genocide, meaning Turkish Jews. I wouldn’t be surprised and I highly recommend people to examine this and bring it up on surface. Israel plays games on many levels and this is beyond ridiculous! Maybe we need to study the actually truth about the Holocaust? Were there really 6 million death? Who claims this number and where is the evidence behind this?

Herbert Kaine says:

Turkey is an Iranian province. Dont worry about what Erdoganojad says

“Zionists were jailed and killed outright by the Turkish government through the end of World War I.”

Not so true, there were plenty of Turkish Jews who had very high status in the Ottoman Empire and supported Zionism.

“Rather, might this be a time—when the ironies of history have surfaced in the wake of the flotilla episode—for Israel and some Jewish diasporan organizations to rethink the moral concession Israel has made in this ethical arena—not as revenge against Turkey, but as thoughtful reflection on painful truths?”

Do you really want the sympathy of these people? Not only has Israel known very well about the Armenian Genocide, not only did they remain neutral, but they came out and denied and and actively lobbied the US govt to do the same. These are the supposed “inheritors of the Holocaust”. They knew all along and they denied it. I do not want their sympathy now that they want to exploit my people and our suffering to use as a political tool against Turkey. I saw enough after the flotilla when a bunch of right wing Israeli nutbags suddenly decided to go to the Turkish embassy with posters about the Armenian Genocide, and hold an Armenian flag upside down. These people are disgraceful and I want no sympathy from them.

David Boyajian says:

Fortunately, there has been progress in calling attention to the hypocrisy of groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

3 years ago, Armenian Americans called on the ADL to stop denying the Armenian genocide and to stop working with Turkey to defeat Armenian genocide resolutions in the US Congress. As a result, the ADL’s
denials became international news, and caused a great deal of tension between Turkey and Israel.

In Massachusetts, more than a dozen cities, citing the ADL’s unacceptable stance, severed ties with the ADL’s so-called “No Place for Hate” (NPFH) program. The MMA (Massachusetts Municipal Association), which had co-sponsored NPFH, did the same.

This website documents most of the campaign: http://www.NoPlaceForDenial.com

The ADL has still not acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Its statement of August 21, 2007 was actually a denial of the Armenian genocide because it implied that the genocide was not intentional on the part of Turkey. That is, the ADL statement contravened Article II of the UN Genocide Treaty of 1948 which requires
“intent” by the perpetrator.

Please read the following documented record of certain other groups such as the AJC and others in their Armenian genocide denials (many of these articles are from Jewish media):

http://npfdinfo.blogspot.com/2007/10/press-kit-history-of-opposing.html

I could say a lot more but since my previous post was not accepted, I will now censor myself and leave things there.

Everyone knows the truth!

Why would you expect Israel to to recognize the Armenian genocide when they massacre women and children in Gaza and South Lebanon?

Lets gets facts straight. There was no Armenian genocide, there was what is now known as an “ethnic cleansing”: forceful transfer of the entire ethnic group of people from one place to another. During that transfer from Western Armenia to the eastern parts of Ottoman empire many Armenians died: some from malnutrition, some from hardships of trip, some were killed because they resisted and some probably were killed without reason. While “ethnic cleansing” is a war crime – it was not a genocide. So, Israel is right by not acknowledging it as a genocide. As to Armenians I want remind them that not hundred years ago but just very-very recently they conducted the same policy of “ethnic cleansing” against Azeri population in Nagorny-Karabach. So, instead of blaming Israel for refusing to acknowledge Turkish “ethnic cleansing” why not to start from yourself first?
Regarding Turkish-Israeli affair – there is no winner in the deterioration of relations between two countries. They both benefited from them until majority of Turks (but certainly not all of them) elected in the government a pair of Islamic fundamentalists, who think like suicide bombers: it is good to kill myself because by killing myself I also will kill few Jews. Just instead of one crazy maniac Erdogan and Co. sacrifices for that purpose their entire country.

michael yomtov says:

i begin to wonder if israel’s people, having been through the fires as victims, now feel some compulsion to indulge in a near-suicidal dance of machismo before going back to a clear understanding of right and wrong, of the fundamental goodness our people and documents brought into the world. there is a kind of ‘acting out’, and strange friendships with people with dirty hands and hearts. recent actions and alliances don’t bring us closer to being ‘but little lower than angels’. what would isaiah and jeremiah make of all this? what should we?

there are all kinds of arguments above, but our peoplehood was a commitment to do and be a ‘light’. somehow we must find that torch again and hold it high for light, nor for the heat of horror. political pragmatism is not the answer we need. or should want.

How can Israel accept Armenian Genocide when they are currently doing genocide on Palestine?

Israel and Turkey are Very much the same, both were created from committing genocide on the native people of those lands, in Western Armenia and in Palestine. They learn well from each other.

And to some Jewish on here saying “Hamas is terrorist” well there would be no “terrorist” if you did not steal someones land and do a genocide on them. We had many Armenian freedom fighters who stood up for their nation and the same with Palestinian freedom fighters who stand up for their nation. We should support the people with the common struggle and support the revolutionaries.

Taline Hovsepian says:

There is no doubt that there were Turkish Zionist Jews who supported and partcipated in the genocide of Armenians. The Republic of Turkey was built upon the theft and cleansing of Armenians, just as the so called State of Israel was build on the cleansing and theft of land from Palestinians.

I personally support the Flotilla because it brought attention to the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza, and people sacrificed their lives for Gaza. Though I am against Erdogan acting so self righteous and proclaiming himself a champion of human rights. Erdogan should recognize the Armenian Genocide before he opens his big mouth.

Israel does not want to recognize the Armenian Genocide, this will divert attenion away from the Holocaust. Israel must make sure the world is very focused on the uniqueness of the Holocaust, this way, they can use it and use the idea of “anti semitism” as their “get out of jail free card” as they continue their 62 years of ethnically cleansing Palestine.

NoName says:

I’ve looked through some comments here. One thing is sure : many so called “jewish” readers have handwriting of many “turkish/azeri” government web-workers spreading denialism and official propaganda. The same arguments, lies and stupidity for ignorant readers. One the best turkish-azeri propaganda is that the Armenians have conducted a genocide in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and when it comes to Israel … they would say the same “Israelis” organize a genocide of Palestinians.

I wish Turks were as cruel as Armenians are with the Azeris. And I wish the Germans were as cruel as the Israelis are with the Palestinians ;)

Hey, Turkish ideologists !
Please, renew your arguments list. It so old that it stinks.

Dani Levi says:

Levo is the classic hysterical Turkish sub-fascist who was missing here. It is good he walked into the room and screamed “Heil Hitler”. Nice to meet you Levo.
It is precisely because of your mind set that Turkeyland will never be part of the EU, because you guys are, deep down authoritarian little mofos who for obvious reasons never learn. Attaturk failed miserably , it is remarkable that what that man tried to kick start all those years ago is now dead in the water. Instead of getting rid of authoritarian Islam, you now have an authoritarian nationalistic islamistic state. Kind of ironic.

If Israeli Knesset decided to pass genocide legislation tomorrow, I would tell them to take it and shove it. They wont do it, anyways, they are to preoccupied carrying out a genocide of their own. I used to feel bad for Jews, I used to feel bad for what happened during the Holocaust, but the Holocaust and anti semitism are now just an excuse for Israel to do whatever the hell they want. Who else gets away with 62 years of ethnic cleansing in the holy land?

beirutsi says:

We do not have things in ‘common’ with jews. The jews have things in ‘common’ with turks, an artificial state with artificial identity. Our struggle as armenians is the same struggle of palestinians. Detatchment from homeland, ethnic cleansing, land theft, destruction of villages, attempts to erase our history, etc.

Hryanere mart chen ellar. Asonk sadanayin chojukhnern en.

Dani Levi says:

Yes, a note of interest.
There were Armenian factions in the Lebanese civil war who fought along side the PLO and other Palestinians
in Beirut against the IDF and their allies. This is why some Armenians have little sympathy for Israel. One US-Armenian fighter was born in Visalia, CA, and ended up fighting during the civil war. His name was Monte Melkonian. He went from an all American boy to become an Armenian war hero who later fell in Armenia during another war there.

Bizarre to me that Israel would not recognize the Armenian Genocide. Of course I understand why the gov’t is reluctant to do so- Turkey is one of Israel’s few allies in the Arab/Muslim world, and after the Mavi Marmara incident, tensions are stretched even thinner.

But I feel- and I don’t think this should even have to be said- that ethics and morals should take precedence over politics.

Interesting anecdote- the first time I learned about the Armenian Genocide was, in fact, in Israel. I was sixteen, visiting for the first time. In the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, my parents shopped for dishware at a ceramics shop. I wandered to the other side of a courtyard, watching a group of school children leave an imposing church. They were evidently Israeli kids of Armenian descent, there on a fieldtrip. On the wall of the courtyard, I saw a placard (in Hebrew and Arabic) describing the horrors of the genocide. There were some truly shocking pictures. As a Jewish child growing up in North America, my education had focussed on the Shoah, so I was ignorant of the Armenian Genocide. Interesting that I should first hear of this tragic event in Israel.

Rachel says:

At my university in Canada there is Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week. It’s mostly put together by Hillel and the Armenian students.

Additionally, the comments here are absolutely shocking to me!

Half are from anti-Israel Armenians spewing venom- why they are even here I don’t know.; don’t people know this is a Jewish site? how can they expect a good response?- and the other half are from anti-Palestinian right-wing nutjobs, who shame other Jews.

What ever happened to centrism? To thinking? What is wrong with you people?

To a person without a name (Armenian, most likely): The treament of Azeris in Nagorny-Karabah:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagorno-Karabakh
In 1989 (before conflict started) 76% of population were Armenians and 22% were Azeris. In 2001 (when conflict ended) 95% of population were Armenians and ZERO % Azeris.
I heard you wish Jews would treat Israeli Arabs the way Armenians treated Azeris.
Did I hear it correctly?
As I said: Armenians should first look at their own crimes and violations of human rights before pointing their fingers at someone else. Be honest.

Taline Hovsepian says:

First of all, we are not “Israeli from Armenian descent”. We are Palestinian-Armenians. We have been in Palestine long before the creation of Israel. My family was from Yafa, and was deported by terrorist Zionists. Armenians felt the Nakbah just as Arabs did. Any non-Jew was cleansed. Over 75% of Armenians of Palestine have been cleansed and deported from our land by Jews.

We were in Palestine far longer than the Zionists who came here and tried to make a “Jewish state”. Why don’t we respect Israel? Lets see, besides the fact that far over half our population was cleansed, our Armenian church property was stolen, our churches were attacked by Jewish terrorists, our clergy gets spit on by radical Jews, the Israeli government revokes our IDs, kills our brothers and sisters, and the fact that after almost 2000 years in the Holy Land, our presence is facing extinction due to Jewish colonization. You want me to respect Israel? In my mind Israel does not exist, it is an artificial colonizing entity of racist Jews. When we came here, we came to Palestine. We were respected by Arabs, we were welcomed and able to bring more Armenians and increase our properties. Under the Jews, ha.

Ilana, you didn’t hear about the Armenian Genocide in Israel. You heard about it from Armenians in the Old City in Palestine. Israel doesnt teach the Armenian Genocide, and most Israelis living in their bubble do not even know what the Armenian genocide is. When every April 24th Armenians protest, there was never any Israelis joining in or supporting Armenians. Only some Palestinians came and Palestinian clergy.

Besides what Israel has done to the Armenian population, Israel is also an artificial state founded on the ethnic cleansing of other people from their land. Being Armenians, it is only natural to feel sympathy with Palestinian Arabs. Anyway, all non-Jews have the same fate under the Israeli colonization system.

I am surprised by some of the posts outright denying the event of an Armenian Genocide, or demoting it to an “ethnic cleansing.” Isn’t a main post-genocidal feature of genocide denial? Isn’t denying a genocide subversive to the Holocaust itself? Part of the reason there are so many Armenians living outside of Armenian and speaking a different dialect from native Armenians is that they were displaced peoples. Doesn’t that sound familiar, displaced peoples? Finally, the Armenian Genocide occurred before the Holocaust, in fact Hitler’s justification for the Holocaust is based on the phrase “Who remembers the Armenians?” Perhaps if someone had remembered the Armenians 6 million Jews would not have died (and so on…). We must remember ALL genocides so that we can cleanse this collective human consciousness of ours that we have sullied.

Canadian says:

Gene, you are incorrect by saying it was not a genocide, instead ‘ethnic cleansing’. First off, they are not mutually exclusive. Since genocide is defined as killing a race or nation or ethnicity in part or in whole, you can accomplish this by ‘ethnic cleansing’… Let me explain.

There were indeed round ups and massacres well before 1915 (Van, Adana, Hamidian massacres) which resulted in the murder (or cleansing in the eyes of the perpetrators) of Armenians. When 1915 came around, the march into the Syrian desert was played off as your so called definition of ‘ethnic cleansing’. But, let me ask you this: If you were to force a living being into an area with no water or food, without allowing them to bring and water or food, would you expect that they live or die. Just answer that. Then you can determine whether this was a genocide or… “ethnic cleansing” can, at times, equal genocide. In this case, it was!

Lusine Bedrosian says:

Armenians, Assryians, Kurds, Greeks, Pontic Greeks, Lebanese Maronites were in their lands 11 centuries before the invasion of the Ottoman Mongolians from Central Asia in the 1400s. Our ancient churches are a testimony of life that pre dates any such new concept of “Turkey” which was established in 1923. Today Turkey systematically continues their control of our ancient Christian buildings: Ani Cathedreal where on 10/1 Turkish Nationalist stormed the church with flags and shamelessly held Islamic friday prayers. and the control of the Akhtamar Church which the Turkish Ministry culture attempted to turn into a museum as they did to our beautiful St. Hagia Sofia Church which was first converted to a Mosque- then the name of Constaniople changed to Istanbul.
The sad part is most Turkish people do not know their roots, or what blood runs through their veins. Most are ethnic backgrounds of Turkey’s conquered lands Circassian, Armenian,Kurd, etc., As Author turkish lawyer found out Fethiye Cetin that her maternal grandmother was an Armenian Orphan. This Turkification of the world is still remembered by the Europeans that want nothing to do with Turkey in the EU, They do not trust Turkey, Russia tolerates Turkey, even their moslem Arab brothers in the middle east remember the Ottoman YOKE and Sword. And their only trading partner Israel is done with Turkey and their racism. Turkey’s only buddy is Azerbaijan which is another conquered Ottoman land of ancient Albania/ Iberia. pathetic.

The shame of the Turks and the shame of the Jews. The Turks came from Mongolia to conquer the Middle East, and leave Arabs, Armenians, Greeks under their occupation for years. Now the Jews have come from Europe, to occupy Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. It is no wonder they are best friends, that they defend each other. Turkey is the only ‘Muslim’ state to recognize the Zionist entity and to have military agreements with them. Although Arab dictators do business with the Zionist entity (Jordan, Egypt) neither has gone so far as to have military agreements with them. Their relationship will not end, because the Zionist entity needs Turkey for its survival. Turks and Jews do not have any shame for their past and what they have done in the past, therefore they carry on their shameful actions today. The Turks in their treatment of ethnic minorities, the Jews in their cleansing of Palestine and occupation of Arab lands. The Turkish regime likes to use some rhetoric to give lip service to Arabs, as if we have forgotten the treatment of Arabs under the Ottoman empire and we have forgotten they are the only “Muslim” country in military agreements with the Zionist entity. Now the Zionist entity is developing strong relations with another one of the enemies of Armenians, the Azeris. The Zionist loving “secular Shia Muslims” are now increasing their friendship with the Zionist entity. In return, the Zionist entity is providing weapons to the Azeris to kill the Armenians and try to re-occupy Artsakh.

I am proud to come from a country which recognized the Armenian Genocide 10 years ago. Lebanon, under a half-Armenian president Emile Lahoud, passed a genocide resolution unanimously through Parliament and honored the Lebanese-Armenians and gave justice to the 1.5 million Armenians who were martyred. I am also proud that the Lebanese-Armenians fought alongside their Arab brothers and sisters for the Resistance against Zionist occupation of Lebanon.

Bagramian says:

Thanks for a very informed article, Mr. Balakian. But I am terribly sorry it has incited such a vicious and poisonous comments from readers.

As an Armenian I am terribly sorry to hear my compatriots using the word “genocide” to describe what Israel is or is not doing in Gaza or did in Lebanon. This is humiliating, as it demonstrates utter ignorance of facts and complete lack of appreciation, by us Armenians, for the complexities and distinctions involved, and a serious lack of understanding what our Genocide was.

Dear hayer, those of you who show all the signs of being anti-Semites, at the minimum, please go and study the basics of the Armenian genocide, before you start comparing it to what is taking place in Palestine.

It is this kind of reckless and stupid usage of terms, hatred of others and disrespect of history that may get us further into trouble, as opposed to helping us find justice for our cause: the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey, its allies and the world, and seeing a free and prosperous Artsakh and Armenia.

Taline Hovsepian says:

Baron Bagramian
Haydni e vor amerga hye es, gam asank cheyr khoser. Menk arap kaghakneroun mech 100 dari abrereink, yev baghasteenin mech 2000 dari abrereink. Menk hye lipanansinere, suryatsinere, hortanantsinere, yev bagahsteensinere amen inch deserenk vor hryanere erin. So hajees mi khoseer yete ches desadz. Hryanere im medz babas spanetsin yafa’in mech. Meg ankam yerusaghem yegoor yev ge desnas hryane inch gnengor. Toon kna hryaneroun kove, jishd kurderun bes

Hannah Arendt, philosopher, shows her ignorance when it comes to the Armenian Genocide.
Vladimir Jankélevitch, great philosopher at the Sorbonne, proves not to be knowledgeable when it comes to the Armenian Genocide. Israel is following its proper selfish interests when it actively denies the facticity of the Armenien Genocide. When Yishuv students are spitting at Armenian priests in the Old City they prove their superiority!

What happened actually to the surviving women? (Some were NOT killed!)
–> Armenian women as prostitutes
“During the massacres some pretty girls survived. After abusing them by the dozen or so at a time, these women were taken to Ras-ul-Ain and Mardin by camels to be sold. Before their rape, they were sold for 20 ghurush. The raped girls were sold for as little as five ghurush. A few of these women who had somehow survived in this or that corner were brought to Der Zor. The chief of police, Mustapha, converted the Syriac Catholic churche to a whore house and filled it with these women who were forced to work there for months.” (Rita Soulahian Kuyumjian: The Survivor, 2010).

I am still appreciating Hannah Arendt. And I still love reading ‘l’amour et les vertus’ by Vladimir Jankélevitch. And I still have admiration for a number of great achievements of the state of Israel. And I still have friends studying the Mishna.

Levo – shame! Once again you blackmail. There were incredible massacres in Yozgat, Izmit, Adana. Those Armenians never ever have seen any Russian. Hundreds of Armenian intellectuals arrested on April 24 of 1915 have nothing to do with Russia. Poor Krikor Zohrab, he even sheltered Talaat during the revolution and on April 24 Talaat “paid” him back…

Gene — Although Nagorno-Kharabah is not a topic of this forum, I would like to respond to your post. When you talk about decrease of Azeri population and deportations in Kharabah, you forget to mention that when Lenin randomly awarded the area to Azerbaijan the Armenian population of Kharabah was over 90%. By the 1970s and 80s, under Azeri rule, it decreased to 75%. In 1918, Nahitchevan had 40% Armenian population. Under Soviet-Azeri rule, Armenian presence in Nahitchevan became non-existent. Do you see a pattern here? Armenia is a small country in a dangerous neighborhood and Armenians have a long history of population and and loss (Armenian Genocide, loss of Western Armenia to Turkey). De-Armenization of Nahitchevan was a good example of what awaited NK under control Azeri government.
More on topic — Armenian genocide continues, 100 years later, as long as Turkey, Israel, US, et al continue to deny it. It is especially shameful that Israel, the nation of people who survived the holocaust, is in the company of genocide deniers. It is painful, that acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide is mostly used as a political and diplomatic tool, and it is a sad state of our humanity, if the moral outrage over a genocide is undermined by politics, trade and military agreements.

Phantom says:

Israel refuses to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. The only influential Jewish groups that lobby the U.S. Congress all openly and vehemently oppose recognition of the Armenian Genocide. These are AIPAC, JINSA, AJC, and the ADL. The Armenian Genocide resolution would have been passed by Congress long ago if not for the opposition of these powerful groups, because the Turkish lobby in the U.S. alone is no match for the Armenian lobby. These facts alone will explain the angry comments we see here from Armenians, particularly those from Lebanon, a country that has acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.

However, we Armenians need to remember that the fact of the Armenian Genocide is today a non-issue largely because of the research and scholarship of Jewish historians. So while the U.S. and Israeli governments may still refuse to officially acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, it has become impossible for academics and scholars to deny it in the face of contemporary scholarship. In other words, while we may have lost a few battles so far (ones that we will eventually win), we are winning the war against Genocide denial and revisionism, and our most important allies in that struggle have been Jewish scholars. I believe Mr. Balakian did a good job pointing that out.

For those nationalist Turks who can’t help themselves from posting denialist garbage, I have one question: How do you go about eliminating almost entirely a specific ethnic group composed of 2 million people from their ancestral homeland of 2500 years within a matter of just 3 years (1915-1918) without a monumental, planned and concerted effort? Use the little brains you have to think about that.

I agree with “I’ve looked through some comments here. One thing is sure : many so called “Jewish” readers ARE ACTUALLY “turkish/azeri” government web-workers spreading denialism and official propaganda. The same arguments, lies and stupidity for ignorant readers. One the best turkish-azeri propaganda is that the Armenians have conducted a genocide in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and when it comes to Israel … they would say the same “Israelis” organize a genocide of Palestinians.

I wish Turks were as cruel as Armenians are with the Azeris. And I wish the Germans were as cruel as the Israelis are with the Palestinians ;)

Hey, Turkish ideologists !
Please, renew your arguments list. It so old that it stinks.

Joseph Rones says:

sorry for just lurking. But both the article and the discussion are facsinating.

Gayane says:

Levo and Gene.. you both need some professional help. To be honest with you, people like you remind me of your blood thirsty Genocide commiting ancestors and why not Facist Nazis… no difference.

You both are products of Turkish govt brainwashing project. One of the commentators stated beautifully when he said: because of people like you (and we know there are many of you out there) that Europe will never allow Turkey to join the UN.. and say AMEN to that…

What would you do if YOU find out that YOUR govt’ past and present is guilty of the Armenian Genocide… will you have enough brain capacity to digest what truly happened? I hope so because we don’t want to commit suicide when you find out whose blood is running through your denialists veins…

The day will come when Turkey will pay for all those innocent lives tha were taken by brutal murder.

Thank you

Dear Armenians, if you think that accusations and hatred toward Jewish state expressed here by some your kinsmen will win you sympathy and understanding among Jews then you are mistaken. Even those of us who at the beginning were leaning toward your side of the story now maybe are changing their minds. Our understanding of your grievances is proportional to your understanding of ours. Some of you think that since a bandit has a knife while policeman has a gun then the bandit is right. As long as you come with such ludicrous measure to the ME crisis – you won’t gain many friends among Jews. We have a lot in common: we share long history of persecution and injustice and don’t forget: during tumultuous times of WWI when Turks conducted “ethnic cleansing” (genocide – if you wish) of Armenian population Jews from Yishuv (present day Israel) fought on your side. But that does not justify your ignorance and self-righteousness when it comes to the ME crisis.(I mentioned Nagorno-Karabach to remind you about that fact). Another thing for you not to forget: Israel improved relations with Turkey only AFTER Armenia aligned itself with the Palestinian dictator Arafat. After. Not before that. Keep in mind: the action always brings counter-action.

beirutsi says:

gene is jewish, not turk. And gene, actually we know the middle east very well since we have been here since before the jews made big aliyah and caused the problems and decide to ethnically cleanse palestine, including palestinian armenians, and then to occupy syria and lebanon.
we do not want your sympathy anyways because it will be hypocritical of you. And so you know, armenians have honor and will not bow down to zionists to get jewish sympathy. I never denied the holocaust for a political reason like zionists did. I never tried to use the holocaust as a political tool like jews try to do with the armenian genocide. So i will maintain my honor and you can answer to god. By the way there is many holocaust survivors who say the zionists are acting like nazis.
and armenia never aligned themselves with arafat. Only armenian groups in lebanon and it was directly the cause of zionists creating a jewish state in palestine. There was never supposed to be a jewish state in palestine. Herzl first picked argentina and uganda and only mentioned palestine, and after herzl died the wzo tried to take over and change things. And even when weizman made the agreement with arabs, it never allowed for a jewish state in palestine. Get your history straight before you talk. Exodus of armenians from m.e., especially palestine, is because of zionism. Remember when you turned armenian population of haifa from 10,000 to 1,000 overnight?

I fully subscribe to Bagramian’s worries. Anti-Semitism is as repugnant as anti-Armenianism and indeed any other xenophobia. Whatever stand or judgment we may have about the actions of the state of Israel, that does not give us the right to deny the right of existence of that country. Individual Armenians who engage in venomous anti-Semitism are surely not representative of the whole Armenian people.

Katharina says:

Spot on! Israel must stand on the side of its supporters, not its enemies – Islamist Turkey is definitely an enemy! Also, by bringing the Armenian Genocide to the forefront again, and later on, the Cyprus Greek Exodus, hopefully will defeat the unacceptable but most dangeorous contempt and arrogance of the Islamists in Turkey towards the Jews and Israel, but also hopefull will defeat their stealth ambition to get into the EU!

Dani Levi says:

Gene,
I think it is an accepted fact in most Western academic circles that there was a genocide. Had there been no genocide, these Genocide conferences would not be such a problem for the macho Turks. For as Erdogan says, “A Muslim is not capable of committing genocide.” ( regarding Darfur ).
See, it is a Islamist improbability that a Muslim can do any harm, just ask the Prime Minister, he will tell you the truth. Just do not read any HRW or Amnesty reports about the Kurdish cultural genocide in Eastern Turkeyland. They too have it all wrong.

beirutsi says:

to ‘armenians’ who is supporting israel right to exist.. Haha.. hryaneroun vorere bid hampourek? Iraven? ‘israil’ chga. Hryanere nouyn pane erin baghasteensineroun vor turkere erin mezi, payts hryanere vatsun-yergoo daree asi gnengor. Ayd hryanere baghasteenin mech togh yed yevroba yertan, kermanyain mech togh hryastan shnen. kidek, turk hrya al ga inchbes vor turk dajik ga. Turk hryanern al spanetsin mezi. Amot tzeze vor asank ge khoseekgor yerp vor panme chek kider . Hryanere incher erin hayeroun baghasteenin mech, lipananin mech, suryain mech..

Dani, “genocide” is the deliberate extermination of certain religious, ethnic or national group. Did Turks deliberately exterminate Armenians in 1915? Armenians were forced to leave their homes, then they were marched for a thousand of miles to the west and released in Syria. During the eviction and, particularly, during the march many died from malnutrition and hardship or were killed by Turkish soldiers. About half of Armenians, though, survived. Does this fact represent willful extermination of Armenians? To be a genocide it must be proved that Turks designed this march to exterminate Armenians and not just to relocate them. Otherwise it is an “ethnic cleansing”. Crime, but not a genocide.
To beirutsi: If you don’t care about our opinion why do you insist that Israel should acknowledge Armenian genocide?

WE AS A PEOPLE SHOULD CONDEMN THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT FOR HAVING THE NERVE TO DENY WHAT CLEARLY DID OCCUR. LETS NOT ARGUE ABOUT TERMINOLOGY; LETS DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND FORCE THE TURKS TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THEY DID.

beirutsi says:

half of armenia was cleansed, what is not eastern turkey was western armenia. Of course it was delibarate because the ittihadists said the goal was to eliminate the armenians. And i really dont care, i am just pointing out hypocrisy of jewish like you. I do not even recognize ‘israil’ so anything they would do is meaningless

TurkishBoy says:

Just when you thought Israel could not go any lower, it is now blackmailing Turkey with a genocide recognition. If Israel truly believes that the genocide really happened, it should recognize it independent of the relationship with Turkey. In any case there is a lot of debate going on in Turkey regarding the issue, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some settlement and reconciliation is reached with Armenia in the near future. However, most Turks and the Turkish government are really tired of being blackmailed with an issue that is a hundred years old and is exploited by third parties for their own political games of the present. Turkey has far more important issues to deal with right now, and Israel’s recognition of the events in the very least will be a non-issue, and at most it will strengthen the hands of those that are opposed to friendly relations between the two countries. In particular such an act will offend the secular nationalists and the military the most, and they are Israel’s strongest allies in Turkey, while strengthening the current pro-Islamic government which is in favor of reconciliation with Armenia. With so many enemies surrounding it, Israel can ill afford to loose its only genuine ally in the Muslim world.

And while you speak so ill of the Ottoman Empire in this article, please, don’t forget that it was that very empire that saved the lives of countless Saphardic Jews when they were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition and provided them with a new home.

TurkishBoy says:

I just noticed that this article was written by Peter Balakian – a virulent Armenian nationalist with ingrained hatred of anything Turkish. Balakian is an English professor, not a historian mind you, and he is known to travel around the country telling people how horrible the Turks are. His English degree does not give him any credibility as an expert in history. Even more, his book on the armenian genocide reads more like a work of fiction rather than an actual recount of historical events. For Mr Balakian to be taken seriously, he really needs to tone down the anti-turkish hatred in his speeches and lectures, one of which I had the misfortune to attend couple of years ago. I am sure he would be delighted to see Israel and Turkey go further apart, but I don’t think this would be in the best interest of the people of Israel and the people of Turkey.

Very important !

It could be that Hadj amin al Husseini (the mufti of Jerusalem friend of the nazi specialy of Himmler) have started his political education not only into beign involve in the muslim brotherhood but also in the armenian genocide during when he was in the Ottoman army.

In other hand, it was a nazi armenian group and armenia governement is close with iran, to suffer from a genocide doesnt make you an allie, Israel as tiny state have to look for allies than to give some lecons to the world,
our bible have already done it before we knows how hard was the “thanks” of the world.

feed the raven : they will eat your eyes.

We need to get educated about the real Erdogan and the real Gulen because the governments of Turkey have traditionally been deceivers who fool Jews and the naive Western nations.
Below are 2 informative articles by Jewish Americans that will help you understand the real Turkey, not the one fed to you by the American State Department, the European Union, and the Wall Street Journal:

Rachel Sharon Krespi write about Erdogan and Gulen:
http://www.meforum.org/2045/fethullah-gulens-grand-ambition

Andrew Bostom writes the article entitled “Erdogan has a Judeophobic and Nazi-Like Background”:
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2010/06/erdogan-has-judeophobic-nazi-like.html

Phantom says:

Gene, do you need a signed affidavit from Talaat and Enver declaring “When we sent women and children on foot for hundreds of miles in circuitous routes with no food or water into the desert where there were no provisions (food, water, shelter or medicine) available to sustain their lives, what we were trying to do is kill them, and we were successful, because at least 1 million of them did in fact die and there are no Armenians left in Anatolia, which is there ancestral homeland. So our intent was to exterminate the Armenians, and we were largely successful.” Is that what you really need to prove this crime? Then guess what, you’re going to have a hard time proving the Holocaust too!

Armenian says:

For those who argue there was no genocide in 1915 get a book and read the history. Armenia always existed and will continue existing. Remember only Christian nation never change its faith. The land that is taken from as will get it back little by little and may take years.

Angelo Angeli says:

I hope that everyone realizes that MONEY does talk and please
don’t be so surprised if Israel decided to choose Turkey over reconizing the 1915 Armenian GENOCIDE when 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated.
Even Germany who was Turkey’s ally at the time documented the events.
One must ask the question why the Armenian HOLOCAUST/GENOCIDE/WAR CRIMES
call it what you like is not acknowledge by more countries and ISRAEL
should have been one off the firts to do so.
SO MONEY WILL ALWAYS TALK AND FORGET ABOUT JUSTICE OK !!!!!!!!

Angelo Angeli says:

I would also like to point out to our TURKISH friends that the
riots of the 6-7th of September 1955 at CONSTANTINOPLE were committed
against TURKISH citizens yes TURKISH and whos only crime was that
they were of ARMENIAN/GREEK decent.
Can we all be informed as to WHY they were attacked/killed and was this
also lie.
PLEASE EXPAIN WE ARE ALL WAITING
WE ALL WERE’T BORN YESTERDAY MY GOOD FRIENDS.
And TURKEY is still occupying the Northern part of CYPRUS and
then there is the conflict/war with the KURDS.
Who will be on Turkeys list next.

The jews are on turkeys list next and i think despite the hostile acts of the jewish leaders against the armenian diaspora, we should stand with the jewish people to fight turkish aggression against them.

The discussion between armenians and jews are one thing, the turkish hostility and racism against the jewish community another thing.

It should be equally noted that the young Turks, the very same that planned the “Armenian Race extermination” as Henry Morganthau called it while witnessing it, were donemeh, or converted Jews. Talaat and Enver and even later Ataturk were all Jews. Their goal was to gain power and overthrow the Sultan and then have total control over Palestine. The Armenians were in the way and they also had the wealth which was really the main reason for the genocide, theft. So the real fear is that by acknowledging the Armenian genocide the same incarnation of the current Jewish heads of Turkish banking and military would be implicated. Abe Foxman was correct when he said his active thwarting of the Armenian genocide here in the US was to protect the Jews of Turkey. What he really meant was protecting the decendents of the main players in the Armenian Genocide: Talaat, Enver and then Ataturk.

@ John: You are wrong.

Atatürk was half jewish (the family of his father were donmeh)
Talaat, Enver, and Cemal were not jewish, but cirkassians (Cerkez) and albanians. Only Cavit, the finance minister, was a jewish donmeh.

2. The Generals and Mayors in the turkish military are mostly circassians. Even Erdogan himself is from circassian descent.

3. But all these things are meaningless. The murder of the armenians did it in the name of turkism to unite the muslims in the region to one nation. Turkism is a racist ideology, which after the establishing of the turkish republic was modified and unlabelled to kemalism.

The only ones, who try to put the blame on the jews are the turks.

Taline Hovsepian says:

Levon,
Skhal es.
This was on the Armenian channel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBFleg8nvzg and from there you can get the continuations also.

This armenian chanel seems to be a good propaganda tool for turks. Bedros Hajian is a well known fraud. There are a few of them, who are paid by the turkish goverment to propagate this crap.

Armenians are literate people, so why don’t you read a book about the armenian genocide and the history of the young turks?
Yusuf Akcura, Ziya Gökalp, Mehmet Akif Aksoy, Halide Edip Adivar e.g. are the main architectures of the turkish ideology.
Did you know them?

I suspect every so-called armenian, who tells lies about jewish involvement. Mainly this persons are working for turkish institutions.

Taline Hovsepian says:

Oh please Levon. What do you know about Jews? Do you know about Herzls meetings with Sultan Hamid? Do you know that the Jews were willing to do anything to get Palestine? Do you know the Jews cleansed 90% of Armenians from historic Palestine?

BTW Kemalism is not the same as ideology of Young Turks. Those people you mentioned were Kemalists.

emanuela barzani says:

Turkey are the failure to all Middle East – Holocaust denial on the Armenian extermination of the Kurdish people are part of all mysteries Turkey scattering throughout all history – Turkey still has to thank for throwing acid into a pit full of Kurdish villages – Turkey game in two plots in one war game Turkey pursues Kurdish people like Cat and Mouse – on the other hand takes a ride on Ahplastinim exploit the weakness that they favor a peace – as long as Turkey does not return the Kurdish freedom and democracy – Turkey can not get on the stage of peace -

All right – everybody is in the state of denial. Turkey denies it committed 100 years ago genocide against Armenians. Armenians are denying they conducted ethnic cleansing of Azeris in Nagorno-Karabach just 20 years ago. Palestinians are denying they committed genocide against Jews on the West Bank and in Gaza in 1948. But all of them agree that Jewish Zionists are the core of the problems on the Middle East. Sunnis, Shiites, Armenians, Turks, Azeris, Kurds, Iranians, Maronites and even local Jews – they all would live now like a family, in peace and harmony, if not for those vicious Zionists, who introduced the backward eastern society to the notions of democracy, equality and rule of law. Indeed – shame on them.

@ Gene: Go home and make your homeworks.

Fact Man says:

PART 1:

The tragedy of the article is not just that Tabletmag has allowed a hopelessly biased author as Peter Balakian to sully its pages, but that the respondents are so mindlessly uncritical.

These people just don’t care to study the facts, as long as genocide may be proclaimed and they get cheap satisfaction for what they believe is a morally superior stance. They would think otherwise if they were falsely accused of a crime, and found too many other fools agreeing without objective investigation, thus sullying their reputations and causing hatred to form against them.

These fools should read Balakian’s own book, “The Burning Tigris,” where the activist has slung every bit of mud he could find against the Ottoman Turks, of which there was no end, given the deep prejudice the Western world felt – and still feels – toward the Turks. What the fools won’t find is any evidence. There is plenty of hearsay, and Balakian lent credence to forgeries, but he offered nothing that any court would accept as real proof.

With the Malta Tribunal, the British were desperate to find honest evidence proving there was a systematic extermination plan against the Armenians, but all they found was hearsay, and lies.

Therefore, if the genocide-confirming fools can’t find the evidence that even the Turks’ worst enemy (at the time) could not find, what business do they have with such harmful and false accusations?

Half a million Armenians died after being temporarily transported elsewhere, most from famine & disease in what was a devastated nation; more Turkish soldiers died of these causes than through combat. One reason was the naval blockade of Britain and France, intending to starve out the civilian populace.

Sometimes genocide activists, such as Hovannisian, do provide useful facts: 150,000 of the half-million Armenians who died lost their lives years later in Armenia. Yet the fools here will be quick to proclaim these Armenians were also murdered by the Turks.

Fact Man says:

PART 2:

The reason why the Armenians were relocated was that the majority were pushed (over a quarter-century) by their terrorist Dashnak leaders as well as some missionaries. As a result, most had turned against their nation (as main leader Boghos Nubar admitted in 1919 that the Armenians were “belligerents de facto… since they indignantly refused to side with Turkey”) in what was a catastrophic wartime, where the Entente Powers planned nothing less than the destruction of the Turkish nation.

In WWI, the UK imprisoned or deported their German men on the mere suspicion that they might cause trouble; Russia sent their Germans to Siberia, and also deported Muslims who never had the chance to turn traitor.

In order to get the sympathy of Jewish readers, Balakian paints the portrait of Turks as Jew-killers. He brings up the ghost of “an American Jew, Henry Morgenthau,” without mentioning Morgenthau’s propaganda agenda and deep bias, which allowed him to listen to anything his Armenian aides told him. (Stationed in Istanbul, Morgenthau never witnessed anything.) Balakian mentions that in WWII Turkey exported goods to Germany, which is what neutral nations did. What Balakian does not mention is that Turkey, as has been her historic role (since the Inquisition), served as a safe haven for many Jews. He does not mention that the European Armenians joined Hitler whole-heartedly, forming battalions and by policing occupied countries, directly contributing to the Holocaust.

Unlike the Armenians, who had turned against their nation, Ottoman Jews remained loyal. However, there was a small number of Zionists who, like most Armenians, engaged in traitorous activities, most notoriously, the NILI band. Balakian turns this to mean “Zionists were jailed and killed outright,” as though there was a wholesale campaign against the Jews.

If Ottoman Jews were targeted by anyone, it was the Armenians.

Fact Man says:

PART 3:

The Armenians engaged in a wholesale extermination campaign against those who did not fit their racist criteria, during periods when their allies occupied Ottoman territory. Their victims were mainly Muslims, but included the Jews and others as well.

The fools do not care about this part of the equation, and the dishonest Balakian will not bring it up. A British officer estimated the Armenians murdered 300,000-400,000 Ottoman Muslims, in two districts alone. The total was probably about half a million, which equalled the total Armenian dead. The difference was, the Muslim and Jewish victims of the Armenians came far closer to the legal definition of genocide. And unlike what is called the Armenian genocide, for which there is no evidence, there is real evidence for the extermination campaign of the Armenians, such as testimony from their Russian allies, as well as a devastating postwar report by two on-the-spot and pro-Armenian Americans, Niles and Sutherland.

Balakian offers outright lies (“In 1982—by threatening the lives and livelihoods of Jews in Turkey ….”), references to irrelevancies such as a quote Hitler has never uttered, and the prejudiced opinions of genocide scholars, many of whom felt or feel very comfortable about dismissing or distorting the actual facts.

One can point to these authentic facts, and it still will not make a difference with genocide-believers, such as Jason, who implies in his comment that there is a “mountain of evidence” for the Armenian claims as there is with the Holocaust, and actually points to Balakian’s above article as an example. And then he dismisses the Armenians’ extermination efforts focusing instead on the Armenians who were “round[ed] up and killed.” Balakian knows the cards are stacked in his favor, with so many fools in his corner, and thus feels free about making any claim he can get away with – because those such as Jason are uncaring or unwilling to conduct the real investigative work that is necessa

Fact Man says:

I see one of the few sensible contributors here, Gene, raised the ire of the majority, the blind genocide confirmers rushing to judgment. Levon, in the comment preceding mine, especially won the Funny Award by advising Gene to do his homework. Levon’s definition of homework, as with the rest of his ilk, is to consult strictly what Armenian genocide propaganda tells them.

Another comic is “Phantom.” Note how he got upset that Gene required the annoying evidence, so Phantom asked whether Gene desired a signed affidavit from the oh-so-obvious culprits to Phantom’s simple mind, Talaat & Enver.

Pay attention to Phantom’s “Phacts.” The Ottoman Empire was food-starved, so that most of the nearly three million Muslims who died – the victims whose lives don’t count – mostly died of famine & disease, like the Armenians. (Even the soldiers mostly died of famine, that was how bad it was.) So of course the Armenians who were relocated couldn’t be properly treated, but Phantom tells us they got no food or water at all. He does not stop to consider that not a single relocated Armenian could then have survived.

He is wrong about at least 1 million dying. The Armenian population before the war was about 1.5 million, from the period’s non-Turkish sources, even some Armenian ones. Genocide scholars – even Balakian himself — agree 1 million survived. Can fools subtract?

No Armenians left in Anatolia? 400,000-500,000 left on their own during the war. The Armenian Patriarch asserted 645,00 were left in 1921. These Armenians later left by choice because of the bad blood their leaders had created, and because of better opportunities elsewhere.

Yet Phantom will conclude these Armenians were all murdered anyway, and that the “intent…to exterminate,” as he put it, is as clear as day. And then he equates the phony claims of the Armenians with the Holocaust, for which real evidence does exist. Phantom is a prime example of the bigoted and foolish mindset that is prevalent here.

Fact Man says:

[A correction: the figure the Armenian Patriarch vouched for was 645,000, not "645,00."]

You have read above how Phantom irresponsibly concluded that Talaat demonstrated an “intent… to exterminate,” despite lacking the evidence.

One of the many true facts that you will not find in Peter Balakian’s hateful book of propaganda, the one that was mass-purchased by wealthy Armenian-Americans, so that it may be designated as a “New York Times bestseller,” giving it a false status of importance, as stated in Balakian’s above credit:

Talaat Pasha, whom many as Phantom have concluded was the chief orchestrator of their Armenian Genocide concoction, allowed Turk-prejudiced care organizations from America to come in and feed and otherwise take care of the suffering Ottoman-Armenians in 1917. Mind you, these hostile organizations from the USA were from a nation the Ottomans were nominally at war with, making this a case perhaps without historical precedent. Furthermore, Talaat set no conditions, such as requiring these organizations to also take care of the Turks, Muslims and other Ottomans, who were starving no less.

An objective party would conclude Talaat was, in fact, an obviously humanitarian man. Yet the dishonest forces of genocide, in particular the non-scholarly ones who call themselves genocide scholars, anxious as they are to make politicized genocide conclusions to boost their own livelihood, feel no reservation about branding Talaat as another Hitler. There is no end to fools like Phantom who are starved to accept whatever the immoral Armenian and genocide scholars tell them.

Kiazer Souze says:

Tukeen mayreen vori beedee koonem. Ameneen togh Jahenem ertan. Ataturk goatferen er yev bizdig chojookhner gi seerer. Ataturk yev Woody Allen nooyn grong en yev nooyn pynavortioun ooneyeen.

Fact Man says:

Your guess is as good as mine as to why the above party wrote in a language no one can understand (Google translator failed to crack it), but we can surmise the writer is one of the many Turk-haters here. He put Ataturk – who had nothing to do with what is called the Armenian genocide – in the same sentence with Woody Allen, perhaps implying Ataturk must be a comedian. A better giveaway of the writer’s ill intent is that he named himself after Keyser Söze, one of the cinema’s greatest villains; in the original screenplay of “The Usual Suspects,” Söze was said to be evil just because he was a Turk.

We can see from the above comments that many have nothing to do with Balakian’s deceitful article, and they are written just to vent on how brutally inhuman the Turks are.

We’ve got a reference to the 1955 riot in Istanbul, sparked by the Turkish consulate getting bombed in Greece. Mobs took out their vengeance on Greek stores. It was terrible, and never repeated. Mob violence happens in every country. Yet the Turk-hater points to this episode as representative of Turkish evil.

Then we’ve got the ever-popular repression of the Kurds issue. Yes, Kurds have been persecuted, but in past generations, the Kurds of Turkey have had it good – in part thanks to part Kurdish Turkish leaders. When Turkey acts against the PKK, it behaves as any country would when terrorists strike. Yet when Turkey does it, the message of the Turk-haters is the usual Turkish brutality.

The Armenian author R. Ishkhanian wrote “To curse at Muslims and especially at Turks, to talk much about the Armenian Genocide, and to remind others constantly of the brutality of the Turks are all regarded as expressions of patriotism.” Armenians taught to abide by this principle are only too happy to pass on their hatred to the world-at-large, which is one reason why many in the West join in the Turk-bashing bandwagon.

The false and unproven Armenian genocide is simply a cover for anti-Turkish racism.
.

prof. Balakian is trying hard to saw discord and capitalize on tensions in Israel-Turkey relations by lobbying for his baby. Not only was there no “genocide” of Armenians in 1915, but Balakian better make a full disclosure and tell us how many Turks, Kurds, Azeris and others were killed by Armenians in 1914-1921 and again in 1988-1994.

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jankel says:

Israel policies are stupid and often low level ethical based ones (Secret business with Arab Countries is an old story jumping over Israel open propaganda and policy…some people are long ago aware…..(Me)
Attitude toward a condemned empire to collapse, soon or late, for well informed geo-historiographer, is a ridiculous strategy for such a country like Israel.
It is a shame I can stand in front of my Armenian Friends.

You speak about “Israel,” the Jewish Nation, and “Israel,” which is synonymous with the Jewish people, when you are, in fact, talking about the POLITICIANS running the government of Israel.

The title of your article is a nonsequitur:

“It’s time for Israel to rethink its rejection of the Armenian Genocide”

The Left Wing party of Israel is not Israel, nor has it ever placed a priority on the welfare of the Jewish people – anymore than the Left Wing Marxist American government led by a boatload of Israel-bashers and Jew-haters, beginning with Obama, Hagel, Kerry, Clinton, Jarrett, Brennan, and his many Jeudophobic czars and political advisors.

They certainly don’t speak for my America anymore than Olmert and Peres spoke for my Israel.

Haaretz is Israel’s New York Times.

A majority of people in Israel do not deny the Armenian Holocaust and neither do the majority of Americans.

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State of Denial

It’s time for Israel to rethink its rejection of the Armenian Genocide

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