Monday, August 27, 2007

‘Turkey Would Not Be Accepted in the EU if It Touches Even One Jew’

By Khatchig Mouradian

The Armenian Weekly
August 27, 2007

WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) cites the security of the Jewish community in Turkey and Israel’s alliance with Turkey for why it has failed to unambiguously recognize the Armenian genocide and support its recognition by the U.S. Congress. Treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Prof. Jack Nusan Porter believes the well being of the Jews in Turkey is not at stake.

“This is really just blackmail,” said Porter, author of “The Genocidal Mind” and “Facing History and Holocaust” in an interview with the Armenian Weekly. “Turkey would never touch the Jewish community. It would never be accepted in the European Union if it touched any Jew in Turkey. The real question is: Why does this blackmail work? Why do people believe it? In February of this year, Turkish officials met with Jewish groups here in America and put out the word. Most of the Jewish leaders disagreed, but some of them—like the ADL leader [Abraham Foxman]—didn’t,” he added.

Porter underscored the importance of “educating” Israel in these issues. “We, American Jews, have to educate Israel. It’s just the opposite of what it was historically. The Israelis had to teach us how to be Jewish. Now, we are going to have to teach them how to be a good Jew: Take care of all people, not only yourself.”

Turkey’s pressure on Israel regarding the Armenian genocide issue is not new, he explained. “In 1979, Israel Charny [former IAGS president and editor of “The Encyclopedia of Genocide”] organized a conference in Tel Aviv. The Turkish government put pressure on the Israeli government not to send anybody to that conference. They’ve been pressuring Israel for all these years,” said Porter.

Talking about how the Jewish community supports the recognition of the Armenian genocide, Porter said, “The right wing, ultra-nationalistic, conservative forces support what’s good for Israel and do not interfere—even oppose—everything else. But most of the Jews in this country are universalistic and recognize the genocide.” He added, “There was a good coordination of Jewish and Armenian pressure. I hope it brings the two communities even closer together.”

On Genocide and the ADL, With Four Members of Local Armenian and Jewish Media

Reporter: M. Thang

The Anti-Defamation League’s previous stance of not acknowledging the the Armenian genocide — in addition to its current opposition of a pending resolution in the U.S. Congress to recognize the tragedy — has unleashed a torrent of controversy over the past several days in the Boston area.
Learn what four people — from the Armenian Weekly; the Jewish Advocate; the Jewish Journal; and Web-based Armenian-language TV and radio, at, have to say.

On Genocide and the ADL, With Four Members of Local Armenian and Jewish Media
by M. Thang

Over one million Armenians were murdered at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923. The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights anti-Semitism and bigotry, has upheld its longtime policy of not recognizing the mass killings as genocide.
In addition, the ADL does not support a resolution of the U.S. Congress that acknowledges the murders as genocide.
The ADL policy has unleashed a torrent of controversy in the Boston area over the past two weeks.
The town council of Watertown, Mass., home to over 8,000 Armenians, voted to pull out of the ADL’s anti-bigotry “No Place for Hate Program,” in protest against the ADL’s stance on the Armenian genocide. The pullout has prompted other Boston-area towns and cities to consider severing their ties, too, with the ADL program.
In the face of growing outrage of local Armenian and Jewish communities, the national ADL partially reversed its policy last week — officially declaring that the mass murders are “indeed tantamount to genocide.”
The ADL has not reversed its policy regarding the congressional resolution to acknowledge the genocide. To do so would be “counterproductive,” it says, adding that such a policy reversal could jeopardize the safety of Jews in Turkey, an important and rare Muslim ally to Israel.
However, the ADL’s New England regional office moved last week to support the resolution, putting it — as well as other Jewish organizations — sharply at odds with the ADL leadership under national director Abraham Foxman.
The Boston Globe has been reporting on the controversy almost every day, sometimes as page-one news, over the past several days.
On August 23, the ADL told New England Ethnic News that the matter of supporting the resolution will be on the agenda of the ADL’s policy-making panel when it convenes in November.
New England Ethnic News spoke to four people from Armenian and Jewish media in the Boston area about the ongoing ADL controversy:
· Khatchig Mouradian, editor of the Armenian Weekly
· Raphael Kohan, staff writer at the Jewish Advocate
· Jirayr Beugekian, manager of online radio and Web TV at Armenian-language Web site
· Bette Keva, editor of the Jewish Journal.

The national ADL has decided now to use the word “genocide.” In addition, it will consider supporting Congress’ resolution that recognizes the Armenian genocide. Is that good enough?
KM: The wording of the ADL’s statement [that officially recognizes the Armenian genocide] may not be perfect, but it still constitutes recognition. states that ADL does not support the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress, saying that that would be counterproductive. That is the main problem being underlined by the Armenian community, individuals interested in human rights in general, and the Jewish community....It is quite disturbing. It’s very upsetting for ADL to recognize the genocide but, at the same time, lobby against the genocide resolution in Congress.
RK: I think some of the Jewish organizations who had been pressing [the ADL] were very happy to hear that Abe Foxman shifted his stance on the term “genocide,” and they saw that as a big step. However, I think some of the members of the Armenian community see this merely as a ploy for Foxman to get everybody who has been hammering him on this issue to shut up about it, to sort of placate [them].
So I think the Armenian community really wants to hear him vocally support the resolution — or at least those who see him as opposing it..., to stop doing what they see him doing in opposition.
JB: Using the word “genocide” just to describe the genocide as “genocide” is not enough. Any genocide, any crime needs to have consequences. One of the consequences of the genocide is supporting the genocide resolution in Congress. That’s why just using the word “genocide” is not enough for us.
BK: The ADL is going to consider the resolution pending in Congress. [The ADL] was forced to do this, and [the ADL] is finally coming in line with the thinking of many, many people. This past week was an extraordinary week of Armenians, Jews, and the general public putting a great deal of pressure on the ADL....We [Jews and Armenians] would lose confidence in [the ADL] if [the ADL] were not to do this. Jews and Armenians would find their stance against bigotry rather hypocritical.

Should Jews in Turkey feel abandoned as a result of the push for the Congress’ resolution?
KM: Turkish officials have made several statements in the past saying that they have been insulted by statements that talk about the dangers against the Jewish community in Turkey. I believe ADL is actually using this [argument] as a scapegoat...just to distance itself from recognizing the Armenian genocide properly and supporting it in Congress.
If [the Jews in Turkey] are [threatened], the ADL should have campaigned against Turkey and should have a campaign of tolerance in Turkey — instead of actually denying the Armenian genocide and perpetuating this problem by not supporting the [resolution].
RK: I don’t really know that much about Jews in Turkey. The only thing that I’ve heard coming from them during this whole [controversy] is a letter that was drafted by the Jewish community in Turkey, that was then presented via the American Jewish Committee and Turkish Foreign Minister in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, to heads of national Jewish organizations. The letter asked those heads to please consider their well-being for this resolution, which was implying that they felt it was a bad move for their own safety.
I don’t know whether that letter was, in fact, drawn up of their own volition or if it was coerced out of them. I’ve had people suggest to me both. [The suggestion was that they were being coerced] by the Turkish government. That’s not anyone saying that for certain, just [that] the suggestion was that Turkey wanted to give the impression that this was another factor.
JB: No, they shouldn’t feel let down or anything like that because nobody is asking for that. Did the Germans feel let down or anything else when the Holocaust [was] recognized or when people remember the Holocaust? A crime was committed more than 90 years ago. What we’re asking for is the recognition of that crime and the appropriate compensation for that crime — [recognition] by the entire world, including and most basically by Turkey.
The compensation we expect is not from the world. The compensation we expect and demand is from Turkey, nobody else. The compensations we have in mind are financial compensation; moral compensations, which is the recognition; and territorial compensation.
BK: No, because I don’t think it is the ADL’s stance on this issue that is going to mean security or insecurity for the Jewish people in Turkey.

According to the Boston Globe, Abraham Foxman didn’t want to alienate Turkey, a rare Muslim ally, from its neighbor, Israel. What’s wrong with that?
KM: We have to acknowledge that Israel and Turkey are very good and strong allies. And it’s important for Israel to maintain this strategically-important alliance with Turkey. It is up to Israel to decide on the nature of its relationship with its neighbors, including Turkey. However, a human rights organization...functioning in the United States — which states as its principles fighting against bigotry, fighting for tolerance, and which carries the legacy of the victims of the Holocaust — is not allowed to deny the Armenian genocide, to belittle or trivialize the Armenian genocide or even say that it should not be recognized by this Congress...or this [or that] world body.
ADL should not act as a state thinking about its own interests. This is such a huge human rights issue when you argue...against the recognition of another people’s genocide. I cannot see anything worse than this, not recognizing the genocide....The ADL is still trying to balance between pleasing the Turkish government and actually doing the right thing.
RK: I think some people don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Most people understand — who are thinking about this from both the Jewish community and the Israeli perspective, they understand that it has to be taken under consideration. I think locally it’s such a huge issue because there is such a large Armenian American community whom the Jewish community in Boston has very close ties to. In addition to that, there is also the moral imperative, it seems, of calling a genocide, a genocide.
But at the same time, I think taking that into consideration is something that most Jewish organizations realize that they have to do. They have to consider the implications concerning Turkey. It seems that most of them realize that that is a reality of the Middle East. It is a consideration. At the same time, they may feel a moral imperative to recognize the genocide.
JB: We believe that is a really childish way of putting things. We have Armenian communities living in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, all these countries. Does that mean that as Armenians we have to decry the Holocaust or say the Holocaust did not happen? Or we do not support any kind of recognition or compensation of the Holocaust? That is really childish.
BK: (pauses) It’s really not his place [to be getting involved in this kind of foreign relations]. He is not a politician. He’s not making policy. It is sort of a non sequitur that he would be alienating Turkey, and there’s no reason why that should be an element in ADL’s decision on labeling these [Armenian] atrocities what they are.

Should towns and cities that are part of the ADL’s “No Place For Hate” Program continue to be a part of it?
KM: As long as the ADL has not come out to clearly recognize the genocide and support the congressional resolution — I’m not even talking about lobbying against it...I believe the “No Place for Hate” inherently and illogically going against the “No Place for Hate” program. It is promoting hatred by not recognizing the genocide and by not recognizing the suffering of the victims and the [congressional] resolution [that]...recognizes the genocide.
RK: I think that’s up to them. It seems that a lot of what I’ve read, that a lot of towns that have been involved with “No Place for Hate” have really been inactive for many years. It’s sort of been a symbol on a street sign outside of the city hall somewhere. But if towns feel it’s hypocritical for them to have this program in their town, then that’s something that they have to reckon with.
But what it seems is that all the towns are happy to have a program like the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” in their community and feel it’s important to have it. Whether it is actually “No Place for Hate” or a program of their own construction, is something now being discussed.
JB: Being part of “No Place for Hate,” in terms of [its] connection with the ADL, if local towns and cities feel that they need to sever their ties with the ADL, but continue the program in another way, we fully support [those towns and cities]....We believe the cities are doing the correct thing by severing their ties with the ADL. The program, “No Place for Hate,” can be copied or repeated in all the cities in a myriad of manners without it being tied to the ADL specifically.
BK: I think they should definitely continue to be a part of the ADL’s “No Place for Hate,” especially now that the ADL and Foxman have relented [and because of] our showing a willingness to listen to the criticism and to act on it. Watertown got out [of the “No Place for Hate” program]. It was very painful for Watertown to do what they did. And they did so only after it was clear that Foxman was not [changing his] position. But now that Foxman has changed his position, I’m not sure what Watertown’s position at this point is. But I don’t think other towns should do the same thing, especially at this point.

The Armenian genocide happened over 85 years ago. Granted, the Boston area — Watertown in particular — has one of the largest Armenian populations in the country — but why now has this controversy had such a great impact?
KM: The people who are actually outraged, when they expressed their outrage, they did not imagine that this issue was going to be such a huge issue. It is the ADL that made it bigger and bigger. What happened first was that there was an Armenian writer, David Boyajian, who wrote a letter to the Watertown Tab, quoting a statement from Abraham Foxman denying the Armenian genocide. That’s how this controversy erupted. Armenians started writing other letters to the Watertown Tab. Before you know it, there was this outrage in the Armenian community in Watertown and beyond.
After that, statement after statement [from the ADL was issued]...denying the genocide and speaking against the congressional resolution, which made the issue even bigger....The entire issue [began with] outrage by Armenians because of a quote by Foxman. However, the ADL perpetuated this by their own statement.
BK: Because Israel is in a very vulnerable position. The MIddle East is more a powder keg than it usually is, and Foxman and the ADL are very sensitive to the safety of Jews there. But I think this is a case [in which] they need to relent and let the politicians work on this.
Why it’s become a problem now? It’s coming to the fore. There’s the [pending] legislation in Congress, and people want answers [about whether or not the Congress will pass the resolution]. It’s been an issue for a long, long time but possibly now because it is in Congress, and people have to go on record one way or the other. It’s become an issue.
JB: Because it’s very clear now what the ADL did and what Foxman did...[to the] community. It’s really weird when, [regarding] the Watertown Town Council..., we [Armenians] suddenly found ourselves in the middle of world politics. As Armenians, we’re unhappy that Watertown is in that situation. But we have been pushing for the recognition...for over 90 years now. What Foxman did, and the way that it was pursued, it blew over, and it is continuing to blow over....It’s not a matter of why now. This matter [has been] growing year after year after year.
The [Armenian genocide] survivors who came to the U.S. and...other countries in the world — they were dispersed — the survivors did not know the languages of the local countries, were not accustomed to the way local politics works....After all those years, the new generations [have grown] up and [are] taking over [through] activism, community organization....They are now American Armenians, or French Armenians, or Greek Armenians. They know the [local country’s] language, they are well versed in the local politics, they know how to play within the local political arena.
RK: From what I understand, it’s bubbling to the surface now because there seems to be a real shot for the congressional resolution to be heard and voted on in Congress, which has been sort of shuttled back and forth behind the scenes for many years now without getting much play.
There’s also, it seems, concern within the Armenian American community, that it is important for those few remaining survivors of the Armenian genocide to have this recognition while they’re still alive.

Briefly, is there anything else you’d like to say?
KM: Tens of thousands of Armenians, after the genocide, fled to the United States....We have few [survivors of the genocide] left. It is only right for the U.S. Congress to honor those survivors by recognizing the Armenian genocide....This issue has become such a huge and important issue nationwide. The ADL should reconsider its position and align itself with its own stated principles and recognize the Armenian genocide unambiguously and support the genocide resolution in the Congress.
RK: It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m still learning as this goes along.
JB: The pursuit of the recognition of the genocide [within the Armenian community] is much better organized now than it was 40 or 45 years ago, or even 30 years ago when [Armenian] people used to get together and just remember the [genocide] victims....[through] commemorations at church. Now it’s not commemoration in the church anymore; it’s commemoration with political goals, with political activism. This is why the pursuit is gaining more and more momentum, especially now that we also have a free and independent republic of Armenia whose government also has the genocide as part of its foreign policy.
BK: I don’t think so.


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Friday, August 24, 2007

Genocide and Holocaust Scholars Criticize ADL Position on Armenian Genocide

By Khatchig Mouradian

WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—On Aug. 23, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a statement that reiterated its objection to the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending in Congress and continued to ambiguously recognize the Armenian genocide by calling “for further dispassionate scholarly examination of the details of those dark and terrible days.”

“The force and passion of the debate today leaves us more convinced than ever that this issue does not belong in a forum such as the United States Congress,” the statement read.

“We must encourage steps to create an atmosphere in which Armenia will respond favorably to the several recent overtures of Turkey to convene a joint commission to assist the parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences,” it continued.

Several genocide and Holocaust experts expressed outrage over the idea of convening with Turkish state historians who have made a career out of denying and trivializing the Armenian genocide. When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the idea of a “joint commission” a few years ago, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) sent an open letter to Erdogan saying, “We are concerned that in calling for an impartial study of the Armenian Genocide you may not be fully aware of the extent of the scholarly and intellectual record on the Armenian Genocide. … We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is the overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide: hundreds of independent scholars.”

Genocide and Holocaust scholars in the U.S. and Europe, contacted by the Armenian Weekly today, harshly criticized the ADL’s statement as well as its hypocritical approach to the Armenian genocide in general.

“ADL is getting into the issue a bit late to be of any substance," said Dr. Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. "Furthermore, by Foxman saying there was a need to protect the Turkish-Jewish community, the question is, protect from what if they have lived as a loyal minority for 500 years? This suggests that the ADL is missing the point and cannot be part of the discourse,” he added.

“A commission now would be a disaster. The Turkish state must make clear that they have a very strong intention to resolve this issue. The rhetoric of the Turkish authorities is not conducive of a solution. As long as people like Yusuf Halacoglu—a very radical, nationalist, even racist historian—Gunduz Aktan and Sukru Elekdag give the tone for the policy of Turkish government, I don’t think that you can reach any result from a commission,” said Turkish-born historian and sociologist Taner Akcam, author of A Shameful Act: The Armenian genocide and the Question of Turkish responsibility. “For them the commission would be the continuation of the war they are waging against the Armenians, whom they consider as the enemy,” he added.

“We don’t need a historical commission. We need historians to have completely free and open access to the archives in Turkey so scholars and anyone else can research, write and talk about this history without fear of intimidation,” said Professor Eric Weitz, author of A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation. “That is the key issue: free and open debate without intimidation from the state and from anti-democratic organizations that are allowed to operate with the tacit support of the state.”

“Furthermore, not the regional ADL leader [Andy Tarsy] but Abraham Foxman should be fired," Weitz added. "He should have been fired a long time ago for many other statements and comments in addition to his long-standing refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide.”

“I’m entirely in agreement with Eric Weitz on the access [to archives] and free debate,” said Dr. Donald Bloxham of the University of Edinburgh who was recently awarded the 2007 Raphael Lemkin prize for his book The Great game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.

“And I reject the silly commission idea,” Bloxham added.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Regional Board urges ADL National to reinstate Tarsy

By Raphael Kohan

The Jewish Advocate
Thursday August 23 2007

Committee also calls for vote to address congressional resolution
The New England Region of the Anti-Defamation League adopted two resolutions in an early-morning meeting Wednesday to address the rift between its office and national headquarters.
The resolutions, adopted unanimously – apart from one abstention – called for the reinstatement of fired Executive Director Andrew H. Tarsy and urged the national office to address whether it should take a “pro-active position” in a congressional resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide.

Neither Tarsy nor National Director Abraham H. Foxman were present at the meeting, which was attended by about 70 board members.

“Everyone wants to move on,” Regional Board Chairman James Rudolph told the Advocate. “Our board is clear that we want to have Andy reinstated, if that’s possible.”

Speaking to the Advocate from Israel prior to Wednesday’s meeting, Combined Jewish Philanthropies President Barry Shrage said reinstating Tarsy would restore unity to the community.

“I think it will help the healing process in Boston, especially because the issue it stemmed from has been resolved,” he added.

Earlier this week, Foxman said Tarsy “fired himself” when he publicly dissented from national policy. Foxman also described Tarsy’s future with the organization as a management decision and “nobody’s business.”

Wednesday’s resolutions mark the latest development in the ongoing controversy that began in Watertown last month. On Tuesday, after mounting criticism and a community backlash, national ADL reversed its position on the massacre of Armenians during World War I, recognizing the events as genocide. Foxman explained in a statement that the organization changed its stance after he consulted with Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other historians.
The move came after dozens of Boston Jewish organization, spearheaded by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, signed onto a community statement that called on the ADL national office to “reconsider their position on this issue.”

Many local Jewish leaders welcomed the change from national ADL.

“This is a huge step forward,” said Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the JCRC. “The key issue here was the issue of genocide, and the change is important and positive.”

Those close to the matter said it was unusual for Jewish organizations to break ranks and publicly condemn a fellow Jewish group. JCRC’s community statement represented a shift in handling ideological disputes.

“I thought that was so hurtful and destructive,” said Foxman of the community statement. “I didn’t know any other way to stop this avalanche, which will undermine the Jewish community.”
Foxman’s new position on the term genocide, however, did not include a shift in the organization’s stance on a congressional resolution surrounding the genocide, which Foxman described as “counterproductive.”

“The significance of putting [the congressional resolution] on the national agenda is it provides an opportunity to discuss the resolution,” said Rudolph. “Personally, I’ve learned that the resolution is a very complex issue. It will be debated nationally.”

One of the recent challenges for the ADL has been reconciling its mission statement, which reads, “To stop the defamation of the Jewish people … to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” with its real-life policy. Prior to his dramatic reversal, critics called Foxman’s stance hypocritical, since he protects the memory of the Holocaust but refused to acknowledge the genocide of another people.

“Sometimes these missions are in conflict,” said Foxman.

Board Member Jason Chudnofsky suggested that Foxman needs to clarify the mission of the ADL.

“He’s gotten himself into a real challenge right now on his own mission statement,” said Chudnofsky.

Regardless of how Wednesday’s resolutions are handled by the national office, this controversy represented a blow to the ADL, according to Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University.

“I think this issue will weaken both the local and national organizations and will be looked upon as a case study of how not to deal with an issue of this sort,” said Sarna.

Meanwhile, Newton, Lowell and Arlington may follow Watertown’s lead in severing ties with the ADL-sponsored program No Place for Hate.

Khatchig Mouradian, editor of the Armenian Weekly Newspaper, said ADL’s new stance will have little impact on improving relations between the Armenian community and the human rights organization.

“There’s still a lot of outrage,” said Mouradian.

But what shouldn’t go unnoticed, he added, is the role of the Jewish community in prompting ADL’s changed stance.

“This recognition would not have been possible without the support of many righteous Jews and the Jewish community in general,” said Mouradian. “I hope this support continues until the ADL starts working for the resolution or at least stops working against it. I don’t want to give Abe Foxman a medal for recognizing the Armenian genocide after so many years of denying it.”

Saturday, August 18, 2007



By Khatchig Mouradian

Creeping up the window of eternity
I just stole joy's virginity.

Pour its light into your glasses,
And while the smoke of desire
Is still rushing through my veins,
Let my ecstasy, like a newborn,
Drink right from the breasts of victory...
And behold! The neighboring roofs
Hunched with envy
Bear witness to my glory:
Creeping up the window of eternity
I just stole joy's virginity...



By Khatchig Mouradian

You talk to me of passion,
Of lines dripping with desire,
Yet nothing is left but ashes...
I've rented to resignation
The vacant apartment of Fire.

With the candlelight of craze
I never found tempests tender,
But still loitered with limping days
In the subway of dusty calendars.

Do not ask me of Lust,
Of ink gushing like semen,
My words are still-born children
Who've had no chance of dreaming.

Look elsewhere for lava,
And papers dipped in craving,
Mine are sketches of withdrawal
On the canvas of lost heaven.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In seinem neuen Buch 'Targeting Iran' interviewt David Barsamian Chomsky, Abrahamian und Mozaffari

Ziel Iran
In seinem neuen Buch 'Targeting Iran' interviewt David Barsamian Chomsky, Abrahamian und Mozaffari
von Khatchig Mouradian
07.08.2007 — ZNet

"Frag nicht nach der Ernte sondern nach dem Pflügen", lautet ein chinesisches Sprichwort. In seinem Buch 'Targeting Iran' beherzigt der preisgekrönte Journalist David Barsamian genau diesen Rat.

Er fragt seine Interviewgäste Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian und Nahid Mozaffari nach jenem Hegen und Pflegen, das schließlich in die Dämonisierung des Iran durch die USA kulminiert ist - ein wechselseitiger Prozess zwischen den Vereinigten Staaten und dem Iran (seit der Islamischen Revolution im Iran 1979).

David Barsamian ist Gründer und Direktor des 'Alternative Radio'. Seine Hörer/innen und Leser/innen wissen, was sie erwarten können: direkte, präzise Fragen. Meist bietet Barsamian zum Einstieg zudem einige Hintergrundinformationen. Barsamian sät (um im bäuerlichen Bild zu bleiben) Einblicke in die komplexe und intrigante Welt einer Region, die seit langem unter jenen zu leiden hat, die auf den Altären der Übersimplifizierung, Trivialisierung, Kontextlosigkeit usw. huldigen.

In seiner Einleitung bringt Barsamian die Geschichte des Iran und der iranisch-amerikanischen Beziehungen kurz auf den Punkt.

Er schließt mit den Lieblingszeilen der Friedensnobelpreisträgerin Shirin Ebadi. Sie klingen zutreffend - hinsichtlich der amerikanischen Außenpolitik aber auch hinsichtlich der Situation im Iran:

"Wenn es keine Gerechtigkeit gibt,

könnten jene, denen sie vorenthalten wird,

eines Tages auf die Straße gehen und sich erheben."

(Zitat des berühmten persischen Dichters Hafez aus dem 14. Jahrhundert)

Das erste der drei Interviews - das kürzeste - führte David Barsamian mit Noam Chomsky. Barsamian hat Chomsky schon einige dutzend Mal interviewt. Glanzpunkte sind fünf gemeinsame Bücher. In 'Targeting Iran' spricht Chomsky über die amerikanische Politik gegenüber dem Iran. Diese sei beispielhaft für die Logik der präventiven Selbstzerstörung: "Unter Zugrundelegung der amerikanischen Standards müsste der Iran ja eigentlich Terroranschläge in den USA verüben. Im Grunde müssten wir sie sogar dazu auffordern - falls wir diese Standards für uns übernehmen. Sie (die Iraner) stehen unter einer viel gewaltigeren Bedrohung, als sie Bush und Blair je konstruiert haben. Angeblich berechtigt das zu dem, was diese Leute als "antizipatorische Selbstverteidigung" - in erster Linie Angriffe - bezeichnen.".

Zum Thema Wiederaufnahme des iranischen Urananreicherungsprogramms sagt Chomsky: "Sie brauchen nur in den Medien zu recherchieren und werden feststellen, wie häufig davon die Rede war, der Iran habe die Urananreicherung erst wieder aufgenommen, nachdem die Europäer ihren Teil der Abmachung nicht eingehalten hatten, vor allem hinsichtlich fester Sicherheitsgarantien". Chomsky erhebt den Vorwurf, die Presse habe vom Rückzieher der Europäer - unter Druck Amerikas - gewusst, aber die Story lieber ignoriert.

Das Chomsky-Interview konzentriert sich (schwerpunktmäßig) auf den Iran. Chomskys Analysen und Beispiele sind für uns Leser eine Art Achterbahnfahrt über fast 50 Jahre. Die Fahrt führt uns von den Vereinigten Staaten über Südamerika, Europa, Palästina, Irak bis nach China. Kaum überraschend: Wie ein alter Magier zaubert Chomsky vor dem staunenden Publikum immer neue Argumente und Beispiele aus seinem Hut (sprich: Gedächtnis), locker und in Bestform. Allerdings hätten einige Fußnoten und redaktionelle Anmerkungen (Prozentzahlen, exakte Daten) dem Interview gut getan. So sagt Chomsky an einer Stelle beispielsweise: "Ich habe die exakte Zahl vergessen, aber ich glaube, es (China) bezieht 10 bis 15 Prozent seiner Energieimporte aus Saudi-Arabien." Oder: "Er (Muqtada al-Sadr, der irakische Schiitengeistliche und Politiker, der sich gegen die US-Präsenz stellt) errang in den letzten Parlamentswahlen ich denke so um die 50 Prozent".

In 'Targeting Iran' ist Chomsky für den politisch-historischen Kontext zuständig. Er bereitet so die Bühne für den iranischstämmigen Geschichtsprofessor Ervand Abrahamian, der schwerpunktmäßig über das Atomthema spricht.

"Falls der Iran aus der Luft angegriffen wird, schlägt er zurück, wo er Oberwasser hat: im Irak und in Afghanistan", sagt Abrahamian und fügt hinzu: "Sie würden offensichtlich nicht die USA oder Israel angreifen, obwohl die Leute das, in ihrer Paranoia, annehmen."

Abrahamian glaubt, der Grund, weshalb Irans Präsident Mahmoud Ahmadinedschad den 'Holocaust' leugnet oder zur Zerstörung Israels aufruft, sei der Versuch der Überbrückung der Kluft zwischen Schiiten und Sunniten. Zudem versuche Ahmadinedschad, "arabische Unterstützung zu erhalten". Ahmadinedschads Rhetorik entfalte seine Wirkung weniger im Iran als auf der 'arabischen Straße'.

Nach der Verbindung zwischen Teheran und der bewaffneten schiitischen Hisbollah-Miliz im Libanon gefragt, antwortet Abrahamian, der Iran setze die Hisbollah-Partei nicht ein, um Israel zu zerstören. "Ein Hauptfehler der Israelis ist, dass sie glauben, die Hisbollah sei so eng mit dem Iran verzahnt, dass im Falle eines US-Angriffs auf Iran, Letzterer automatisch die Hisbollah gegen Israel* einsetzen werde. Ich denke nicht, dass etwas Derartiges geplant ist".

Nach den ersten beiden Interviews hat man den Eindruck, das Buch werfe zwar einen kritischen Eindruck auf die amerikanische Außenpolitik, biete aber kaum Einblick in die innere Dynamik des Iran. Im dritten Interview - mit dem iranischstämmigen Historiker Nahid Mozaffari - führt uns Barsamian jedoch auf eine lebendige literarische Reise in den Iran (es gibt dort TATSÄCHLICH Literatur!). Die Reise beginnt im frühen 20. Jahrhundert und endet in unsere Zeit. Das Spektrum reicht von Gedichten, über Novellen bis zu Memoiren. Dissidenten und Frauen kommen zu Wort. Mozaffari sagt, iranische Autoren, die die USA besuchen, würden sich behandelt fühlen wie "Menschenrechts-Versuchstiere". Aber er schreibt auch über die Zensur, die Unterdrückung und Verfolgung im Iran sowie über den Aufstieg des Bloggings. Mozaffari spricht über Details zu Frauenthemen (wie Scheidung, Sorgerechts- und Eigentumsrechtsprobleme, Kleiderregeln etc.). Er spricht über die Entwicklung des iranischen Kinos in der Zeit nach 1979 und über das Vorgehen gegen Rockgruppen und Rapper unter der Regierung Ahmadinedschad.

"Die islamistischen Konservativen halten Entwicklungen in der Zivilgesellschaft für etwas Bedrohliches, zudem sei diese anfällig für Manipulationen vom Ausland", erklärt Mozaffari.

Die Schlusszeilen des letzten Interviews bringen eine der Kernaussagen des Buches auf den Punkt: "Die enorme Entschlossenheit derer, die im Iran Veränderung wollen und ihre nicht minder starke Entschlossenheit, sich von Manipulation und Druck von außen nicht beeinflussen zu lassen, sollte den USA und anderen Staaten, die über eine Militäraktion gegen den Iran nachdenken, als ernste Warnung dienen".

'Targeting Iran' - David Barsamian im Interview mit Noam Chomsky, Erand Abrahamian und Nahid Mozaffari (City Light Books, 2007).

Khatchig Mouradian ist ein libanesisch-armenischer Journalist, Autor und Übersetzer. Er lebt derzeit in Boston.

Anmerkung d. Übersetzerin

*'Iran' steht im Original - offensichtlich ein Flüchtigkeitsfehler des Autors

Orginalartikel: Targeting Iran
Übersetzt von: Andrea Noll

'Targeting Iran': A Book Review

ZNet | Activism

Targeting Iran
A book review

by Khatchig Mouradian; August 07, 2007

“Do not ask about the harvest; ask about the plowing,” says the Chinese proverb. In Targeting Iran, award-winning journalist David Barsamian follows that advice. He asks his interviewees, Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian and Nahid Mozaffari, about all the plowing and planting that culminated in the demonization of Iran by the U.S. since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and vice versa.

Alternative Radio founder and director Barsamian’s listeners and readers know what to expect: clear, straightforward questions, often preceded by some background information—and to borrow imagery from farming one more time—sowing insight into the intricacies and complications of a region that has long suffered in the hands of those worshipping at the altars of oversimplification, trivialization, decontextualization et al.

In his introduction, Barsamian provides a brief history of Iran and U.S.-Iranian relations. He concludes by quoting Iran’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi’s favorite couplet, which rings as true regarding U.S. foreign policy as it does about Iran’s current state of affairs:

If there is no justice,
then those who are deprived
may one day take to the streets and rise up.
(Hafez, a renowned 14th century Persian poet)

The first interview—the shortest of the three—is with Noam Chomsky, whom Barsamian has interviewed dozens of times, culminating in five Chomsky/Barsamian books. Chomsky, talking about U.S. policy with regard to Iran, demonstrates the self-destructive logic of preemption. “By U.S. standards, Iran ought to be carrying out terrorist acts in the United States,” he says. “In fact, adopting U.S. standards, we ought to be demanding that they do it. They’re under far greater threat than anything Bush or Blair ever conjured up, and that’s supposed to authorize what they call anticipatory self-defense, namely attack.”

Talking about Iran’s resumption of uranium enrichment, Chomsky says, “[J]ust do a media search and find out how often it has even been mentioned that when Iran began enriching uranium again, it was after the Europeans had rejected their side of the bargain, namely, to provide firm guarantees on security issues.” He then charges that the press knew about the Europeans backing down—under U.S. pressure—but chose to ignore the story.

Chomsky’s interview centers on Iran, but—surprise!—his analysis and examples take us on a roller-coaster ride from the U.S., South America and Europe to Palestine, Iraq, and China, spanning almost half a century. Always at ease and at his best with Barsamian, Chomsky pulls out examples and arguments from his memory with the skill of a seasoned magician pulling out all kinds of objects from a hat and leaving the audience at awe. However, the interview would have benefited from a few footnotes or editor’s notes, providing exact information and percentages, when, for example, Chomsky says, “I forgot the exact number, but I think they’re [China] getting maybe 10-15 percent of their energy imports from Saudi Arabia.” Or when he says, “He [Moqtada Sadr, an Iraqi Shiite cleric-politician, opposed to the U.S. presence] gained, I think, 50 percent or so in the last parliamentary elections.”

Providing the global and historical contexts Chomsky sets the stage for Iranian-born history professor Ervand Abrahamian’s in depth look at Iran’s political structure and the U.S-Iran confrontation today, with emphasis on the nuclear issue.

“If Iranians are hit by air strikes, they will hit back where they have the upper hand, which is Iraq and Afghanistan,” Abrahamian says. “They are obviously not going to attack the U.S., nor will they attack Israel, although people have this paranoid view about that,” he adds.

Abrahamian maintains that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad engages in Holocaust denial and calls for the destruction of Israel to bridge the gap between Sunnis and Shiites and to “pitch for Arab support.” He says that this rhetoric does not resonate in Iran as much as it does in the Arab street.

Asked about Tehran’s connection with the Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah, Abrahamian says that Iran does not use this party to threaten Israel: “One major mistake the Israelis are making is thinking that Hezbollah is so closely tied with Iran that once the U.S. attacks Iran, Iran would automatically use Hezbollah against Iran. I don’t think that’s in the works.”

Reading the first two interviews, the reader has the impression that the book is a critical look at U.S. foreign policy with very little insight on Iran’s internal dynamics. Then comes the interview with Iranian-born historian Nahid Mozaffari. Barsamian and Mozaffari take the reader on a journey inside Iran’s vibrant literary life (yes, they DO have literature) from the early 20th century to the present; from poetry to novels and memoirs; from dissidents to female voices. She notes how Iranian writers, who visit the U.S., are treated as “human rights guinea pigs,” but also expands on the censorship, oppression and persecution they suffer in Iran, as well as the rise of the bloggers. Mozaffari deals with women’s issues (divorce, custody rights, property right, dress codes, etc.) in some detail. She also talks about the development of cinema in the post-1979 period and the clampdown on the rock groups and rappers under Ahmadinejad’s rule.

“The Islamist conservatives regard developments in civil society as threatening and susceptible to foreign manipulation,” explains Mozaffari.

One of the book’s main messages is in the concluding lines of this last interview: “This tough resolve by those who desire change within Iran, along with their [i.e. the Iranians’] equally strong determination to be independent of outside pressure and manipulations, should serve as a stern warning to the U.S. and other states who contemplate any military action against Iran.”

David Barsamian with Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian and Nahid Mozaffari Targeting Iran (City Lights Books, 2007).

Khatchig Mouradian is a Lebanese-Armenian journalist, writer and translator, currently based in Boston. He can be contacted at:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Présentation du livre : “Targeting Iran” (L’Iran dans le colllimateur)

Par Khatchig Mouradian
Traduction Louise Kiffer

“Ne posez pas de question sur la moisson, mais sur le labourage” dit un proverbe chinois. Dans le livre L’Iran dans le collimateur) le journaliste David Barsamian, qui a reçu un prix, suit ce conseil. Il demande à ceux qu’il interview, Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian et Nahid Mozaffari, tout ce qui concerne le labourage et les semailles qui ont culminé dans la diabolisation de l’Iran par les U.S. depuis la Révolution islamique de 1979, et vice-versa.

Certaines des interviews du fondateur d’ Alternative Radio et directeur David Barsamian, ont été publiées exclusivement dans Armenian Weekly, y compris une interview du rédacteur en chef d’Agos Etyen Mahcupyan dans le numéro de Weekly du 14 juillet. Ses auditeurs et lecteurs savent à quoi s’attendre : des questions claires, franches, souvent précédées d’une information sur le contexte - et pour emprunter une fois de plus une image agricole - et sur les semailles dans les subtilités et les complexités d’une région qui a longtemps souffert aux mains de ceux qui se prosternent devant les autels d’une extrême simplification, de la banalisation, de la décontextualisation et autres.

Dans son introduction, Barsamian relate une brève histoire de l’Iran et des relation U.S- Iraniennes. Il conclut en citant les vers favoris du lauréat du Prix Nobel de la Paix Shirin Ebadi, qui sonnent si juste par rapport à la politique étrangère U.S. de même qu’à l’état actuel des affaires de l’Iran :

S’il n’y a pas de justice,
Alors ceux qui en sont privés
Pourraient un jour descendre dans la rue et se soulever.
(Hafez, un poète persan célèbre du 14ème siècle).

La première interview - la plus courte des trois - est avec Noam Chomsky que Barsamian a interviewé une douzaine de fois, donnant lieu à cinq livres Chomsky/Barsamian.

Chomsky, parlant de la politique U.S. relative à l’Iran, démontre la logique auto destructrice de préemption “Selon les standards U.S., l’Iran devrait commettre des actes terroristes aux Etats Unis”, dit-il. “En fait, en adoptant les standards U.S. nous devrions être en train d’exiger qu’il le fasse. Ils sont très au-dessous d’une plus grande menace que n’importe laquelle jamais évoquée par Bush ou Blair, et cela est supposé autoriser ce qu’ils appellent l’autodéfense d’anticipation, autrement dit l’attaque.”

Parlant de la reprise par l’Iran de l’enrichissement de l’uranium, Chomsky dit : “Faites [seulement] une recherche dans les médias et voyez avec quelle fréquence il a été mentionné que quand l’Iran a recommencé à enrichir l’uranium, c’était après que les Européens aient rejeté leur participation au marché, à savoir, de donner des garanties fermes sur les questions de sécurité”. Il accuse alors la presse qui savait que les Européens faisaient marche arrière - sous la pression U.S. - mais avait choisi de ne pas en parler.

L’interview de Chomsky est centré sur l’Iran, mais - oh surprise ! - son analyse et ses exemples sont des montagnes russes qui nous mènent des USA en Amérique du Sud, puis en Europe, en Palestine, en Irak, en Chine, couvrant presque un demi siècle. Toujours à l’aise et au mieux de sa forme avec Barsamian, Chomsky sort des exemples et des arguments de ses souvenirs, avec l’adresse d’un magicien expérimenté qui tire de son chapeau des objets de toutes sortes, laissant son auditoire impressionné. Cependant, l’interview aurait eu intérêt à être complétée par quelques notes de bas de pages, donnant une information précise, par exemple des pourcentages, quand Chomsky dit : “J’ai oublié le nombre exact, mais je pense qu’elle [la Chine] reçoit 10 à 15 pour cent de ses importations d’énergie de l’Arabie Saoudite”. Ou quand il dit : “ Il a eu [Moqtada Sadr, un politicien chiite irakien ecclésiastique opposé à la présence U.S.] je crois environ 50 pour cent de voix dans les dernières élections législatives.”

Fournissant un contexte global historique, Chomsky met en scène l’histoire arméno-iranienne par l’examen approfondi, du professeur Ervand Abrahamian, de la structure politique de l’Iran et de la confrontation aujourd’hui U.S.-Iran, en insistant sur la question nucléaire.

“Si les Iraniens sont victimes de frappes aériennes, ils les rendront là où ils auront la haute main, aussi bien en Irak qu’en Afghanistan” , dit Abrahamian.

Il est évident qu’ils ne vont pas attaquer les Etats Unis, ni Israël, quoique les gens aient ce point de vue paranoïaque à ce sujet”, ajoute-t-il.

Abrahamian soutient que le président iranien Mahmoud Ahmadinejad défend le déni de l’Holocauste et appelle à la destruction d’Israël pour faire un pont par-dessus l’écart entre les Sunnites et les Chiites et pour “favoriser le soutien arabe”. Il dit que cette rhétorique ne résonne pas en Iran autant que dans les rues arabes.

Interrogé au sujet de la connexion de Téhéran avec le groupe armé chiite libanais du Hezbollah, Abrahamian dit que l’Iran n’utilise pas ce parti pour menacer Israël. “Une erreur majeure que les Israéliens sont en train de faire est de penser que le Hezbollah est si étroitement lié à l’Iran que sitôt que les U.S. attaqueront l’Iran, l’Iran va automatiquement utiliser le Hezbollah contre Israël.

Je ne pense pas que cela se prépare”.

En lisant les deux premières interviews, le lecteur a l’impression que le livre a un regard critique sur la politique étrangère U.S., avec un très petit aperçu de la dynamique interne de l’Iran. Puis c’est l’interview de l’historienne Nahid Mozaffari, native d’Iran. Elle et Barsamian emmènent le lecteur dans un voyage de la vibrante vie littéraire d’Iran (oui, ils ONT une littérature) depuis le début du 20ème siècle jusqu’à ce jour ; de la poésie aux romans et aux mémoires ; des dissidents aux voix féminines. Elle fait remarquer comment les écrivains iraniens, qui visitent les Etats Unis, sont traités de “cobayes des Droits Humains”, mais aussi elle s’étend sur la censure, l’oppression et la persécution subie en Iran, ainsi que la montée des bloggers. Nahid Moraffari traite en détail des questions féminines (divorce, droits de garde, le droit de propriété, les codes vestimentaires, etc...). Elle parle aussi du développement du cinéma après la période 1979 et la répression des groupes rock et des rappeurs sous le gouvernement d’Ahmadinejad .

“Les conservateurs islamistes considèrent les développements de la société civile comme menaçants et susceptibles de manipulation étrangère” explique Nahid Mozaffari.

L’un des principaux messages du livre est le passage de conclusion de cette dernière interview. “Cette ferme résolution de ceux qui désirent changer l’Iran par l’intérieur, accompagnée de leur détermination aussi solide [des Iraniens] à être indépendants de toute pression extérieure et de toutes manipulations, devrait servir d’avertissement sévère aux U.S. et aux autres Etats qui envisagent une quelconque action militaire contre l’Iran.”
David Barsamian est le fondateur et le directeur d’Alternative Radio

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Les organisations juives d’amérique divisées sur une reconnaissance du génocide arménien

Une controverse a vu le jour la semaine dernière à Watertown dans le Massachusetts où la Ligue Anti-Diffamation et son programme communautaire « Pas de Place pour la Haine » ont soulevé la question du rôle des Juifs et des groupes juifs dans la reconnaissance du génocide arménien.

Le 1 août 2007, le journal « Boston Globe » a annoncé des rapports tendus entre l’ADL et la communauté arménienne de Watertown en raison des propos du directeur national de l’ADL Abraham H. Foxman concernant l’opportunité par le Congrès américain de reconnaître le génocide d’un et demi millions d’Arméniens tués par les Turcs de 1915 à 1923. Un vote n’a pas encore été prévu pour la résolution qui a rencontré l’opposition des membres de lobbys turcs et de quelques organisations juives.

« Je ne vais pas être l’arbitre de l’histoire de quelqu’un d’autre » a déclaré Foxman au Globe dont l’organisation n’a pris aucune position officielle sur le génocide mais qui a ajouté que le Congrès ne devrait pas être impliqué dans l’écriture de l’histoire.

« C’est incompréhensible pour moi » a déclaré Khatchig Mouradian, le rédacteur de l’hebdomadaire arménien « Armenian Weekly » qui est basé à Watertown. « Je crois que le programme « Pas de Place pour la Haine » est un programme important, mais la communauté ici est outragée. »

M.Foxman n’a pas souhaité faire de commentaires.

Quoique reconnu par l’ensemble des historiens comme un fait indéniable, le débat sur la reconnaissance du génocide arménien révèle un fossé parmi les organisations juives. Le schisme souligne une complexe dynamique qui touche sur les relations de la Turquie avec Israël et le bien-être d’environ 25000 Juifs résidant toujours là-bas.

Tandis que beaucoup de groupes juifs invoquent « Jamais Plus » en tant que leg de l’Holocauste et protestent contre le génocide actuel au Darfur, le génocide arménien - que le gouvernement turc ne reconnaît toujours pas - pose le problème de la position morale.

Et quoique l’ADL dise qu’elle n’a aucune position sur la question, les commentaires de Foxman disent le contraire selon James Russell professeur d’Études arméniennes à l’Université de Harvard. Russell, un Juif et un Sioniste américain tel qu’il se décrit lui-même, déclare que les déclarations de Foxman sont inacceptables pour une organisation qui combat l’antisémitisme.
« De mon point de vue cela équivaut à la négation de l’Holocauste » a-t-il ajouté. « C’est une position profondément immorale et ignoble. ». Il y a peu de consensus parmi les organisations juives face à cette résolution du congrès sur la reconnaissance du génocide. Nancy K. Kaufman, directrice du Conseil des Relations Communautaires juif du Grand Boston maintient sa position que les Etats-Unis devraient reconnaître le génocide arménien.

« Nous sommes bien conscients de la question avec la Turquie mais nous sentons que nous ne pouvons pas nous éloigner du fait que c’est arrivé » a-t-elle dit. « Nous estimons très fortement que nous devons nous prononcer contre tout génocide. »

Larry Lowenthal, le directeur du Comité juif américain (AJC) de Boston, a exprimé un point de vue plus conflictuel.

« C’est un sujet très douloureux parce que chacun sait que le massacre d’Arméniens est un des événements les plus terrifiants de l’histoire moderne » a dit Lowenthal. « Mais il y a des questions stratégiques délicates à la communauté juive. Nous à AJC ne faisons pression d’aucune façon. »

Le 5 février, les chefs de l’AJC étaient parmi les représentants d’une poignée d’organisations juives - comprenant l’ADL - qui a rencontré Abdullah Gul, le ministre turc des affaires étrangères lors d’une réunion à Washington.

La réunion s’est focalisée sur une demande écrite des juifs de Turquie demandant aux organisations juives d’Amérique de ne pas faire de lobby en faveur de la résolution.
« C’est une dure situation » a déclaré pour sa part le consul général israélien en Nouvelle Angleterre Nadav Tamir. « Les relations stratégiques d’Israel avec la Turquie peuvent être critiquées mais d’autre part il est important pour nous en tant que survivants de Holocauste d’être absolument en conformité à cette question morale. Nous voulons vraiment maintenir de bonnes relations avec la Turquie et la Diaspora arménienne. »

Pour Jack Nusan Porter, trésorier de l’association internationale des chercheurs sur les Génocides, la question n’est pas de savoir si le génocide devrait être reconnu. « [ Foxman ] a fait une imbécilité intellectuellement,scientifiquement et politiquement. Il doit être remplacé » a déclaré le chercheur. « Il a mis en avant son ignorance aussi bien que la pression turque - qui est toujours très puissante dans la non-reconnaissance israélienne. » Mais selon Russell, le professeur de Harvard, il est injuste de s’attendre à ce qu’Israel prenne la tête de la reconnaissance du génocide arménien en raison de sa position périlleuse dans le Moyen-Orient.
« Si l’Amérique le fait, Israel suivra » a dit Russell. « Je ne dois aucune fidélité à la communauté arménienne, mais c’est également une question morale et je sais que le génocide a eu lieu. »

A Watertown, le futur du programme « Pas de Place pour la Haine » reste en suspens. Andrew H. Tarsy, directeur régional de l’ADL, dit qu’il projette de rencontrer des membres de la communauté arménienne de Watertown dans l’espoir de trouver un terrain commun.
« Nous ne défions pas l’histoire arménienne » a dit M.Tarsy. « Attaquer le programme de l’ADL n’est une solution à ceci. »

Mais pour Larry Lowenthal, cette situation est extrêmement incommode. « Aucune juif vivant ne peut oublié ceci » a-t-il indiqué du génocide arménien. « Je souhaite que nous ayons juste eu une position catégorique et morale sur ceci, mais pour beaucoup de raisons contraignantes nous le l’avons pas . Ce sont des questions sensibles, difficiles, morales et je me sens souffrir le martyre. »

Jusqu’ici les conséquences de cette question d’une reconnaissance étaient limitées à quelques articles critiques, y compris un “Virons Foxman” édité dans le magasin sur le Web. Mais maintenant, la colère arménienne menace de faire dérailler le programme de l’ADL à Watertown.

La communauté arménienne de Watertown est l’une des plus grande des USA et menace de faire arrêter le programme de l’ADL.

« Ici à Watertown, vous ne pouvez ignorer le génocide arménien » déclare Ruth Thomasian, seule membre arménien du comité de planification du programme « Pas de Place pour la Haine » . « Vous pouvez l’appeler “allégué”’ou “supposé”ou “les chercheurs disent”. Le génocide s’est produit. »

A Watertown, sur une communauté de 32000 habitants près de 20 pour cent sont d’origine arménienne.

« Ce n’est pas un sujet de discussion » a déclaré pour sa part Deborah Lipstadt, spécialiste de l’Holocauste à l’université d’Emory. « Il y a un consensus accablant parmi les historiens qui travaillent dans ce secteur et il n’y a aucune question que c’est un génocide. Vous ne pouvez niez cette histoire. »

Joey Kurtzman, l’auteur de l’article de Jewcy, a déclaré que les organisations juives devraient être « visibles et prendre la parole avec la communauté arménienne. » « Foxman doit publier une rétraction publique et une excuse à la communauté arménienne et aussi à la communauté juive. Après cela, il devrait être renvoyé. »

Dans une tentative apparente de court-circuiter la controverse à Watertown, le bureau de Boston de l’ADL a semblé faire marche arrière face à la ligne de l’organisation.

« L’ADL n’a jamais nié ce qui est arrivé à la fin de la Première guerre mondiale » a affirmé un de ses membres de Boston dans une lettre publiée Boston Globe. « Il y a eu des massacres d’Arméniens et une grande souffrance (...). Nous croyons que le gouvernement turc d’aujourd’hui devrait faire plus que ce qu’il a fait pour s’en prendre au passé et se réconcilier avec les Arméniens. ».

« Nous allons devoir probablement couper nos relations si l’ADL n’entre pas en conversation avec nous et se met au travail sur cette question » a dit Mme Thomasian. « C’est une merveilleuse occasion d’avoir une compréhension du public de 90 ans de négationnisme et pourquoi des gens parfaitement raisonnables tombent dans des pièges comme cela. »

Will Twombly co-président du programme « Pas de Place pour la Haine » à Watertown a pour sa part déclaré le 26 juillet que son groupe est « une entité locale autonome » qui « reconnaît entièrement la tragédie indescriptible de cet événement terrifiant. Nos coeurs vont à chaque membre des familles de victimes du génocide. Nous espérons que tout ceux qui sont inspirés par leur courage travailleront localement pour empêcher la haine et généralement combattre et mettre fin à la dévastation au Darfour et dans les autres partis dévastées du monde ».

ADL uproar in Watertown sparks debate on genocide

ADL uproar in Watertown sparks debate on genocide
By Raphael Kohan
The Jewish Advocate
Thursday August 9 2007

Jewish organizations divided over Armenian congressional resolution

A controversy exposed last week surrounding Watertown’s status as an Anti-Defamation League No Place for Hate community raised serious questions about the role of Jews and Jewish groups in recognizing the Armenian genocide.

On Aug. 1, the Boston Globe reported tensions between the ADL and Watertown’s Armenian community over ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman’s remarks on whether the U.S. Congress should pass a resolution recognizing the approximately 1.5 million Armenians killed by Turks from 1915 to 1923.

A vote has not yet been scheduled for the resolution, which has met opposition from Turkish lobbyists and some Jewish organizations.

“I’m not going to be the arbiter of someone else’s history,” Foxman told the Globe. The Globe additionally reported that Foxman, whose organization holds no official position on the genocide, said Congress should not be involved in history making either.

“It’s incomprehensible to me,” said Khatchig Mouradian, editor of the Watertown-based Armenian Weekly Newspaper. “I believe that No Place for Hate is an important program, but the community here is outraged.”

Foxman did not return requests for comment.

Though seen by many scholars as a historical fact, debate over recognizing the Armenian genocide reveals a distinct split among Jewish organizations. The schism underscores a complex dynamic that touches on Turkey’s relations with Israel and the welfare of the estimated 25,000 Jews still residing there.

While many Jewish groups invoke “Never Again” to further the legacy of the Holocaust and to protest the current genocide in Darfur, the Armenian genocide – which the Turkish government does not acknowledge – uncovers a less-than-forthcoming moral stance.

And though the ADL says it holds no position on the matter, Foxman’s comments show otherwise, according to James Russell, professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University. Russell, a Jew and a self-described American Zionist, said Foxman’s statements are disingenuous for an organization that combats anti-Semitism.

“In my view this amounts to Holocaust denial,” he said. “It is a deeply immoral and ignoble stance.”

Yet there is little consensus among Jewish organizations surrounding this congressional resolution on genocide recognition.

Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, maintains her position that the U.S. should recognize the Armenian genocide.
“We’re well aware of the issue with Turkey but feel we can’t back away from the fact that it happened,” she said. “We feel very strongly that we have to speak out against all genocide.”
Larry Lowenthal, executive director of the American Jewish Committee Boston Chapter, expressed more conflicted views.

“It’s a very painful subject because everybody knows that the massacre of Armenians is one of the most horrific events in modern history,” said Lowenthal. “But there are strategic issues delicate to the Jewish community. We at AJC are not lobbying in any way whatsoever.”
On Feb. 5, AJC leaders were among the representatives from a handful of Jewish organizations – including the ADL – who met with Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, in Washington D.C. The meeting centered around a written plea from Turkish Jews, asking American Jewish organizations to not lobby on behalf of the congressional resolution.

“It’s a tough situation,” said Israeli Consul General to New England Nadav Tamir. “Israel’s strategic relations with Turkey – as a moderate Islamic state – are critical, but on the other hand it is important for us as survivors of the Holocaust to be absolutely consistent with the moral issue. We really want to maintain good relations with Turkey and the Armenian Diaspora.”

For Newton resident Jack Nusan Porter, treasurer of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, there is no question whether the genocide should be recognized.

“[Foxman’s] making a fool out of himself intellectually, academically and politically. He needs to be replaced,” said Porter. “It points out his ignorance as well as the Turkish pressure – which is still very powerful in Israeli non-recognition.”

But according to Russell, the Harvard professor, it is unfair to expect Israel to take the lead in recognizing the Armenian genocide because of its precarious position in the Middle East.
“If America leads on this, Israel can follow,” said Russell. “I owe no loyalty to the Armenian community, but this is also a moral issue and I know the genocide did take place.”
In Watertown, the future of No Place for Hate hangs in the balance.

Andrew H. Tarsy, regional director of the ADL, said he plans to hold conversations with members of Watertown’s Armenian community in hopes of finding common ground.
“We don’t challenge the Armenian history,” said Tarsy. “Attacking the ADL’s program is not a solution to any of this.”

When asked to explain what many view as Foxman’s contradictory comments, Tarsy said they may have been taken out of context.

But for Lowenthal, this entire ordeal has been extremely uneasy.

“No Jew alive can possibly forget this,” he said of the Armenian genocide. “I wish we just had a categorical, moral stance on this, but for many compelling reasons we don’t. These are delicate, difficult, moral issues and I feel anguished.”