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.”