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Turkey's small Jewish community has come out against the Anti-Defamation League's new policy position that the massacre of Armenians during World War I was "tantamount to genocide."
Silvio Ovadio, head of the Jewish community in the country, issued a statement saying, "We have difficulty in understanding" the ADL's new position on the matter, the Turkish media reported on Thursday.
The ADL position only reflected the opinion of "related institutions of the American Jews," the statement emphasized. "We declare that we are supporting Turkey's belief that the issue should be discussed at the academic level by opening archives of all related parties and that parliaments are not the places for finding out historical facts via votingâ€š" the statement read.
The Turkish press also published a letter from prominent Turkish Jewish businessman Jak Kamhi to Foxman on Thursday.
In his letter, Kamhi said that "by accepting this false comparison between the uniquely indisputable genocide for which the term was coined - the Holocaust, and the events of 1915, the ADL has committed an act of the most inexplicable injustice against the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as against the sensitivities and pride of the Turkish people, who deserve your praise for their centuries-long tradition of compassion and their culture of humanity and cohabitation that remains an example to the world."
Kamhi took issue with Foxman's assertion that there was a consensus among historians that the massacre was tantamount to genocide, saying there was no such agreement. The ADL position "will put back the painstaking efforts by many of us in Turkey, including our brothers in the Armenian community, to resolve this highly emotive issue without prejudgment. It will now be seized upon by all those who seek to destroy all our work and create discord and bitterness between our countries," Kamhi wrote.