Recognizing the Armenian Genocide – it’s about time

We lost our Jewish soul in the course of so many wiseguy and tough-guy denials of the Armenian Genocide over the years.

By ISRAEL W. CHARNY
May 22, 2018 21:46
1 minute read.
A protester for the Armenian genocide

Armenia genocide 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem welcomes warmly the proposed recognition by Israel of the Armenian Genocide.

The genocide of course was against the Armenian people, but also included millions of other peoples, especially the Assyrians and Greeks. The guiding motif was to remove all non-Islamic peoples, and even more so to be rid of all those who were not “real Turks.”

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The Institute has waged a battle for recognition of the Armenian Genocide since 1982 when the Israeli government opposed, and made many efforts to cancel, the First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide in which out of 300 scheduled presentations there were six lectures on the Armenian Genocide.

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a correction of a longstanding injustice on the part of the government that is entirely comparable to Holocaust denial. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is almost of as much importance to our national soul as it is politically significant.

A further, deeper meaning of this welcome correction is that it can serve as a reminder that a nation’s foreign policy should not be based exclusively on realpolitik considerations but also on moral considerations. It is the integrated use of both principles simultaneously that is called for in order for a nation and people to grow genuinely stronger. Thus, in our judgment, it is time for reconsideration of Israel’s policy of arms sales, especially to countries who are actively committing genocide.

We lost our Jewish soul in the course of so many wiseguy and tough-guy denials of the Armenian Genocide over the years.

Fortunately, there remains to our credit the fact that an overwhelming majority of Israelis and our general cultural knowledge always remained on the side of recognition.

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It is sad, however, to have reached the decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide seemingly only as a result of the abusive, incendiary and antisemitic ravings of a fascist leader, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but blessed be the long overdue tikkun (correction) in any case.

The writer is the director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem. He is the author of a recent book, The Genocide Contagion: How We Commit and Confront Holocaust and Genocide.

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