Appendix 5: Press clippings: a history of opposing recognition of the Armenian Genocide

The following are unedited excerpts from the American, Israeli and Turkish press.

The New York Sun
Turkey Up in Arms over House Resolution against Armenian “Genocide”
Turkey was so alarmed by a proposed House resolution calling the mass slaughter of Armenians by Turks during World War I a "genocide" that it dispatched its foreign minister to persuade American Jewish leaders to lobby against it.

At a suite at the Willard Hotel in Washington on February 5, Abdullah Gül met with representatives of the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Friends of Lubavitch, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and United Jewish Communities. According to one participant in the meeting, the Turkish foreign minister "made a hard sell," against House resolution 106, whose short title is "Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution."

Eli Lake
February 22, 2007

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
U.S. Jews enter debate on Armenian/Turkish history
The Turkish lobbying has had some effect. B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) are set to convey a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the resolution to U.S. congressional leaders. The ADL and JINSA have added their own statements opposing the bill. "I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. "The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment. "The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress."

Ron Kampeas
April 27, 2007

Turkish Daily News
Four Jewish groups back Turkey on Armenian genocide
Four large U.S. Jewish groups have lent support to Turkey's position in opposing the passage of two resolutions pending in Congress that call for official recognition of World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) have recently conveyed a letter from Turkish Jews who oppose the resolution to U.S. congressional leaders, officials from the groups told the Turkish Daily News.

In their letter, leading Turkish Jews have urged congressional leaders to postpone considering the genocide measures. In conveying the letter to Congress officials, the four U.S. Jewish groups tacitly agreed to its contents. Going further, the ADL and JINSA have also added their own statements opposing the bill.

April 26, 2007

Jewish Journal
The Armenian Genocide Debate Pits Moral Values Against Realpolitik
Jewish support for the Armenian grievances has not been unanimous. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who represents a large Armenian constituency and has introduced House Resolution 106 calling for U.S. recognition of the 1915 genocide, has sent letters to four Jewish organizations criticizing their positions. The Jewish legislator admonished the American Jewish Committee (AJ Committee), B'nai B'rith International, the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which had jointly transmitted to House leaders a letter from the organized Jewish Community of Turkey.

In his written response, Schiff took the action of the American Jewish organizations as "tantamount to an implicit and inappropriate endorsement of the position of the letter's authors." He added, "I cannot see how major Jewish American organizations can in good conscience and in any way support efforts to deny the undeniable." In a phone interview, Schiff reaffirmed his criticism of the Jewish organizations and surmised that their opposition was influenced by Israel, worried about harming its good relationship with Turkey. "It would be a terrible mistake if the Israeli government became involved in this matter," he said.

Tom Tugend
May 4, 2007

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Under fire, ADL recognizes Armenian killings as genocide
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is the lead sponsor of the congressional resolution, rejected any attempt to connect the controversy to the Israeli-Turkish alliance. "There is no connection between what the U.S. Congress does on this resolution and Israel, unless ADL makes one," Schiff said. The ADL "may end up hurting Israel by bringing Israel into the fight."

Schiff acknowledged that Turkey might be sending such a message to Jewish organizations. But, he added, Jewish groups "should have told Turkey from the beginning, 'We're not involved in this fight, and if we get involved it will be on the side of recognition.' They didn't do that, and now I think they are suffering the repercussions."

[David] Harris, of AJC, dismissed concerns that congressional actions could adversely impact Turkey's Jews or the country's ties to Israel.

Ben Harris
August 21, 2007

Jerusalem Post
Diplomacy: The politics of principles
And the final thing the Turks "get" from Israel is access to the Jewish lobby in Washington. Talk candidly to Turkish academics, politicians and journalists and they will say that one of the reasons Israel is valuable to Turkey is because of the ADL, the American Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and similar organizations. Without a strong lobby of its own in Washington, Turkey looks to these organizations to put in a good word in Congress or with the administration when issues of importance to Ankara - such as issues regarding the Armenians or Cyprus - make their way to those bodies.

Herb Keinon
August 23, 2007

The Jewish Daily Forward
Showdown Set in “Genocide” Debate
Every year on April 24, the day that Armenians commemorate the killings, a resolution calling for the use of the controversial term is proposed in Congress and then beaten back. Some Jewish groups claim credit for ensuring that such a resolution never passes.

Jewish advocacy groups, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, B’nai Brith and American Jewish Committee “have been working with the Turks on this issue” for more than 15 years, said Yola Habif Johnston, director for foundations and community outreach at Jinsa. “The Jewish lobby has quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing,” she said.

Rebecca Spence,
Sep 02, 2006

The Jerusalem Post
Rattling the Cage: Playing politics with genocide
What does the State of Israel and many of its American Jewish lobbyists have to say about it [the Armenian genocide], about this first genocide of the 20th century? If they were merely standing silent, that would be an improvement. Instead, on the subject of the Armenian genocide, Israel and some US Jewish organizations, notably the American Jewish Committee, have for many years acted aggressively as silencers. In Israel, attempts to broadcast documentaries about the genocide on state-run television have been aborted. A program to teach the genocide in public schools was watered down to the point that history teachers refused to teach it.

In the US Congress, resolutions to recognize the genocide and the Ottoman Turks' responsibility for it have been snuffed out by Turkey and its right-hand man on this issue, the Israel lobby.

Larry Derfner
April 21, 2005