Diocese of The Armenian Church Letter to ADL Chair

October 30, 2007

Dear Mr. Foxman,

I hope this letter finds you well. I know that you are preparing for a leadership meeting of the ADL so I wanted to follow-up on my letter of 28 August.

Again, I reiterate my appreciation for the ADL leadership taking up the issue of the Armenian Genocide. I know that organizational change, especially on sensitive, long-standing policy issues is difficult, yet a further clarification will be important for our two communities.

The Jewish ethic of Tikkun Olam, perfecting our broken world, requires us all to move out of our comfort zones, especially when matters of justice and human rights are at stake. While the ADL’s position on the recognition of the genocide has become clearer, I urge you and your colleagues to take the next, necessary step and make unequivocally clear the condemnation of the Armenian Genocide. Only by removing any language the does not fully express uniform recognition and condemnation in the most resolute terms possible, by the ADL and/or any other body, can the fullness of justice be achieved.

To acknowledge the Armenian Genocide only to speak against resolutions condemning it sets a terrible, moral precedent. Recognition leads to condemnation and without that, there can be no steps towards prevention. Recognition without condemnation does not promote justice. The last century, and sadly the first decade of this century, have seen man’s continued assault on the fundamental right to live, most notably in the Armenian Genocide, the Shoa, Cambodian Genocide, Rawandan Genocide, and sadly the Genocide that now rages on in Darfur. We cannot expect the protection of our own human rights if we are not courageous enough to speak out in favor of human rights for all. When the rights of one are diminished, all are diminished.

As you know, in law, silence is tantamount to acquiescence, therefore we must not condone and therefore share in preferential selection of one race against another through our silence. We cannot allow the political considerations that whisper today to define our resolute condemnation of all crimes against humanity, for such a decision would resonate for eternity. We must give full and unwaivering voice to our commitment to humanity.

I urge you and all members of the ADL leadership, to join in removing all objections to the condemnation of any and every genocide and crime against humanity. Because of the good work the ADL has done throughout the decades you have a unique ability to speak out. Please use that voice resoundingly in this moral imperative.

With Prayers,

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian