Menu JTA Search

Israel Admits, Though Embassy Denies, It Lobbied Against Day for Armenians

Foreign Ministry sources have admitted that “certain top officials” were “overzealous” in lobbying against a Senate resolution commemorating the Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I.

Ministry sources told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that they had been “astounded” to learn that the Israeli Embassy in Washington had been engaged in active lobbying against the resolution, in consultation with several American Jewish organizations.

The sources said that the embassy had been instructed only to “make inquiries” about the proposed Senate resolution, in response to a request by Turkey.

The measure in question would designate April 24, 1990, as a national day of remembrance of the “Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.”

The unnamed diplomats embroiled Jerusalem in an embarrassing affair, the sources said.

In Washington, however, the spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy appeared to contradict these sources, saying that representatives of Israel “did not turn to any Jewish organizations with a request for action, and there was no direct Israeli activity in this matter.”

The lobbying activity, if it indeed took place, is viewed here as having been an attempt to appease Turkey, the only Moslem nation besides Egypt with diplomatic ties to Israel, at the expense of Armenian sensibilities.

In an attempt to soothe feelings, the Foreign Ministry said that “Israel, as the state of the Jewish people, who suffered more persecution and oppression than any other people, is very sensitive to the suffering of the Armenian people.”

NEXT STORY