Armenian Jews called on the Anti-Defamation League to support a U.S. congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide.
In a letter to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, the chairman of Armenia’s Jewish community, Rimma Varzhapetian-Feller, applauded the organization’s “firm stand” recognizing the genocide. But Varzhapetian-Feller lamented that the ADL refuses to support a resolution now being considered in Congress to recognize as genocide the World War I massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.
“Any genocide committed against a nation must not remain unrecognized or unpunished,” said the letter, according to the Armenian Web site PanARMENIAN.net. “However, on behalf of our community I express regret over the fact that the ADL doesn’t endorse the House resolution on the Armenian Genocide.”
Varzhapetian-Feller said the failure to recognize the Armenian genocide paved the way for the Holocaust and suggested that a congressional resolution could help prevent future genocides.
The ADL has been at the center of a controversy since the town council in the Boston suburb of Watertown voted to sever ties with an anti-bigotry program the organization sponsors in protest of the ADL’s positions on Armenian genocide. Two other suburban Boston communities have followed suit.
After Watertown’s decision, the ADL switched from its long-held position of neutrality on whether the Armenian massacres constituted genocide, but the group remains unwilling to support a congressional resolution affirming ADL’s newly adopted position that the Armenians suffered attempted genocide at the hands of the Turks.
Other Jewish groups – including the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International – have adopted similar positions, citing concerns about American and Israeli strategic interests in the Middle East and threats to the Turkish Jewish community.
The Armenian National Committee of America has lined up support for a congressional resolution from 12 Jewish groups, including the Union for Reform Judaism, Americans for Peace Now, the Zionist Organization of America and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.