Pressure mounts on ADL


The Boston JCRC is cheering the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League after he was fired for supporting a congressional resolution recognizing the World War I massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Andrew Tarsy, head of the ADL’s New England office, was fired Friday after he publicly broke ranks with the organization over the issue, the Boston Globe reported. On Saturday, Boston Jewish Community Relations Council came to Tarsy’s defense, issuing a statement of support and reiterating an earlier position that the massacres constitute a genocide.

“In light of the current controversy between the ADL and the Armenian community, we stand by that statement and applaud the N.E. Regional chapter of ADL and its Director, Andrew Tarsy, for their bold and unprecedented action of standing up to their National body,” the JCRC said. “We stand with them and in support of the local Armenian community which has always recognized the Holocaust and been with us each and every year to commemorate it.”

The ADL has been under fire since the Armenian community in Watertown, Mass., one of the country’s largest, began agitating to have the town rescind its participation in a popular anti-bigotry program the ADL sponsors. On August 14, the Town Council unanimously voted to end its relationship with No Place for Hate and other Massachusetts communities are reported to be considering similar moves. Tarsy initially defended the ADL, which asserts that it does not deny the genocide, while arguing that the matter should be left to historians.

On Friday, however, Tarsy reversed himself in an interview with the Globe. “I strongly disagree with ADL’s national position,” Tarsy said. “It’s my strong hope that we’ll be able to move forward in a relationship with the Armenian community and the community in general.”

The ADL responded with a statement, due to be published as an advertisement in regional newspapers this week, reiterating its opposition to an effort, vigorously opposed by Turkey, to have Congress pronounce on the issue.

“We believe that legislative efforts outside of Turkey are counterproductive to the goal of having Turkey itself come to grips with its past,” the statement said. “We take no position on what action Congress should take on House Resolution 106.”

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