Irish Writer Slams Israel's Stand
On Armenian Genocide in Jewish Paper
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
The Israeli government's shameless position of not recognizing the Armenian
Genocide has had a devastating effect on its image abroad. Besides offending
Armenians, Israel's denialist policy has had the regrettable effect of
making people around the world less sympathetic towards Jewish suffering in
the Holocaust. After all, if Israeli officials, for misperceived political
gains from Turkey, are willing to deny another genocide, wouldn't that cause
a lessening of sympathy for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust? How would
Israeli officials feel if other nations emulated their cynical behavior by
starting to deny the Holocaust for some ill-begotten political gain?
Armenians have repeatedly expressed their indignation at the Israeli
government's denial of the Armenian Genocide. Even more importantly, many
righteous Jews have severely criticized the position of Israel on this
issue. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz recently published a powerful
commentary by one of its regular columnists, Thomas O'Dwyer, castigating the
government of Israel for siding with Turkey on the denial of the Armenian
Contacted by phone in Israel, O'Dwyer told this writer that even though he
is an Irishman, he was deeply offended by the double standard practiced by
the Israeli government on the Armenian Genocide. He wanted to give the
Israeli officials a piece of his mind. He did not mince his words. Here are
some excerpts from his column:
"If the victims of genocides cannot depend on the support of the descendants
of the Holocaust - where on earth will anyone ever find truth and justice?
...How sickening ... is it to watch the disgusting machinations of the
Jewish state when it comes to its cowardly refusal to speak out stridently
against the deniers of the Armenian genocide.
"After a newspaper item appeared ...saying that an [Israeli] government
brochure mentioned that a 'third generation survivor of the Armenian
holocaust in 1915' would light a torch at the Independence Day ceremony,
Turkish embassy hysteria went into its customary overdrive in protest. In a
remarkable act of craven capitulation to denial, the Knesset and government
caved in and actually printed 2,000 new brochures for the ceremony. The
revisionist version of history expunged the truth and replaced it with a
description of the torch-lighter Naomi Nalbandian as a 'daughter of the
long-suffering Armenian people' and her grandparents as 'survivors of
historical Armenia, 1915.'
"The Ottoman Empire ethnically cleansed and murdered 1.5 million Armenians
between 1915 and 1918. The Turkish army drove hundreds of thousands of
Armenians through the Der Zor desert where they died from hunger and thirst.
What is more, the government sanctioned raids by Turkish soldiers, who
destroyed whole Armenian villages, not sparing even the women or the
children. The Armenian population was completely wiped out in Western
"Modern Turkey continues to vehemently deny these crimes against humanity
and fights ferociously around the globe to bury the historical facts. And
again this week - and not for the first time - we have witnessed the State
of Israel's complicity in the lie, because it is scared of upsetting its
only friend in the Muslim states. This is political expediency at its most
morally bankrupt. Tripping over itself in its stupid defense of the
untenable Turkish position, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has again and again
played an active role in suppressing even discussion of the issue.
" 'Outrageous,' is how [historian] Deborah Lipstadt ...has described the
Turkish denial. 'The Turks have managed to structure this debate so that
people question whether this really happened.' No
w shouldn't that sound
familiar to any Jewish ear? ...Lipstadt was one of 150 scholars and writers
who signed a Washington Post ad condemning Turkey's persistent denial of the
Armenian genocide. Among the others signing was no less a person than Prof.
Yehuda Bauer, the academic director of Yad Vashem. 'We and many others have
accepted the United Nations definition of genocide and there can be no
argument about [the Armenian case] being genocide,' he said at the time.
"During a similar row several years ago the then Armenian foreign minister
said in an interview: 'There is some discrepancy between Israel's words and
their deeds on genocide. Israel has to show a moral authority since we have
gone through a similar history and experience.'
"What is shocking is that there should be any question whatsoever of Israel
denying the murder of a nation. The sooner the Turks come clean, admit the
crimes of their great-grandparents, and get it over with, the better for all
"Turkey's denials of the Armenian massacre will not endure - but the memory
of Israel's refusal to speak out against the denial just might. 'Who, after
all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' asked Adolf Hitler
when persuading his fellow thugs that a Jewish extermination would be
tolerated by the West.
"Of course there is one Turk you can quote who still commands almost
reverential respect from his fellow countryman - Kemal Ataturk, the
legendary founder of the modern nation. In an interview published on August
1, 1926 in The Los Angeles Examiner, Ataturk talked about the former Young
Turks in his country: 'These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party,
who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian
subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred,
have been restive under the Republican rule.' When we have the word of
Ataturk himself, we don't need to be accused of 'pandering to the views of
the enemies and haters of Turks' as one Turkish diplomat once wrote to me
for daring to question the lie....
"The three rulers of Turkey as a triumvirate during the time of the genocide
were Jemal Pasha, Enver Pasha and Talat Pasha. Of them, British Viscount
James Bryce said in a speech on October 6, 1915: 'The massacres are the
result of a policy which, as far as can be ascertained, has been entertained
for some considerable time by the gang of unscrupulous adventurers who are
now in possession of the government of the Turkish Empire.'
"After the German ambassador persistently brought up the Armenian question
in 1918, Talat Pasha said 'with a smile': 'What on earth do you want? The
question is settled. There are no more Armenians.'
"Later, Prince Abdul Mecid, the heir apparent to the Ottoman Throne, said
during an interview: 'I refer to those awful massacres. They are the
greatest stain that has ever disgraced our nation and race. They were
entirely the work of Talat and Enver. I heard some days before they began
that they were intended. I went to Istanbul and insisted on seeing Enver. I
asked him if it was true that they intended to recommence the massacres that
had been our shame and disgrace under [Sultan] Abdul Hamid. The only reply I
could get from him was: 'It is decided. It is the program.'
"Keep on denying, folks. But remember, the dead won't let you forget."
O'Dwyer's critical words are fully justified given the Israeli government's
cowardly position on the Armenian Genocide. He should be highly commended
for his uncompromising support for the truth. The Jewish newspaper Ha'aretz
should also be commended for having the courage to publish a column that
strongly condemns the Israeli government on this issue.