Senator Menendez Presses U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Nominee on Armenian Genocide by Armenian National Committee of America. July 13, 2011.
Armenian National Committee of America 1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 * Email.anca < a t> anca.org
For Immediate Release ~ 2011-07-13 Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian ~ Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
WASHINGTON, DC – New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) pressed aggressively today for answers from the Obama Administration over its refusal to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide and, more specifically, regarding how forcing U.S. diplomats into such a “totally untenable” position on this human rights issue materially harms both U.S. interests and America's moral standing, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The Senator's powerful remarks and sharp inquiries came during his questioning at a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee to consider the confirmation of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee John Heffern. Mr. Heffern cited the killing of over 1.5 million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire, but stopped short of properly referencing the crime as ‘genocide,’ arguing that “the characterization of those events is a policy decision that is made by the President of the United States and that policy is enunciated in his April 24 Remembrance Day statement.”
Senator Menendez remarked “This is an inartful dance that we do. We have a State Department whose history is full of dispatches that cite the atrocities committed during this time. We have a convention that we sign on to as a signatory that clearly defines these acts as genocide. We have a historical knowledge of the facts that we accept would amount to genocide. But we are unwilling to reference it as genocide. And if we cannot accept the past, we cannot move forward. And so I find it very difficult to send diplomats of the United States to a country in which they will go – and I hope you will go, as some of your predecessors have – to a genocide commemoration and yet never be able to use the word genocide. It is much more than a question of a word. It is everything that signifies our commitment to saying ‘never again.’ And yet, we can’t even acknowledge this fact and we put diplomats in a position that is totally untenable.”
“Once again, Senator Menendez has powerfully presented - for the White House, his Senate colleagues, and the American people - the mounting moral and material consequences of failing to forthrightly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We remain troubled that the Administration’s failure to speak truthfully and without equivocation about this crime only serves to undermine U.S. moral standing in the cause of genocide prevention, and, as today’s testimony so clearly illustrated, hinders our nation’s interests in, and any future ambassador's ability to fully realize the potential of the U.S-Armenia relationship.”
Sen. Jean Shaheen (D-NH), who chaired the confirmation hearing, was joined by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) in asking Mr. Heffern a series of questions on democracy building efforts in Armenia. Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) recounted the difficulties Armenian artists have had in receiving visas to perform in an international dance festival in Idaho and asked the nominee for help should they be refused entry to participate in the festival again next year. The ANCA had recently submitted an inquiry to the State Department about similar obstacles to the participation of Armenian child artists to obtain visas to attend an international children’s festival in Washington, DC, held last month.
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/26406975" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0"></iframe> <p><a href="http://www.vimeo.com/26406975"> U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Nominee John Heffern Testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee</a> from <a href="http://www.vimeo.com/anca">Armenian National Committee</a> on <a href="http://www.vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
\ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)
1: an ancient empire of Ashur
2: a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern
Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)
a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of
its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender
4: a democratic state that believes in the freedom of
religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the
principles of the United Nations Charter —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)
1: descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur
2: the Assyrians, although representing but one single
nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now
doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle
ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding
hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the
East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.
These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the
Christian Era. No one can coherently understand the Assyrians
as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church
from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly
difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for
in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control,
religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a
criterion of nationality.
the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya,
Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean,
Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu,
Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye,
Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. —
1: a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of
the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.
2: has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical
Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.