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No Place for the Anti-Defamation League

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 03:26 PM CT

WATERTOWN, Massachusetts — “No Place for Hate” (NPFH) is a nationwide program created, trademarked, authored, sponsored, and partially funded by an organization that is itself guilty of “hate”: the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of Bnai Brith.

NPFH’s stated purpose is to “challenge anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, and bigotry” and encourage “diversity” and “intergroup harmony.”

Hundreds of municipalities and schools - from Watertown, Massachusetts to Santa Barbara, California – have NPFH chapters, often officially endorsed by city governments and school officials. NPFH members come from all backgrounds and generally appear to be sincere.

NPFH has at times come under fire. Critics charge that it is a “politically correct” program that subtly intimidates those who don’t share its “liberal” views on such hot button issues as illegal immigration and same-gender marriage.

Regardless, NPFH is violating its own principles by its direct links to the ADL. How so?

ADL in Denial

ADL literature explicitly equates any form of denial, diminishment, or questioning of the Holocaust with anti-Semitism and “hatred.” Holocaust education and fighting Holocaust denial are also key components of NPFH.

However, like the “Jewish lobby” of which it is a part, the ADL has long flexed its powerful political muscles to not only oppose Congressional resolutions on the Armenian genocide of 1915-23 but also to imply that it was not a genocide.

Thus, the ADL practices the very “hatred” for which it condemns others.

Sadly, the Israeli – Turkish alliance, and resentment that another major genocide predated the Jewish one, underlie all this. Yola Habif Johnston of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs recently admitted that for more than 15 years “the Jewish lobby has quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports [April 27] that the ADL is currently “opposing the [Armenian genocide] bill” in Congress.

Foxman in Denial

The Los Angeles Times [April 21] quotes ADL’s National Director, Abraham Foxman, as having asked Congress to oppose the Armenian genocide resolution because “The resolution takes a position. It comes to a judgment.” Regarding the events of 1915, says Foxman, “The Jewish community shouldn’t be the arbiter of that history, and I don’t think the U.S. Congress should be the arbiter either”.

Takes a position? Comes to a judgment? Shouldn’t be the arbiter? These are precisely the kind of evasions that ADL literature says constitute denial, anti-Semitism and “hate” when applied to the Jewish genocide.

Not that the ADL opposes all genocide resolutions. No, the ADL has supported many Congressional bills and resolutions that have “come to a judgment” on the Jewish genocide. The organization also applauded this year’s UN resolution, introduced by the US, that condemned “any denial of the Holocaust” and – please note - “any activities to this end."

Turkey, Foxman once told The Jewish Journal, “has a magnificent history of tolerance.” Genocide, massacres, and massive human rights violations are signs of “tolerance”?

Prof. Alan S. Rosenbaum, a genocide scholar, has publicly charged Foxman with trying to “falsify or ignore” the Armenian genocide. Let’s be clear: the ADL has consciously gone far, far out of its way to engage in denial of the Armenian genocide.

One wonders how the ADL and NPFH would react if Armenian organizations blocked recognition of the Jewish genocide.

Interestingly, in answering a question of mine three years ago at his taped public presentation at Clark University’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Mr. Foxman actually claimed that the ADL “did not oppose” Armenian resolutions. And yet, just days earlier, a prominent Jewish American leader in Washington, DC confided in me that the ADL had indeed worked against Armenian resolutions. The ADL obviously has some serious credibility problems.

Next Steps

It is sad and painful to have to say these things.

After all, the list of Jewish academicians, public officials, writers, clergy, lawyers, and organizations that support affirmation of the Armenian genocide is lengthy. And we fully recognize that the US State Department and other unprincipled lobbies also support Turkish denialism.

Genocide denial is a human rights issue. It should, therefore, concern everyone, not just Armenian Americans. This issue goes to the core of what NPFH claims to be about.

Grassroots citizens’ groups, including those of Armenian Americans, must meet with NPFH chapters, present the sad facts to them, and explain the necessity of severing all ties to the ADL.

David B. Boyajian is a freelance writer based in Massachusetts.

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