Press Release: The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights addresses the Suffolk/Foxman/Armenian issue
Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 08:57 PM UT
Press Release: The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights addresses the Suffolk/Foxman/Armenian issue
At the May 17, 2014 Suffolk Law School commencement at the Wang Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts, the Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights distributed 1000 flyers (please see the attached document) to the graduates and their families and guests.
The flyer protested Suffolk University President James McCarthy’s invitation to Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, to be its keynote speaker and receive an honorary law degree.
The main reasons cited by the flyer were Mr. Foxman’s and the ADL’s long-standing collusion with Turkey, a major human rights violator, in refusing to acknowledge the Armenian genocide of 1915 – 1923, making misleading statements on it, and in working to defeat U.S. Congressional resolutions on that genocide.
The protest against Mr. Foxman’s appearance was initiated in early April by Suffolk’s student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. The chapter cited, among several reasons, Mr. Foxman’s stance against Armenian Americans (see over 1000 signatures at Change.org, “Remove ADL Director Abe Foxman as Suffolk Law's 2014 Commencement Speaker”).
The law school’s invitation to Mr. Foxman came just one month after the Massachusetts Governor’s Council’s widely publicized rejection of attorney and ADL National Commissioner Joseph Berman to be a Superior Court judge.
We understand that Mr. Foxman’s commencement speech mentioned the Armenian “genocide.” We must reject his remarks as disingenuous and a clumsy attempt to mislead his audience. The ADL’s only formal and definitive statement on the Armenian issue was issued on August 21, 2007. As explained in the flyer and in NoPlaceForDenial.com’s Q & A, the ADL statement was deliberately and deceptively worded so as to sidestep applicable international law, namely the United Nations 1948 Convention on Genocide. As a result, from 2007 – 2008 the Massachusetts Municipal Association and over a dozen Massachusetts cities and towns severed their ties with the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” program.
The ADL’s infamous 2007 statement has never been withdrawn, nor have Mr. Foxman and his ADL ever apologized to Armenians.
Moreover, the ADL’s continued lobbying against an Armenian genocide resolution is hypocritical and disgraceful, particularly given that the organization claims to uphold the human rights of all ethnic groups and has successfully lobbied for numerous Holocaust resolutions in the U.S. and at the United Nations (see ADL Press Release, “ADL to Uncommitted U.N. Ambassadors: Support Holocaust Denial Resolution,” January 23, 2007).
Armenian Americans await the ADL’s full withdrawal of its deceitful August 21, 2007 statement; its unequivocal and unambiguous acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide; and, to begin to make amends for the injuries it has inflicted in lobbying against the recognition of the Genocide, the ADL must actively and sincerely lobby for the passage of the Armenian genocide resolution. If the ADL is truly composed of advocates for universal human rights and genocide prevention, it will do these things.
The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights takes special notice that some media continue to omit or misrepresent the above facts and the Armenian American position.
The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights joins in protesting Suffolk Law’s invitation to Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s National Director since 1987, to be its keynote speaker and receive an honorary law degree. The National Lawyers Guild’s Suffolk chapter initiated the protest, and over 1000 people have signed its Change.org petition [archive] protesting Foxman. Hundreds have written to Suffolk President James McCarthy and commencement invitee US Senator Edward Markey.
Q: Why are Foxman and the ADL not deserving of being honored by Suffolk Law School?
A: A major example: Foxman and his ADL have for many years worked with Turkey, a major human rights violator, to prevent formal US recognition of the genocide committed by Turkey against 1.5 million Christian Armenians from 1915–23. This is hypocritical and contrary to the ADL’s stated mission of upholding the human rights of all people. Foxman has also tried to sidestep international law and diminish the Armenian genocide in his disingenuous, legalistically worded statement of August 21, 2007.
Q: How did Foxman’s statement sidestep international law?
A: To be genocide, the 1948 “United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” requires “intent” by the perpetrator. Foxman wrote, in part: “… the consequences of those actions [by Turkey] were indeed tantamount to genocide.” The word “consequences” is, in effect, the very opposite of the “intent” required by the Genocide Convention. And note that “tantamount to genocide” is not the same as genocide. Foxman has never withdrawn that statement or apologized.
Q: What had brought about Foxman’s statement?
A: In the summer of 2007, major protests arose in Massachusetts and the nation over the ADL’s long-time cooperation with Turkey to defeat Congressional resolutions on the Armenian genocide & the ADL’s refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. It made international news: NoPlaceForDenial.com.
Q: Was Foxman’s August 21, 2007 statement rejected by human rights activists and others?
A: Yes. From 2007 to 2008, the human rights commissions and city councils of Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Peabody, Somerville, Watertown, and Westwood stopped sponsoring the ADL’s alleged anti-bias program “No Place for Hate.” The Massachusetts Municipal Association, representing all cities and towns, also dropped “No Place for Hate.” They realized that the ADL – one of whose major concerns is the Holocaust – was acting immorally and hypocritically. They knew that Foxman’s August 21 statement skirted international law. Human rights advocates and media excoriated Foxman and the ADL.
Q: Has Foxman ever punished anyone in the ADL for acknowledging the Armenian genocide?
A: Yes. When local New England ADL Director Andrew Tarsy suddenly acknowledged the Armenian genocide in 2007, Foxman immediately fired him. Jewish Americans condemned the firing. Foxman was forced to rehire Tarsy under terms never made public. Soon after, however, Tarsy resigned. He was later replaced by Derek Shulman, a political director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which had similarly helped Turkey to cover up the Armenian genocide.
Q: Was the Armenian Genocide truly a genocide?
A: Yes. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer, coined the word “genocide” in 1944 and authored much of the 1948 Genocide Convention. In a 1949 CBS-TV interview (see YouTube), Lemkin said he became interested in genocide because “it happened to the Armenians.” A 1951 World Court (ICJ) filing by the US cited the Armenian “genocide.” Nearly 20 countries, including Canada, France, Sweden, and Argentina, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the European Union Parliament, the Parliament of the Council of Europe, a U.N. subcommittee, Massachusetts, and many others recognize the Armenian “genocide.” An Armenian genocide resolution is pending in the Senate. Senator Edward Markey, speaking today, is co-sponsoring it. Foxman and his ADL oppose the resolution.
Q: Why are Foxman and his ADL so against recognition of the Armenian genocide?
A: Jewish and Israeli analysts and media confirm that an agreement was initiated long ago among Turkey, Israel, and the ADL (and other organizations such as AIPAC, AJC, and JINSA). Turkey wanted Jewish American groups to lobby for Turkish interests. Though Turkish – Israeli relations have become strained, the agreement remains in force. See documentation in “A History of Lobbying against Genocide Recognition” at NoPlaceforDenial.com.
Q: Who has favored the US Congressional resolution on the Armenian genocide?
A: Scores of organizations of diverse orientations including American Values, National Council of Churches, NAACP, National Organization of Women, Sons of Italy, American Jewish World Service, and Jewish War Veterans of the USA. 126 Holocaust scholars signed a petition appearing in the New York Times (June 9, 2000) urging acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide.
Q: In view of all this, why would Suffolk University still honor Foxman and the ADL?
A: It’s inexplicable. President McCarthy claims that Foxman is being honored for his “body of work.” Such as the ADL’s sidestepping the Genocide Convention? Or the ADL’s efforts to stop recognition of the Armenian genocide while demanding commemoration and legislation on the Holocaust? Would a true human rights organization conspire with a human rights violator such as Turkey to cover up the murder of 1.5 million human beings? In 1993, authorities in San Francisco raided ADL headquarters. They discovered “evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people” (L.A. Times, April 9, 1993). The ADL paid an out-of-court settlement. In 2007, the police chief of Arlington, MA said his department could get information from the ADL that it could not legally acquire on its own. So is the ADL an organization that truly upholds civil & human rights and follows the law?
The Suffolk leadership’s divisive actions have not honored its graduates, their families, and the law.
The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights wishes graduates long and successful careers.
Statement by 126 Holocaust Scholars, Holders of Academic Chairs, and Directors of Holocaust Research and Studies Centers
March 7, 2000
View image of the petition appeared in New York Times, June 9, 2000.
126 Holocaust Scholars Affirm the Incontestable Fact of the Armenian Genocide and Urge Western Democracies to Officially Recognize it.
At the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Scholar's Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches Convening at St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 3-7, 2000, one hundred twenty-six Holocaust Scholars, holders of Academic Chairs and Directors of Holocaust Research and Studies Centers, participants of the Conference, signed a statement affirming that the World War I Armenian Genocide is an incontestable historical fact and accordingly urge the governments of Western democracies to likewise recognize it as such. The petitioners, among whom is Nobel Laureate for Peace Elie Wiesel, who was the keynote speaker at the conference, also asked the Western Democracies to urge the Government and Parliament of Turkey to finally come to terms with a dark chapter of Ottoman-Turkish history and to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This would provide an invaluable impetus to the process of the democratization of Turkey.
Below is a partial list of the signatories:
I hereby declare that the originals of these one hundred and twenty-six signatories are on file in my office. All affiliations supplied are for identification purposes only.
Dr. Stephen Feinstein, Director,
Willful Blindness: Abraham Foxman and the Armenian Genocide