Thursday, July 01, 2010

Israel / Turkey / Armenian Genocide

Genocide Recognition, But at What Cost?
By Arman Grigorian, July 1, 2010
"Political establishments in Israel and the US are actively weighing their options for punishing Turkey since the incident on Mavi Marmara and since Turkey voted to oppose the sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. One would not have to be particularly cynical to predict that recognizing the Armenian genocide -- something both countries have vigorously resisted for decades -- would quickly emerge on their respective lists of options. A discussion was held in the Israeli Knesset about possibly putting the issue on the legislative agenda, and several American lawmakers (including some who have opposed recognition in the past) have made statements in favor of passing such legislation now. Many Armenians and at least some organizations that claim to speak on their behalf are pleased. Leaders of the Armenian community have already held meetings with relevant members of the US Congress, as well as with the leaders of the American Jewish organizations, welcoming this new trend. The Armenian community's reaction to this development was, of course, even more predictable than the fact that this issue would come to the fore. For too long, proper recognition of the mass annihilation of Armenians has been the central item on the community's agenda, and for too long Armenians have had to endure the soul-crushing hypocrisy of both the Israeli and American political establishments, which scream louder than anybody in the world about the dangers of denying or minimizing past crimes against humanity, but until very recently were denying the Armenian genocide. They seem to have come around, finally. So some among us think we should rejoice. Or should we? Is this really a development that Armenians should celebrate, welcome, and support? The relentless pursuit of genocide recognition has become so central to Armenian life in America (or even to Armenian identity in America and elsewhere in the Diaspora), that it is impossible to conceive of any answer to this question other than 'of course.' But we should at least try to think about a different answer, for enthusiastically welcoming this newfound sympathy for Armenian suffering in the Israeli and American political establishments is not free of costs, both moral and political. [...]"

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