Armenian genocide becomes political football in Gaza crisis

With appalling blatancy, Israel’s “amen chorus” on Capitol Hill is proposing use of the Armenian genocideā€”specifically, the threat of US recognition of it as genocideā€”as political ammo against Turkey in the wake of the deadly Israeli naval attack on a Turkish-organized “Free Gaza” aid flotilla. From the Jerusalem Post, June 17:

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) said he recently warned the Turkish ambassador that “With regard to Congress of the United States, there will be a cost if Turkey stays on its current path of growing closed to Iran and more antagonistic to the State of Israel.”

Among other issues, he said, he was now likely to switch his vote to support a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians during the Ottoman empire as a genocide, a move he had voted against in the past because he thought relations with Turkey were more important.

Rep. Pence has sure raised the bar for cynicism pretty impressively. How heart-warming for the Armenians to know that their struggle for historical memory has been reduced to Israel’s political football. We noted before that, thanks to the Israel-Turkey strategic partnership, the Israel Lobby has embraced a position of genocide-denial where the Armenians are concernedā€”even while so notoriously exploiting the Nazi Holocaust to the hilt. Pence now proposes finally abandoning this unprincipled positionā€”for utterly unprincipled reasons. Fortunately, some Jewish voices are dissenting from this abhorrent, conniving jive. James Besser writes on his Political Insider blog for New York’s Jewish Week June 17:

It was offensive when we defended Turkey because it was somehow “good for Israel,” and it’s doubly offensive when we use the threat of ending that protection as just another political bludgeon in the pro-Israel wars. You want to punish Turkey with scaled-back diplomatic ties? With an end to military cooperation? With economic sanctions? Fine. But threatening to change your position on an issue as fundamental as genocideā€”that’s crossing a line the Jewish community should never cross.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Kurds have noted hypocrisy in Ankara’s position on the Gaza crisis. Commentator Mufid Abdulla wrote on Kurdish Media June 10:

Turkey claims to be a champion of human rights for the Palestinians but it cannot escape the fact that tens of thousands of Kurds have lost their lives due to Turkish violence and oppression. Ethnic Turks enjoy a privileged position compared to the Kurds who live in Turkey. The Kurds are still treated as second class citizensā€”in the eyes of the law and of Turkish public opinionā€”and held responsible for damaging Turkey’s international reputation.

It is ironic that, as Turkey’s ‘reform project’ towards the Kurds has crumbled, Turkish citizens have placed themselves on the front line aboard the ‘Mavi Marmarise’ [sic] as it tried to reach Gaza with aid for the deprived Palestinians. [W]hy aren’t Turks protesting against the persecution of Kurds who live closer to home, in the south of their own country?

See our last posts on Palestinian, Armenian and Kurdish struggles.

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  1. Reader wants “evidence” of Armenian genocide
    The fact that there is no crime without evidence, specially a huge crime like “genocide.” The problem is Armenians want to bring this issue to the parliaments rather than the international courts. Have you asked yourselves why?

    There has been no kind of court decision about what the Armenians call a ā€˜genocideā€™ nor has the Armenians ever applied to any court.

    Moreover, International Court of Justice or domestic courts are the only authorities reserved to prosecute and proclaim genocide according to the 1948 UN Convention. Therefore, the Armenian allegation of genocide lacks evidence and legal support.

    Have you ever wondered;
    Why are they afraid of simply applying to the International Court of Justice instead of spending huge amounts of money to make the propaganda of their thesis?

    Why are they afraid of discussing their thesis in historical joint commissions?

    Why did they not open their archives up till now, while the Turkish archives are open?

    1. The Armenian genocide is a proven fact (despite Turkish lies).
      It was no secret in 1915 that the Turkish government was exterminating the Armenian population of its empire, and since then it has been conclusively proven over and over.

      The genocide was covered while it was happening (with many front page articles in the New York Times, for example), documented by US ambassador to Istanbul Henry Morgenthau Sr in his book Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story and confirmed by a British inquiry under Lord Bryce (assisted by Arnold Toynbee); in Turkey itself in 1919 the postwar government held courts martial in which all the members of the wartime ruling triumvirate were convicted in absentia of “the massacre and destruction of the Armenians” and sentenced to death.

      In our time the truth has been repeatedly affirmed by the International Association of Genocide Scholars, which has blasted the Turkish government for lying about it (e.g. and, as well as by a growing number of Turkish historians such as Taner AkƧam and Fatma MĆ¼ge GƶƧek and other Turkish writers such as Elif Shafak and the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.

      The Turkish government’s campaign of lies which you are shilling for is every bit as demonstrably false, and as despicable, as the lies of the neo-Nazis who deny the Holocaust and of the white supremacist apologists for the Confederacy who deny the horrors of the slaveholding south. Indeed, the campaigns are so similar that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is largely devoted to tracking and exposing Nazis and Klansmen, has also vehemently denounced the Turkish government’s lies.

      I lay out these facts just in case any readers of WW4 Report don’t know enough about the facts of this case to recognize just how outrageous your lies are. I am not interested in engaging in an ongoing argument on what is already an established fact, any more that I would legitimize Holocaust-deniers by “debating” whether the Nazis committed genocide against Jews, Roma and gay people.

      So why are you repeating the Turkish government’s lies? Obviously, you were “educated,” by the heirs of Ataturk’s fascistic nationalists. However, even many Turks today have recognized the truth. It’s time to really educate yourselfā€”or failing that, crawl back under whatever rock you crawled out from, but one way or another you should stop polluting a progressive website with fascistic propaganda.

    2. Evidence
      The International Association of Genocide Scholars recognizes the Armenian Genocide (as well as that against the Greeks and the Assyrians). There has been plenty of investigation of this matter and plenty of evidence gathered.

      Those who continue to deny the Christian Genocide perpetrated in Asia Minor are in a dwindling minority.

      There are still people who insist on denying the Holocaust as well by various kinds of tortured “logic.”