Hillel Halkin: Moral of the Armenian Genocide

Roundup: Talking About History

The latest flap, involving the Anti-Defamation League and its director Abraham Foxman, over Jewish recognition of Turkey's genocidal killing of Armenians during World War I is more pathetic than anything else.

It is sad and shameful that, under pressure from Israeli governments fearful of antagonizing the Turks, Jewish organizations in both Israel and the Diaspora have been so reluctant to acknowledge a historical truth that is well-documented and beyond serious challenge. Whether the Turks, who were fighting desperately to hold onto what was left of the Ottoman Empire, intended to kill every last Armenian they could hunt down, of whether they simply wanted to kill enough of them to make sure that Turkey no longer had an "Armenian problem" after the war, there can be no doubt that many hundreds of thousands, and probably well over a million, Armenians were deliberately murdered by them in the years between 1915 and 1918.

As understandable as may be Israel's desire to preserve good relations with Turkey, the only Muslim country with which it has close economic and military ties, its behavior in regard to the Armenian genocide has been craven. For a Jewish state to abet the denial of genocide because it deems this necessary for the defense of Jewish interests is to make a mockery of the campaign against Holocaust denial. Worse yet, it is to make a mockery of Jewish accusations against the world for standing by and doing nothing while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.

After all, did not the countries of the world that failed to prevent the Nazis from planning and executing the murder of European Jewry have their legitimate interests, too?...

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