Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Never Again" is not just a slogan

Recently I was reading the Boston Globe and saw an article about a situation in Watertown, MA. What I read was confusing and concerning.

The short story is that there is a very good project going on in Watertown called "No Place to Hate". The concept is that the residents of the town set up an expectation within the community that racism or any sort of targeting of religious, social or sexual groups will not be tolerated. A very good goal indeed. One of the main sponsors of this program, not surprisingly is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL is generally a force for good. The title bar of their website pretty much sums up what they stand for: Fighting Anti-Semitism, Bigotry and Racism.

But here's where the story takes an odd turn. There's a lot of upset people in Watertown, and the anger is directed at the ADL. The reason was stunning to me. A sizable segment of the local population is Armenian-American. And there has been a long-running dispute between the Armenians and Turkey about recognizing the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during WWI as genocide. Many, but not all countries have recognized the events during that time as genocide.

The recognition of the genocide became an issue in Watertown because the Armenian-American population asked the ADL to recognize the genocide and the ADL declined. The ADL did not deny the genocide, but they sidestepped the issue and said it was not their place to make the determination of what did or did not happen. That's not acceptable. Many countries have made the determination and so has the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

As a Jew, I am thoroughly disgusted with this position. One of the reasons for the creation of the ADL was to ensure that the Holocaust against the Jews of Europe during WWII was not repeated again. Whatever reasons the ADL purports to have for staying out of the debate are crap. The core tentant of "Never Again" is that it does not just apply for Jews. "Never Again" is for any group. That's why the Jewish people stand up for the tragedy in Darfur, stood up with African-Americans against segregation and bigotry in the 60's and should stand up and be counted again in this discussion. The ADL would be all over a Holocaust denier and should not play a similar role in another "dispute" over history. Period, end of sentence.

I sincerely hope that Abraham Foxman and the ADL reconsider their position and reclaim the high road that they have been on for the past 90 years.

1 comment:

Winged Hussar 1683 said...

ADL's opposition to anti-Semitic and other forms of hate speech end where the left wing of the Democratic Party begins, as shown by ADL's whitewash of the hate speech at's now-disgraced Action Forum.

ADL's dossier of hate mongers and hate groups omits the prominent racist and anti-Semite Al Sharpton, with whom Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards posed this April.

It is therefore disgusting, but not surprising, that ADL also seems to be whitewashing the Armenian genocide for political reasons. Perhaps the following might help Foxman & Co. formulate a position statement. "It didn't happen, all the Turks were somewhere else at the time and besides, they were only following orders!"