NOTE TO THE EDITOR: In the wake of the Anti-Defamation League’s decision today to end its complicity in the denial of the Armenian Genocide, David Harris, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), issued a public statement seeking to address the growing controversy surrounding his organization’s efforts to block U.S. recognition of this crime against humanity.
The complete text of the ANCA response is below.
The commentary today by David Harris, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, “Truth and Consequences: Armenians, Turks, and Jews,” falls far short of the standards we should expect of a proud institution with a noble, century-long commitment to the highest ideals of the Jewish American community.
The AJC remains, despite the sentiment reflected by this statement and the work of individuals within its leadership, on the wrong side of a fundamental human rights issue – the Armenian Genocide – and, as events of the past several weeks have shown, clearly out of step with the views and values of its own community.
In this statement, the AJC seeks credit for doing the right thing, without actually doing the right thing. The AJC affirms its commitment to protecting historical truth, but carefully avoids – through evasive and euphemistic wording – recognizing the well-documented fact that the Armenian Genocide represents an unmistakable instance of genocide.
The AJC surrenders a measure of its standing as an organization devoted to historical truth when it plays word games with genocide, or seeks to rationalize its unwillingness to take a moral stand on this atrocity based on Turkey’s geopolitical value. Genocide recognition is a moral imperative, not a subject for negotiation or a commodity to be traded for political gain.
While we appreciate this effort by David Harris and the AJC to reach out on this issue, at this point only a clear statement of recognition of the Armenian Genocide and a public call for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution will allow the AJC to break cleanly with its long and troubling record of opposition to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, including, regrettably, its ongoing efforts in Washington, D.C. to prevent the reaffirmation of this crime by the U.S. Congress.