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ISRAEL: Discussing Armenian genocide


A week before Israelis and Jews will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day early May, Armenians throughout the world will be commemorating their own tragedy.

Armenians say 1.5 million people, one third of the ethnic nation, were massacred by the Turks in 1915-1916. Turkey maintains that between 250,000 and 500,000 Armenians were killed during the minority's struggle for independence, and a similar number of Turks. The Armenians are relentless in their push for recognition of the killings as genocide, while an uncomfortable Turkey counters these efforts with international pressure.

In this bitter dispute, Israel finds itself in both a moral and diplomatic hard spot.

For the first time, the Israeli parliament is going to discuss the matter. Knesset member Haim Oron raised the issue, reminding that in recent years the U.S. Congress and French parliament have passed laws recognizing the Armenian genocide. "It is impossible that the Jewish nation will not speak up," he said.

Turkey and Israel are more than geographically close. The two countries share various strategic interests and the thought of a public discussion of the sensitive issue makes both sides nervous.

One possibility is that the issue be discussed in the Knesset's foreign affairs and defense committee, whose sessions are closed to the press.

"The Armenian issue is very sensitive for Turkey," Hasan Murat Mercan, chairman of the Turkish Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, told Jerusalem officials during a visit last week. "We would prefer if this discussion didn't take place at this time ... because it may harm relations between the two countries." A senior aide to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert replied that Israel believes the issue needs to be settled between the two sides with the involvement of historians, and has no interest in undermining its important strategic relations with Turkey.

Aside from "not denying the occurrence of the terrible events" and expressing understanding of the deep sensitivity, Israel has long avoided a clear public position. Attempts to include the topic in the school syllabus nearly a decade ago failed, authorities being reluctant to anger Turkey and concerned it would detract from the importance of the Holocaust.

In 2003, an Israeli nurse of Armenian descent was chosen as one of the traditional 12 torch-lighters in the yearly memorial ceremony preceding Independence Day. The text she wrote for the government brochure had described her as a "third generation to survivors of the Armenian holocaust in 1915." But protest from the Turkish embassy led the reprinting of 2000 new brochures, stating instead that she was the daughter of the long-suffering Armenian people and that her grandparents were "survivors of historic Armenia."

Reuven Rivlin, a veteran legislator who was Knesset speaker at that time, wrote last week that Israel is obliged to recognize the Armenian genocide: "We cannot, in the name of political or diplomatic wisdom, suppress such fundamental human values, which touch on the roots of our tragic existence."

—Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

Photo: Armenian clergymen commemorate the massacre of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in World War I in the Armenian Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

Comments () | Archives (67)

Israel stay on the side of TRUTH as True history of Armenians will be written not in stones but in our Hearts and Humanity Hearts about the Armenian Genocide.

I think Israel should be the first country to reconize the Armenian Genocide as the Jews have suffered with the Nazis. Yes, Turkey will come out with a vengence and will eventually have to admit to it for Truth can never be suppressed forever.

Umm...ok...this is old news, I think they should just move on and just pay respect to their ancestors. We're in 2010. I think it's time to just live in the present and make peace. Thanks.

Source: Walker, Christopher: "Armenia: The Survival of a Nation." New York (St. Martin's Press), 1980.

This generally pro-Armenian work contains the following information of direct relevance to the Nazi Holocaust:

a) Dro (the butcher), the former Dictator of the Armenian Dictatorship and the architect of the Genocide of 2.5 million Turks and Kurds, the most respected of Nazi Armenian leaders, established an Armenian Provisional
Republic in Berlin during World War II;

b) this 'provisional government' fully endorsed and espoused the social theories of the Nazis, declared themselves and all Armenians to be members of the Aryan 'Super-Race;'

c) they published an Anti-Semitic, racist journal, thereby aligning themselves with the Nazis and their efforts to exterminate the Jews; and,

d) they mobilized an Armenian Army of up to 20,000 members which fought side by side with the Wehrmacht.

Turkey will pay the price sooner or later. No one gets away with murder and after all these years turks live like a prisoner to their own guilt.

I have noticed from reading all these comments that any information posted by the Turks ,is conveniently ignored by the Armenians, and is only met with more genocide claims and arguments.No one dares to discuss or question the most self-incriminating books ever written by Armenians themselves, such as ,'Dashnaks have nothing to do Anymore' or Patriotism Perverted.This is not Turkish propoganda nor did the writers worked for the "Turkish Government 'as often stated by anyone who feels threatened by facts. It is high time that you people ask yourselves why these books were removed from your country and from libraries around the world.Is it because they are 'lies'? Or is it the raw truth they don't want you to know . .Either way, Armenian people should be allowed to make that decision themselves and come to their own conclusions.

If the Turkish people and the goverment continue with this you going to be the victims.
Also you going to say nothing happen with the greeks, and other diferent countries.
You say there is no genocide , but the Amenians , documents and history say something different .

Regards Abraham

If a tree falls...

What a waste of time. Good thing we engineers are more practical and think in logical terms.

I think you are trying to change the subject and find ways to waste my good ideas instead of answering them. No need to twist the truth. Just face it fair and square.



Of course Raphael was 10 at the time of the Armenian Genocide, what does this have to do with the fact that a person can learn/study of an even that occurred when they were 10 or centuries before their berth? You're reasoning is very backwards oriented.

The question I asked you is one used in philosophy, and you can answer it after you read about it. It is to show us all your thinking/reasoning capacity.

Is this a trick question? "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

I'll take option "d". Please send the check to descendants of Turkish innocent people who died in 1915 if I win a sweepstake.

Please examine the true history in its entirety. There is no need to make forced similies or hypotheses.

I watched the mentioned video on the youtube. It is full of opinions. No facts are presented on this propaganda piece.

Looks like you missed my comment below, where I wrote that Raphael Lemkin was only 10 years old in 1915 and any opinion he formed about the Armenian history is based on biased hearsay.

The UN definition of geno- is written wrong in the you tube video referenced above. "As such" meaning for belonging to that groupo is missing from the intent. At the turn of the XXth Century Armenians hated Turks not the other way around. It still continues in the same fashion in XXIst Century.

When the folk songs of 100 years ago were examined, it revealed that Armenians hated Turks and not the other way around. The comments in this column reveal that same racial hatred pattern continues to this day.


I love how we go in circles. We're back where we started, the UN definition of "intent" to commit genocide. My first post stated Raphael Lemkin presenting the definition for genocide and him using the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as the chief model of genocide and his presentation. I found this video on youtube of Raphael Lemkin giving this such presentation. at position 1:50.

In that same post I also indicated that rhetoric doesn't equal to the truth, but you still continue to present us with other examples so the seed our doubt grows.

Let me ask you, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

Many specimens have vanished from this earth. So have many nations, cultures and languages. No one ever blamed the survivors for their disappearance.
No nation lives where they used to live once upon a time. Newer cultures appear and generations adopt different survival methods. What you are saying is, since Armenians no longer live in Anatolia Turks must be guilty of wiping them out. Which is not proof of intents to wipe out a nation for belonging to a certain ethnicity. War conditions are excluded from UN definition of genocide.

Why don't you hold responsible your leaders who declared was on the Turks, for the relocation order?

Dear Suheyla

You ask why are there no Turks living in Yerevan, then you say there were Muslims living there in Ottoman times.

First of all you don't need to be a Turk to be a Muslim and vise versa.

Secondly there are many Mosques still in Yerevan and Armenian proper. The most notable Mosque is the Blue Mosque or Gok Mosque which is located near the center of Yerevan. All in all there are 10 mosques that are still in tact. One thing Armenians didn't do with Mosques was convert them into Churches, which is what the Turkish government has done to all the Churches there.

Suheyla please don't let disbelief lead to denial.,_Yerevan

Dear bobby,

Why are there no Turks living in Yerevan? During the Ottoman Empire, Yerevan's population was mostly Moslem. Did those people evaporate into thin air? Why are there no mosques in Yerevan now? There was no population exchange between Armenia.

My relatives had to escape from the Balkans. Many friends families escaped Westward in front of Russian invasion. History has to be examined in its entirety. It cannot be chopped in periods and locations convenient only to Armenians.

Dennis Papazian's letter clearly shows the qualifications required from "genocide scholars". It is far from being democratic or unbiased. Definitley not fair, not a truth seeker approach. Those academicians cannot claim to be unbiased.

Define systematic killing and prove it. Just because you say so does not make it so.

There was no time to organize a relocation. How could any country, in the midst of suffering in wars from 1900-1923 feed its citizens?

I could believe you if the Turkish government was able to provide food for the Moslems and ignored the Armenians, but the Moslems suffered just as much. The Turkish soldiers died of typhoid and cholera. The government could not provide them more than one meal a day.

Dear Bobby,

There are two sides to every war. One side loses and the other wins. In the case of the Balkans, the Turks lost. In Eastern Anatolia, the Armenians lost. It is as simple as that. May be you should hold responsible your leaders who pursued a losing battle.

Armenians were less than 16% of the total population in the six Eastern Provinces they wished to declare their independence. This had a lot to do with the unsuccesssful attempt to declare independance for the Armenians.

As for the suffering and the less than warm greeting in the new location, you might consider the terrible war conditions. The Ottonam Empire had been at war for 12 years. They had no money to feed their soldiers. Those soldiers shared their meager food ration with the deportees. Please do not deny the humane treatment of many Turks. No need to conceal that many Armenians found refugee among Turks. Most were housed in Muslims' homes. Turks were condemned to deplorable conditions, themselves. The Armenains definitely caused a lot of the hardship on all the people by causing the losing battles against the Russians. Why don't you ask your leaders who preferred to turn World War I into a terrible suffering?

The Tiflis representative of Dashnaqsutiun, Karekin Pastermadjian, himself wrote in his book called "Why Armenia should be free" 1918, Heirenik Press, Boston, that they could foresee, that Armenians would be relocated en-masse and with great casualty, much before the horrific historic events unfolded (in 1914 Autumn when the Turks offered them autonomy in the six Eastern provinces in return for their support against the Russains). However, the Dashnaq leaders were used to killing Armenians as well as the Mohammedans for their communist ideals.

The Turks are not denying that the Armenians suffered. However, the Armenians refuse to recognise or even mention the fact that Turks also suffered in the same location at the same time frame, because they are forcing the situation to make it fit the definition of geno-.

This is not a peaceful or honest solution. Armenians should shoulder their responsibility and face their history.

By the way, I also want to say that it doesn't matter how many Armenians were involved or complied with the Ottoman government. Traitors are everywhere and all great nations have seen their fair share. For you to color a picture of Armenians working against Armenians to justify your governments actions is sophomoric and illogical. The fact of the matter remains which innocent people were systematically removed and killed during the years of 1915 - 1917.

You say they were relocated???? well, they weren't met with any welcome committee, they were met with null and void in the middle of the Syrian desert. Please stop this nonsense.

Many people that read this article are college educated, and can see right through you. This argument was debated and agreed upon long before you and I were born, the only reason why it continues is because of disingenuous scholars and ordinary Turks that can't get up from their rude awakening, much like yourself.

Don't let disbelief lead to denial.

Dear Suleha

Your question was, "Please answer me why there are no Turks/Moslems living in Greece, or the Balkans?"

In 1923 there was an agreed expulsion or population exchange between Greeks, Bulgarians and Turks which also gave these people new religions to warship along with new land to live in. You can read all about it at the link below.

Dear Suheyla,

I would call you names like liar however, that would not be the truth. You truly believe the official Turkish denial stance. The lie is all you have ever been fed. Unfortunately you don't know any better. Why do you think there are laws against just speaking of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey? I can hardly believe that an insult is a crime. No, it's really to hide the truth.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars being paid by Armenians is utter nonsense. In fact, it is the Turks that spend multi-millions on Armenian Genocide Denial as is evident that the only non-Turkish historians that argue the facts of the Armenian Genocide are all on the Turkish pay roll.

Dr. Papazzians warning about Hilmar Keiser's true affiliation with Turkish denialists is just, as there is no room for Genocide or Holocaust denial.

To sum it up:

"Millions of Christian Greeks, Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs and Armenians labored under Ottoman misrule. The first four broke away, but the Armenian homeland was in Anatolia itself. So in 1915, during World War 1, the Turks decided upon Genocide, and carried it out."

James R. Russell. (Professor of Armenian Studies, Harvard University)

The Armenian Genocide has been studied. It is a fact!

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