ADL’s Foxman’s Forges Impossible Alliance of Armenians, Turks and Boston-Area Jews


Last week CounterPunch was the only national outlet, to the best of our knowledge, to report the disturbances caused in the Boston suburb of Watertown over denial of the Armenian genocide by the national Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and its director, Abe Foxman. The brouhaha was set off by an investigation into Watertown’s participation in "No Place for Hate," an "anti-bigotry" program of uncertain origin. Mirabile dictu, the program turned out to be sponsored by the national ADL which denies that the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Turks from 1915 to 1923 amounted to a genocide. This was quite disconcerting to the town mothers and fathers since Watertown boasts an Armenian-American population in excess of 8000. The town council met to consider the program and the local director of ADL, one Andrew Tarsey, showed up to implore them not to withdraw from the program. Met with boos and hisses by the duly assembled Watertown citizenry, Tarsey beat a hasty retreat from the Council chambers. The Watertown mothers and fathers then unanimously voted to drop the ADL program.

The next day Tarsey, now in full rout, reversed his position, labeling the killing of 1.5 million Armenians a genocide after all. Problem is that this local ADL position contradicts the position of national ADL headed by Abe Foxman, which persists in denying the Armenian genocide. Foxman’s solution ­ fire local ADL leader Tarsey. And for good measure, he labeled the Watertown position as "bigoted," thus playing the "race card." Obviously the Watertownians must be anti-Semites, a charge Foxman cannot resist, if they will not sponsor an ADL program. However, in a challenge to Foxman, the local ADL and Jewish establishment, seeing their credibility slip sliding away here in the Athens of America, decided to affirm the Armenian genocide.

But the House of Reps. in US Congress has a resolution pending with 227 co-sponsors (a clear majority) recognizing the Armenian genocide, much to the consternation of Turkey, an ally of Israel’s and also an avid buyer of Israeli arms and an ally of the U.S. So what was Foxman to do? Like Solomon, Foxman opted for a split decision, but unlike Solomon, Foxman has tried to execute it. He said in Boston that he has reversed his decision and the ADL now considers the Armenian massacre "tantamount to genocide." ("Tantamount"?) But in Washington national ADL will continue to oppose the Congressional resolution, recognizing the Armenian genocide. So in Boston the massacre of Armenians is genocide but in Washington it is not. What the status will be in NYC or Baltimore, Foxman has yet to decide.

The Armenians, both locally and nationally, will have none of this. They want the ADL to support the Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide or else stand accused as genocide deniers. So now both the Armenians and the local Boston ADL are at odds with Foxman and national ADL.

Enter the Turks. They too have denounced Foxman for admitting genocide in Boston even if he has not done so in Washington. And they are angry about it. Foxman laid his original genocide denial at the feet of the Turks, saying he feared for the safety of Jewish Turks if he crossed the Turks. Friday the Turkish Foreign Ministry responded, "The Jewish community in Turkey is part of our society, and its members do not have any reason to worry." Clearly the Turks do not like Foxman’s accusations of anti-Semitism, any more than the Watertownians did. The Turks then one-upped Foxman, claiming that his Boston recognition of the Armenian genocide denies the special nature of the Holocaust. "We consider the statement of the ADL as an injustice to the unique character of the Holocaust, as well as to the memories of its victims," the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Washington said in a statement. "We expect it to be rectified." There you have it, Abe Foxman, Holocaust denier! So Foxman now has accomplished what has eluded diplomats for nearly a century, bringing Armenians and Turks together ­ in this case in opposition to national ADL. And he has even brought down a Turkish charge against his own proper respect for the Holocaust!

Foxman of course is little more than an intellectual bully, sliming with charges of anti-Semitism whomever dares challenge the policies of Isreal. But his defamatory, anti-defamation league is in trouble. Foxman’s actions now put the fabled and hitherto invincible Isreali Lobby on the line. The Turks certainly must have thought that the Lobby could "deliver" Congress on genocide denial, and Foxman’s ADL is a key component of that Lobby. The Turks have already complained to Israel about the ADL’s Boston-Washington split decision. This is very important to them, having hired both Dick Gephardt, former House Majority Leader and Bob Livingston (Remember him?) former Speaker of the House at considerable cost to get Congress on their side. So the battle lines are drawn. CounterPunch will keep you posted.

JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com.

December 01, 2015
John Wight
From Iraq to Syria: Repeating a Debacle
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: the Left Takes Charge
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Boarder
Sami Al-Arian
My Ordeal: One of America’s Many Political Trials Since 9/11
Bilal El-Amine
The Hard Truth About Daesh and How to Fight It
Pete Dolack
Solidarity Instead of Hierarchy as “Common Sense”
Dan Glazebrook
Rhodes Must Fall: Decolonizing Education
Colin Todhunter
Big Oil, TTIP and the Scramble for Europe
Eric Draitser
Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?
Gilbert Mercier
Will Turkey Be Kicked Out of NATO?
Linn Washington Jr.
Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie
Randy Shaw
Krugman is Wrong on Gentrification
Raouf Halaby
Time to Speak Out Against Censorship
November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!