Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Armenian and Jewish groups join together

Tuesday September 11 2007
Jewish Advocate, MA
By Molly Ritvo

Attendees gather in front of the State House.Councilor Ross: 'Never again' for all communities

Political and religious leaders from the Jewish and Armenian-American communities gathered at the State House Aug. 30 to display their solidarity and to recognize the Armenian genocide. The event was held in response to the recent controversy surrounding the Anti-Defamation League’s refusal to acknowledge the genocide.

“The two communities joined hands to ensure that a genocide will never, ever again happen,” said State Representative Rachel Kaprielian of Watertown, who organized the event along with Councilor Michael P. Ross, a member of the Boston City Council.
The late afternoon event was not heavily attended, but those who spoke emphasized the importance of their message.

“In our community we use the phrase ‘never again and never forget,’ and that doesn’t just refer to the Jewish community,” said Ross. “It refers to the acknowledgment of all humanity and all genocide and all intolerance. It’s very important that we show the Armenian community that there’s support.”

Ross added that his father, who was originally scheduled to speak at the event, is a Holocaust survivor, which has helped inform his opinion on genocide recognition.
Ross and Kaprielian, longtime friends, said it was important to join their communities together now to avoid further fallout from the recent tensions.

“We want to soothe ongoing animosities that have developed of late,” said Ross.
As local pressure mounted on the ADL and Abraham H. Foxman, the organization’s national director, the human rights group eventually switched its stance and recognized the Armenian massacres as “tantamount to genocide.” Still of concern to the Armenian community, however, is Foxman’s assertion that the genocide is an issue that only Turkey and Armenia should address. Foxman said he will not support a congressional resolution recognizing the genocide.

“The most important step in stopping genocide is to recognize it,” said Kaprielian.
Holocaust survivor Izzy Darakhoyskiy, who also spoke at the event, agreed with Kaprielian.

“Instead of bread, we got bullets,” he said of the Holocaust. “Without acknowledging genocide, people deny it happened.”

Steve Grossman, a former ADL board member and leader in the local Jewish community, said that the two communities should be tightly bonded because both have been through genocides in the 20th century.

Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, Sheila Decter, director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, and Rabbi Ron Friedman of Temple Israel were also in attendance.

Following the event, Kaprielian noted that many members of the Jewish community came out in a show of support.

“I was pleased with the breadth of Jewish groups that were there,” she said. “This is not just an ADL issue, but an issue for all human rights organizations. Our goal was creating awareness, affirming that genocide happened, coming together as one community and moving forward to ensure that genocide never happens again.”

Kaprielian added that there will be a continuing effort to foster the partnership between the Jewish and the Armenian communities.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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