Friday, September 28, 2007

Foxman: US Congress can’t debate ‘genocide’

Today's Zaman, Turkey - Sep 27, 2007

The leader of a major US Jewish group that last month endorsed Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the late Otto-man Empire said on Wednesday that the US Cong-ress was not the right venue to discuss the issue.

"I believe this issue should not be debated at the US Congress or the French National Assembly," Abraham Foxman, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in New York. He also said he hoped Armenians would somehow respond to calls from Turkey to set up a joint commission of academics to investigate what happened in the past.
The ADL last month reversed its long-held policy and decided to call events of the World War I era genocide, although it still says two resolutions pending in the US Congress endorsing the genocide claims would not help resolution of the disputes between the Turks and Armenians. The policy shift angered Turkey, which categorically rejects the genocide charges. Turkish authorities also appealed to Israel and warned that passage of the resolutions in the US Congress, which now seems even more probable because of the change of stance on the part of the ADL, would harm not only Turkish-US but also Turkish-Israeli ties.

Foxman said disputes between Turks and Armenians can best be settled between the two countries, not via resolutions passed in parliaments. "US congressmen are not historians. Therefore, they cannot judge what happened in history," he said. Commenting on his meeting with Erdoğan, he said it was very useful and asserted that "friendships are not ruined because of words."

Erdoğan said at the meeting that the Armenian genocide allegations had no basis and that they were not supported by any scientific or historical document, according to a statement released by the Prime Ministry after the meeting. "The prime minister said Turkey expected the Jewish community in the US to continue their support, as it has done to date," the statement said.

The meeting was attended by representatives from some 20 US Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, Bnai Brith International and the UJA Federation.

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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