Amerikali Turk


Actions on Turkey Regarding Armenia

December 29, 2011 5:51 PM

The Honorable Reuven Rivlin,

Speaker of the Knesset

Jerusalem, Israel

Dear Speaker Rivlin,

I would like to take this opportunity to express my opposition to the actions of the Israel Knesset in respect of the issue of the events in Armenia. As the son of parents who were in Auschwitz, I firmly believe in the idea that the Jewish Holocaust was unique among atrocities in history and was a true genocide, with the intention of the Nazis to wipe out every Jew on the face of the earth.

As for the events in Armenia, the historians are in dispute as to whether what occurred constituted "genocide". In point of fact, Turkey and Armenia agreed through Protocols in 2009, as part of their steps to normalize relations, to submit the issue of the events in Armenia to the impartial study of historical records by Armenian, Turkish and international experts through an historical sub-commission. This is a process that needs to be undertaken by historians - not by politicians.

More importantly, my concern is why would Israel interpose itself into this extremely contentious issue at a time when relations between Turkey and Israel are so tenuous.

I also believe that it is not Israel's responsibility to be the decider and arbiter of what does and what does not constitute "genocide" in history. This is not our function - our responsibility is to assert that the Holocaust was unique in the history of the world, a genocide of unthinkable proportions in which millions of the Jewish people were annihilated. The Jewish people and Israel should not undertake deciding what is and what is not "genocide" in history.

The Middle East is in such turmoil and the situation in the countries emerging from the Arab Spring is in doubt. It is not inconceivable that at some point in the future, Turkey's and Israel's interests could converge again, for the good of the region and world. It is a fervent hope that this will occur. Now comes this ill-advised and unnecessary action in the Knesset, which could dash the chance of resolving the differences between Turkey and Israel.

Perhaps this action is a response to the actions of the lower house of the French national assembly. That action criminalized the denial of the events in Armenia as genocide and likely resulted from political pressures. The French, with their history of collaboration with the Nazis in Vichy France, have  the nerve, the "chutzpah" to sit on a high horse and criticize others of genocide when the Vichy regime in France actively collaborated with the Nazis and helped implement the Nazi genocide against the Jews.

Even the Foreign Ministry of Israel, which has been critical of Turkey in the past, opposes this action in the Knesset.

What will result if this measure is approved in the Israeli Knesset will be the end of hope of restoring relations between Israel and Turkey. That is the fact - the reality.

We do not know what the future holds - but this is clear - this action by the Knesset at this time, with Iran threatening the region and world, with the Middle East in turmoil - is ill-advised and imprudent - and should be put aside.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to express my views to you with the hope that you will take action to forestall and prevent action on this measure, which will interfere with efforts to restore relations between Israel and Turkey, which is imperative for the peace of the region and the world.


Mark Meirowitz