In the wake of Watertown's decision to withdraw from the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate" program, Newton's Human Rights Commission is drafting a letter “demanding" that the ADL change its position on the Armenian genocide.
“We’re incredulous,” commission chairwoman Marianne Ferguson said of ADL national director Abraham Foxman’s refusal to characterize the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks between 1915 and 1923 as a genocide. “To try and come to understand how they came to this conclusion … it’s mind-boggling.”
Ferguson said that the commission, which includes Jewish and Armenian members, is unanimous in its opposition to the ADL’s stance.
“The Jewish folks are just as outraged and are in as much disbelief as anyone else,” she said.
Commission member Brenda Krasnow, who is Jewish, said she was “really upset” about the ADL’s stance.
“There is no question in our minds that there was a genocide by the Ottoman Turks against the Armenians,” she said. “As a Jewish person, and as a human being, you don’t want to see these genocides repeated. But what you are doing here is opening the door for other groups to deny.”
Ferguson said the commission is scrambling to schedule an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, and that ending the city's affiliation with the “No Place for Hate” program is one possible response being considered.
-- Ralph Ranalli
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