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Watertown urges Blue Cross to drop support of No Place for Hate

Posted by David Dahl, Regional Editor September 24, 2008 01:07 PM

The Town Council in Watertown has voted to urge the state's largest insurer to withdraw its support of the Anti-Defamation League's No Place for Hate program.

In a meeting Tuesday night, the council also voted unanimously to send a letter Abraham Foxman, the league's national head, formally requesting he appear before the council to clear up what some called ambiguities in the ADL's previous statements regarding the acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923.

These moves come after John J. Curley, a Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Blue Cross, told town officials and a crowd of 60 that the company does not intend to end its relationship with the program.

Curley said he and company executives met with leaders from the ADL New England office last month seeking clarity on the issue and now feel comfortable with the assurances they received over league's position on the Armenian Genocide.

"Our relationship is with the local ADL and we're very satisfied with the response we got," said Curley. "If it was ambiguous, we would have ended our partnership," he said.

Council President Clyde L. Younger, Vice-President Mark Sideris and Councilor Jonathan Hecht implored Blue Cross to join the Town Council in approaching the national ADL leadership for clarification on the league's stance.

"Getting involved in national and international politics is not something we do" said Curley.

Curley did note the company was "not pleased with the tone and tenor" of an August 22 written statement by Foxman that was posted briefly on the New England chapter's website.

"There is simply no basis for the false accusation that we engage in any form of genocide denial, and we believe this characterization of ADL crosses the boundary of acceptable criticism and falls into the category of demonization," Foxman's statement read.

"It was not helpful," Curley said.

Local ADL leaders have been disatisfied with the national group's statements on the genocide, saying the national office did not go far enough in acknowledging the atrocities. In August 2007, Foxman sought to clear up controversy by issuing a statement.

"We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians as massacres and atrocities," Foxman said in that 2007 statement. But upon reflection, Foxman continued, "the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide."

Tuesday night, Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said the lingering gap between what the local ADL leaders and national leadership have said about whether the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks constitutes genocide is at the heart of the outrage expressed by many local Armenian Americans and their supporters.

"Most of the citizens of Watertown are somewhat dismayed with the talking around the issue and the failure to come clean," said Piccirilli. "This kind of two-faced action and statement is not" helpful to resolving the dispute. "All the citizens of Watertown are tired of this."

--Christina Pazzanese

7 comments so far...
  1. Even if the ADL uses unambiguous language to describe the genocide, they still conspire with the Turkish government to deny the genocide in Congress and elsewhere. That's just as bad as their own denial, and grounds for cutting them off.

    Posted by Fred September 24, 08 09:15 PM
  1. The Globe continues to mislead its readership. Christina missed the most potent arguments of the Watertown Town Council - the Anti Defamation League under the cover of "human rights" organization continues to actively work against US recognition of the most heinous crime humanity has given a name - genocide. BCBS may not be involved in international politics but the ADL certainly lobbies for foreign countries and is heavily involved in all aspects of international politics.

    Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish descent coined the word genocide to label the brutality and vandalism that befell the Armenians. The International Association of Genocide Scholars unanimously affirmed the Armenian genocide.

    Posted by Berge September 25, 08 12:31 AM

    Applying political pressure on ADL will not resolve the issue because the allegations of Armenian genocide are based on a racist and dishonest interpretation of history in the first place.

    Racist because they imply that Turkish dead are not important, only Armenian dead are. And dishonest because they ignore “The Six T’s” of the Turkish-Armenian conflict:

    1) TUMULT (as in many violent Armenian rebellions)
    2) TERRORISM (by Armenian revolutionaries
    3) TREASON (Armenians joined the invading enemy armies)
    4) TERRITORIAL DEMANDS (where Armenians were a minority, not a majority)
    5) TURKISH SUFFERING AND LOSSES (i.e. those caused only by the Armenian nationalists)
    6) TERESET (Temporary Resettlement) triggered by the first five T’s above and amply documented as such; not to be equated to the Armenian misrepresentations as genocide.)

    Fairness, honesty, and truth are all that I ask.



    Irvine, California, USA

    Posted by Ergun Kirlikovali September 25, 08 02:14 PM
  1. I very much appreciate the ADL's care in labeling this disputed historical event. Do not underestimate the one-sided vitriol and underlying Turkophobia and occasional Islamophobia that come with the Armenian-American community's discourse about the events of the teens in Turkey. Armenians in the Ottoman Empire wanted their own territory and fought bravely against the Ottomans to try to secure it. It is not accurate to portray them simply as victims of a holocaust, not even close. Horrible things were done to some Armenians, and other Armenians committed terrible crimes of their own. The powerful Armenian lobby in this country would have you believe otherwise, but do your own research. www.armeniangenocidedebate.com is a good place to start.

    Posted by Sallycigim September 25, 08 04:33 PM

  1. I wish people could care about Turkish victims killed by Armenians., too. This is not fair. If you want to make a right judgment on that, you should listen to Turkish side, too. Otherwise, all these efforts will be considered as being the spokesmen of a few Armenian living in USA.

    Posted by SELCUK ACAR September 25, 08 04:55 PM
  1. It is time for supporters of the genocide charge to either put up or shut up if they want the “Armenian Genocide” claim to be accepted as the truth.

    Their position that the “Armenian Genocide” is fact is pure rubbish. As much as they like to pretend that this is an “open and shot case”, they fear an “open court” more than they may fear God Himself.

    Why dwell on due process? Because things may not be what they appear to be; or, better, things may not be what people say they are. Recent examples from Enron to credit crisis, WMDs in Iraq, are just a few examples of the types of “ooops!” committed by politicians used to taking sides on matters without actually seeking the truth. So now, the Armenians want these same politicians to vote (!) on the “truth” of history that stretches back at least a century.

    To help their case, Armenians are running an excellent propoganda machine. They are pushing “Enron-style accounting” of the history: They are greatly exagerating their losses and innocence (“assets”) while completely omitting or hiding their history of violence against the Turks and other non-Armenians (“liabilities”), and the suffering they suffered.

    In the end, unsuspecting and well-intentioned Americans are led to believe that the “Terrible Turk” suddenly decided to exterminate the Armenians just as the Ottoman Empire chaotically fell apart. Nevermind that Turks had 900 years to exterminate the Armenians and somehow never bothered to do so!.... Sounds very much like the Saddam and Al Qaeda “partnership” and the “mushroom cloud” claims: Sounds good, too good to be true.

    So, why due process, again?

    To put it mildy: Even the Nazis were given their day (actually several years) in court at the Nuremberg Trials. Why should NATO allies Turks get anything less? Milosevic and others also got their trials. Somehow, Turks are not worthy of due process, even if it is an “open and shot case”.

    Thanks to the Nazi trials at Nuremberg, we truly have an “open and shot case” against the Germans. There are millions of authentic, catalogued German documents that detail the conception, preparation and execution of the "Final Solution”. That is why the Holocaust is considered factual and remembered and recognized worldwide. Even if die-hard skin-heads defy it, they have no basis to do it – they will always be severely outnumbered and on the defensive. Thanks to due process, that is.

    So why not walk in the proven steps of the Nuremberg Trials?

    The Armenians fear due process. It would likely expose the ugly aspects of their history with the Turks, like the information Enron hid from its books. An open process would force Armenians to admit and explain their direct role in the demise of millions of Turks, the massive guerilla warfare and rebellion they started and the basis of their greatly exagerated death tolls, etc.

    This is where the genocide claim breaks down: The Jews never adopted violence against the Germans; they were truly non-violent and Germans had no real reason to target them. The Armenians have a lot of Turkish blood on their hands and the Ottomans were forced to *respond* to them.

    In short, Armenians have to control the “debate” so that they do not have to answer for the millions of Turkish skeletons in their closet and paint a black and white picture. It worked for Enron! That is, before the skeletons in their books came out to haunt them!

    This is why Armenians are CONDEMNED to follow a 100%, purely political path to gain “recognition” for the “Armenian Genocide”. They have no other option. If they really want the truth, it becomes an “open and shot case” AGAINST genocide.

    Using lobbyist/special-interest tactics (money and voting blocks) to buy votes in congress has nothing to do with "verdict" or truth. It is plain and simple political opportunism and hate politics disguised as humanitarianism.

    The same politicians voted for the war in Iraq, loved Enron, deregulated Wall St., postured about family values, etc. Does anyone really think that politicians have the discipline, fortitutude, "backbone" (let alone expertise) to judge history truthfully and accurately?

    What the supporters of the "Armenian Genocide" are asking is lynching without trial or due process – at the expense of Turks and American taxpayers. Their idea is "we know you are guilty; it is obvious; no need for trial; let's go straight to verdict and have our execution". This is obviously a contradiction with a group of people claiming to stand for principle (due process) and jsutice (truth). It also is contradictory to the confidence these people claim to have in their “open and shot case”. It is so easy to make the case, but… we rather not make it in open court!... hmmmmm.

    It may not be such a "shot and closed case", after all.

    Posted by Basat Tayfun September 25, 08 06:12 PM
  1. The Turkish have not only murdered humans, destroyed an ancient culture / civilization and rewritten history, but they continue to legitimize the act as well as the racist ideology that led to the act.

    Denial is not just the simple negation of an act; it is much more the consequent continuation of the very act itself. Genocide should not only physically destroy a community; it should likewise dictate the prerogative of interpretation in regard to history, culture, territory and memory. As the victims- Armenians - never exists.

    So then, When does the Armenian Genocide end? Only when Turkish denial ceases.

    Posted by Berge September 25, 08 08:11 PM
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