An open letter to the Turkish Ambassador to Israel

Ambassador Namik TanDear Mr. Ambassador,

You have asked Israel to “…’deliver’ American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution characterizing as genocide the massacre of Armenians during World War I”.

Israeli officials tried to explain to you that Israel did not control American Jewish organizations such as the ADL, whose chairman recently issued a statement that (at least obliquely) recognized the Armenian Genocide committed by your Ottoman predecessors.

But you refused to accept this, saying “On some issues there is no such thing as ‘Israel cannot deliver'”.

Possibly you think that there is an international Zionist conspiracy which takes orders from Jerusalem, and it’s just a question of Israel issuing them. Coming from a country where journalists are jailed for ‘insulting Turkishness’, you expect orders to be obeyed.

Well, Mr. Ambassador, I have news for you.

The government of Israel (sometimes to its sorrow) does not control Jewish organizations, either right-wing or left-wing, in America, Israel, or anywhere else. Abe Foxman cannot be arrested for ‘insulting Jewishness’.

Your attempt to hold Turkish-Israeli relations hostage in order to force Jews to take a position that is contrary to their conscience is reprehensible, and in any event doomed. Jews will be Jews, they will not take orders, and they have very strong feelings about genocide denial.

My expectation is that the pressure will backfire, and Jews will close ranks and support the congressional resolution — even those who had previously stood aside for ‘practical’ reasons.

Update [28 Aug 1027 PDT]: The ADL has rehired Andrew Tarsy as New England regional director. Tarsy had been fired last week for opposing the (then) national organization’s position on the Armenian Genocide. See what I mean?

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