This weekend Armenian activist Marshall Moushigian wrote an op-ed in our local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, which the paper thoughtfully headlined “Israel’s role in Armenian genocide.”
It contained numerous gratuitous attacks on Israel, quoted with approval the vicious remark of former State Department official Arma Jane Karaer that Jews “don’t particularly want to share the genocide label with other groups,” accused Israel and her supporters of “active participation in the final stage of genocide,” and compared Israel with “neo-Nazis.”
Nothing special these days, but his main point was a story that Israel shot down a Congressional resolution to recognize the genocide. He wrote,
The most blatant example of Israel’s meddling occurred in 2000 when the Armenian Genocide Resolution was set for a House vote. Armenians had been anxiously awaiting this vote, 85 years after the killings began, and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert had promised to bring it to a vote. Passage, and the beginning stages of justice, was certain.
But in a surprise, last-minute move, Hastert withdrew the resolution from the docket, and many suspected Israel’s involvement. The Washington Post confirmed that suspicion in June 2010 when it reported a sequence of panicked events that flowed from Ankara directly to AIPAC in Washington, which immediately contacted President Clinton, who personally requested Hastert remove the resolution.
I believe the story was this one, in the Washington Times (not Post), which explains that
The Turks called up Keith Weissman, a senior researcher from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and asked him to intervene.
Mr. Weissman said in an interview this week that AIPAC lit up the phones and managed at the last minute — with the help of the State Department — to persuade President Clinton himself to write a letter to Mr. Hastert saying a vote on the resolution would cause strategic damage to U.S. interests.
The last-minute push worked. Mr. Hastert removed the resolution from the floor, and the full Congress has yet to take up the matter to this day.
Hmm, “with the help of the State Department.”
Could it be that the fact that State — and Defense — seriously wanted the resolution squashed had more than a little to do with the outcome?
Could it be that the notoriously Arabist State Department would be quite happy to put the blame for an unpopular decision on Israel? A twofer: help out the Turks and screw Israel in one blow!
Could it be that the notoriously self-important Weissman and AIPAC would be happy to take the ‘credit’?
As an aside, AIPAC has done a lot for the ‘Israel Lobby’ theorists by bragging about its supposed ability to ‘get things done’ in Washington. In fact, compared to the Saudi lobby, it is not all that effective.
Most American Jews want to see the Armenian genocide recognized, especially in Fresno where they have many Armenian friends, and where, in years past, it was common to hear eyewitness testimony.
In 1989 the rabbi of Fresno’s Temple Beth Israel pushed through a resolution at the national body of the Reform movement to support official US recognition of the genocide.
I’ve written numerous posts over the years arguing that the only moral position, given historical evidence, is to demand recognition of the genocide.
Moushigian’s ugly screed will not make him friends in the Jewish community, and will not advance his goal of getting a resolution passed in Congress. Jewish congressman Adam Schiff (D., Burbank CA) will be reintroducing his genocide recognition bill, which failed in 2008, in the next Congress.
Possibly the State Department will be sufficiently alarmed by Turkey’s new alignment with the Iranian bloc to support it this time.