AMBASSADOR TO ARMENIA SAYS PARALLEL CANNOT BE DRAWN BETWEEN THE HOLOCAUST & THE
Israel Ambassador to Armenia Rivki Cohen said we mustn't draw a
parallel between the Holocaust and the Armenian "Genocide." The
statement was made as the Armenian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council
of Europe (PACE) was in the process of considering recognition the Armenian
Armenian parliament Deputy Ovaness Ovanissian, head of the Armenian Delegation in
PACE, noted that Armenian political circles are concerned about the Israeli
Ambassador's statement. "A top-rank diplomat like her has no right to make such
statements," Ovanissian stressed, and added that the Israeli Ambassador needed to
study Armenian history before arriving in Yerevan. "No diplomat has the power to
correct the history of the country in which he has been working," added Ovaness
February 9, 2002, from Yerevan, Armenia... as reported by Azer H. Hasret
Comments by Representative Stephen Solarz in the U.S. Congress ó in
Opposition to H.J. Res. 192
(December 12, 1985)
adoption of this resolution, we have been told by many of our colleagues, could
potentially jeopardize our relationship with Turkey and some of our most vital
security interests in the eastern Mediterranean.
These are powerful arguments, and
yet if these were the only arguments raised in opposition to the resolution, I would
not find them persuasive. I want to be very honest with all of you. In my
judgment, the memory of the 6 million victims of Hitlerís genocide and our respect
for the deaths which they suffered would lead to the conclusion that we would have
no alternative but to accept such a resolution if it came before us. If that is
indeed the case, what then distinguishes the resolution before us today which
memorializes the victims of what has been characterized as the Armenian genocide
from another resolution which might memorialize the victims of Hitlerís genocide
against the Jews? The difference, I would submit, is the difference between a
universally accepted historical reality and a hotly disputed view of events. . .
Mr. Chairman, I share the anguish
of the Armenian people. Countless numbers of them were clearly killed in a cruel and
barbarous fashion during the period of time covered by the resolution. But there
were also countless numbers of Turks and Muslims who were killed in a cruel and
barbarous fashion as well.
One of the problems with this
resolution is that it asserts what happened to the Armenians was a genocide when
the fact that it was a genocide is itself in dispute. . . and there is no
evidence that I am aware of which demonstrates that the Ottomans were trying to
exterminate all Armenians.
DISRESPECTFUL TO JEWISH VICTIMS
The office of Turkey's chief rabbi said in a
statement: "We stress that the genocide of six million Jews in the Holocaust in
World War II should not be compared to any other event and should not be
overshadowed by so-called genocide claims."
The statement said inclusion in the British
ceremony of "so-called genocides or claims unconfirmed by historians" was
disturbing to Turkish Jews.
"This comparison is considered
disrespectful to the souls of the six million victims (of the Nazi Holocaust)."
From the CNN report, "Europe remembers the Holocaust," January 27,
with the Jewish Holocaust"
'The Jewish Times', June 21, 1990
"An appropriate analogy with the Jewish Holocaust might be
the systematic extermination of the entire Muslim population of the independent republic
of Armenia which consisted of at least 30-40 percent of the population of that republic.
The memoirs of an Armenian army officer who participated in and eye-witnessed these
atrocities was published in the U.S. in 1926 with the title 'Men Are Like That.' Other
Differences Are Overwhelming
By Bruce Fein
The differences between the alleged Armenian
genocide of the World War I era and the Holocaust are overwhelming, something akin
to the legal chasm between first degree murder and negligent homicide. To equate the
two would be to vitiate the moral stigma that should attach to the crime of crimes,
and to violate the rule of law itself.
Under international law, genocide is carefully defined as the specifically intended
extermination, in whole or in part, of a racial, ethnic, or religious group because
of their identity as such.
Under the Ottoman Empire, Armenians were a favored, not disfavored, religious
The millet system granted them unprecedented local autonomy. Further, many Armenians
rose to the commanding heights of the Ottoman civil service and economy, with an
Armenian serving as the Sultanís Foreign Minister in the late 19th century. In the
decades before World War I, when nationalistic impulses were surging, Armenian
extremists sought to provoke the Ottomans into retaliatory action by chronic acts of
terrorism, a model that worked well against the Ottomans in Bulgaria. Armenians
themselves openly acknowledged this malevolent plotting.
When World War I arrived, Ottoman Armenians defected en masse to fight for the
Empire's enemies, especially Russia. Others remained behind to serve as Fifth
Columnists or saboteurs.
The Armenians boasted of their perfidy at the post-World War I Paris Peace
Conference to justify their demand for a separate nation. The Armenian treason is
well documented by Armenian sources, especially in the memoirs of Boghos Nubarian.
The massive Armenian alliance with the Empire's enemies ignited a cycle of massacre
and counter-massacre. As self-preservation is the first law of nations, in 1915
Ottoman officials ordered the relocation of its politically suspect Armenian
population then living in militarily sensitive zones to its territory now known as
Syria. Armenians in Istanbul and elsewhere outside these national security areas
were left generally undisturbed. The relocation enterprise proved grim. The Empire's
food and medical resources were thin for all the population. Armenian casualties
from starvation, disease, and Ottoman Muslim killings were painfully high, perhaps
300,000-600,000. Similarly, at the end of the War and its aftermath, Muslim
casualties at the hands of Armenians and their allies approximated 2.5 million. The
Armenian figure though lower in absolute numbers, constitutes a substantially
greater portion of the original Armenian population. The tragic Armenian losses and
suffering deserve sympathy and commemoration, but no more so than their Ottoman
Muslim counterparts. One innocent life is not worth more than another's in the eyes
After the Ottoman defeat, the British occupied Istanbul and commanded full access to
Ottoman Archives. Under the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, they were tasked to prosecute
Ottoman officials guilty of Armenian massacres. More than 100 suspects were detained
on Malta as a meticulous investigation ensued. After more than two years of
exhaustive inquiry, Britain's highest legal experts advised against any prosecutions
because want of reliable evidence. The detainees were thus released. No Ottoman
official was either prosecuted or convicted of complicity in Armenian massacres in a
court with the trappings of due process.
The post-World War I Ottoman Government was completely dependent upon the victorious
Allied Powers who then occupied the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. This government
established ersatz courts to try its political enemies. Included were trials on
charges such as "outrages to Armenians." With almost no presentation of
evidence, the courts found nearly every defendant guilty as charged. 1,376
individuals were sentenced to varying degrees of punishment for offenses ranging
from violations of military order such as leaving a post without permission to
failing to properly carry out the order under which the Ottoman Armenians of eastern
Anatolia were relocated. No charges of crimes against humanity were raised or
sustained. According to trial transcripts, the convictions were mainly political
retribution, aimed at those who brought the Ottoman Empire into such a disastrous
war. Sixty-two officials were sentenced to death and executed. Six officials,
members of the Union and Progress Party, were tried in absentia and four were
sentenced to death. Armenians eventually assassinated some of those tried in
Though these courts provided little due process, this does not mean that no Ottoman
Muslims committed crimes against Ottoman Armenians or that no Ottoman Armenians
committed crimes against Ottoman Muslims. But one must acknowledge that the Ottoman
government brought to trial over 1,400 individuals for crimes against Armenians and
executed some that were guilty of high crimes, while on the other hand, neither the
Armenian nation nor Armenian guerrilla groups ever charged, disciplined, or
prosecuted their own for equally gruesome and notorious crimes against Ottoman
Muslims. Indeed, the perpetrators were characteristically treated as heroes!
They still are.
The differences between the Holocaust and the alleged Armenian genocide are cosmic.
The Ottomans relocated Armenians because of suspect political loyalties, not because
of race or religion. They were thus left undisturbed outside militarily sensitive
areas. Hitler exterminated Jews precisely because of their race, not because of
suspect political allegiance. Indeed, many had been highly decorated German soldiers
in World War I. None were treasonous as World War II unfolded. But all were selected
for the gas chambers or worse.
Killings during wartime for political reasons are not genocide; otherwise, war
itself would be defined as genocide and the American fire and atomic bombings of
Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki would have exposed United States President Harry
Truman to a genocide prosecution.
In sum, the Armenian tragedy of World War I falls miles short of genocide because it
pivoted on Ottoman political-national security calculations, not on racial or
religious hatred. Further, Armenian deaths were not specifically intended, but were
the unfortunate fall-out of malnutrition, pestilence, and community retaliatory
vendettas. Indeed, the Ottoman government prosecuted more than 1,400 for
maltreatment of Armenians. Hitler, in contrast, prosecuted Germans for refusing to
kill, maim, or maltreat Jews.
Evidence proffered to support the Armenian
genocide claim is unpersuasive. Ambassador Morgenthau's Story is routinely adduced
as the smoking gun. But his narrative is almost entirely hearsay and his veracity
highly suspect. His chief translator and secretary were both Armenian, Arshag
Schmavonian and Hagop Andonian, respectively. Further, Morgenthau's correspondence
with President Woodrow Wilson betrays an intent to contrive news, such as asserted
Ottoman villainies, that would prod the United States into war. Moreover, Morgenthau
unapologetically preached the racial inferiority of the Turks cursed with
"inferior blood." Would you trust the Ku Klux Klan to provide reliable
accounts of black behavior in the United States?
Morgenthau's storyline also fails to substantiate a racial, ethnic, or religious as
opposed to a political motivation for the actions of Ottoman officials. He writes,
for example: "That the Armenians all over Turkey sympathized with the Entente
was no secret. 'If you want to know how the war is going,' wrote a humorous Turkish
newspaper, 'all you need to do is look in the face of an Armenian. If he is smiling,
then the Allies are winning; if he is downcast, then the Germans are
If Ambassador Morgenthau's evidence were convincing, the twin decisions of the
United States not to declare war on the Ottoman Empire and not to assume a League of
Nations protectorate over a post-World War I Armenian state seem inexplicable.
Morgenthau's story is also undercut by United States Secretary of State Robert
Lansing's observation in November 1916: "I could see that [the Armenians']
well-known disloyalty to the Ottoman Government and the fact that the territory
which they inhabited was within the zone of military operations constituted grounds
more or less justifiable for compelling them to depart their homes. "United
States Ambassador to Turkey, Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, wrote on March 28, 1921:
"I see that reports are being freely circulated in the United States that the
Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in the Caucuses. Such reports are repeated so
many times it makes my blood boil. The Near East Relief have the reports from Yarrow
and our own American people which show absolutely that such Armenian reports are
The United Nations Economic and Social Council Sub-Commission on the Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities refused to endorse an Armenian genocide
assertion leveled by Special Rapporteur Benjamin Whitaker for want of proof. That
non-endorsement was reaffirmed by the United Nations on October 5, 2000.
The post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal refused to entertain as evidence a quote
attributed to Adolph Hitler on the eve of his Polish invasion asking who remembers
the extermination of the Armenians. The attribution is no more reliable than the
fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as Princeton Professor Heath W. Lowry
concludes in his authoritative booklet, "The U.S. Congress and Adolph Hitler on
Morgenthau's story is further dubious because, as United States Senator Hiram
Johnson fretted, truth is the first casualty of war. Thus, the British-created Bryce
Commission after World War I concluded that reports of countless rapes of Belgian
women and gruesome killings of children by German soldiers were apocryphal wartime
propaganda calculated to stir public wrath against the enemy. Isn't at least
substantially likely that Ambassador Morgenthau succumbed to a corresponding
reporting disease regarding the Ottoman's?
Morgenthau's story is also disputed by esteemed historians with no Ottoman or
Turkish axe to grind, such as William Langer, Stanford Shaw, Bernard Lewis, and
Commander Arthur Tremaine Chester, the Representative of the U.S. Shipping Board in
Istanbul, wrote in the New York Times History Journal in February 1923 a powerful
refutation of the Armenian genocide claim that should shake the confidence of even
its strongest proponents: "We hear a great deal about the deportation of
Armenians from the Northeast of Turkey during the World War. The facts are that the
Turks sent an army to the Russian border to defend their country against the
threatened Russian invasion. The army consisted of Turkish subjects of all
nationalities, being drafted just as ours are drafted. At the front the Armenians
used blank cartridges and deserted in droves. This was bad enough, but the Armenians
were not satisfied with this form of treachery. The provinces in the rear of the
army had a large Armenian population, and these people, feeling that there was an
excellent chance of the Russians defeating the Turks, decided to make it a certainty
by rising up in the rear of the army and cutting it off from its base of supplies.
Let me draw a parallel imaginary case. Suppose that Mexico was a powerful and rival
country with which we were at war, and suppose we sent an army to the Mexican border
to hold back the invading enemy; suppose further that not only the negroes in our
army deserted...but those left at home organized and cut off our line of
communication. What do you think we as a people, especially the Southerners, would
do to the negroes? Our negroes have ten times the excuse for hating whites than the
Armenians have for their attitude toward the Turks. They have no representation,
although they have an overwhelming majority in large sections of the South, and have
nothing to say in the making or administration of the laws under which they are
governed. South of the Mason and Dixon line they are practically a subject race,
while the Armenians in Turkey have not only full representation but special
privileges not accorded by any other country."
Genocide charges are too important to be addressed by sloppy or careless history or
*Bruce Fein is an adjunct scholar and general counsel of the Assembly of Turkish
ARE SOME JEWS QUICK TO DEFEND THE ARMENIAN "GENOCIDE"?
Historian Bernard Lewis explains
Wrong assumptions were also adopted by journalists of
"Haaretz" in connection to the whole polemics. These are mainly two issues:
a) that the massacres of the Armenians in 1915 and the extermination of the Jews of
Europe are basically events of the same kind; b) any critical discourse of the
Armenian massacres is similar to Neo-Nazi denial of the Shoah. Anybody who has a
minimum concept of the historical evidence will admit that these analogies have no
validity. The Armenians are proud of their struggle for an independent Armenia against
the Ottoman regime. It was a national liberation movement, and they fought with great
courage. But what happened to the Armenians has no similarity to what happened to the
Jews in cold-blooded bureaucracy.
"There Was No Genocide:
Interview with Prof. Bernard Lewis" By Dalia Karpel
Haaretz daily (Weekend Issue), Jerusalem 23/01/98 (Excerpt)