The Boston Globe reports this morning that two members of the ADL New England Region Board of Directors have resigned following the firing of Region Executive Director Andrew Tarsy.
Former Polaroid Corp. Chairman Stewart Cohen and Boston City Councillor Michael Ross resigned yesterday from the board. According to the Globe, they said that
They could no longer be part of an organization with national leaders who refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide and fired regional director, Andrew H. Tarsy, on Friday for taking a position in support of Armenian-Americans.
More resignations are possible at this point. As TER noted yesterday,
The firing of Tarsy is bound to become very controversial within the American Jewish community. As this observer has stated previously, mainstream Jewish opinion favors standing with the Armenian community on recognition of the genocide...This controversy has not yet run its course.
In a related note, a reader has communicated with TER in an attempt to present a Turkish view of the controversy - see the comment here. This observer finds the presentation unimpressive. With the long litany of facts presented, the basic fact remains that 1.5 million Armenians died under the control of the Ottoman Empire. It seems to this observer that the very best that those who question the term "genocide" can say is that the Ottoman Empire committed "negligent genocide" rather than "first-degree genocide." Does this distinction really matter? Does it remove the stain of responsibility from the Ottoman Empire?
The United States interned 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. The justification for this action - like that of the Ottoman Empire in World War I - was concern about a potential "fifth column" in time of war. This internment was - and is - a foul stain on American history. Americans - and the American government - have acknowledged it to be such. Turkey should similarly take historic responsibility for its actions 90 years ago. This is truly the the only way for all parties to move forward.
UPDATE, August 21: The Boston Globe reports that Jewish groups in New England, including the Combined Jewish Philanthopies, have signed a letter to the Anti-Defamation League urging the national organization to change its position on the Armenian Genocide.
According to the Globe, the letter says that "We must never forget the Armenian genocide and maintain our guard against those who deny its occurrence." Nancy Kaufman, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, drafted the letter and reportedly sent it to "some 40 prominent Jewish leaders in Massachusetts, asking them to support the ousted director (Andrew Tarsy) and to recognize the genocide against Armenians."
Kaufman was quoted as saying
I have never gotten such unanimous support for any position by the JCRC as I have in the last few days on this one. It doesn't matter where people are on the political spectrum -- left, right, middle -- people are really standing behind this because it strikes at the core of what it means to be a Jew and never again means never again.
UPDATE, August 22: Abraham Foxman, national Director of the ADL, has changed his position and has publicly acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. He has not commented on whether Tarsy would be reinstated or whether ADL would support the congressional resolution that recognizes the Genocide.