Tarsy and the ADL New England Region broke with the national organization after controversy developed in Watertown, Massachusetts about No Place For Hate, a program sponsored by ADL that combats bias and promotes respect for diversity. Watertown is home to 8,000 Armenian-Americans out of a population of 33,000. Members of that community and others objected to Watertown's participation in a program sponsored by an organization that did not recognize the mass deportations and killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) as a genocide.
As TER has noted previously, ADL and other Jewish organizations have taken a "neutral" position on the genocide question out of concerns regarding the relationship between Israel and Turkey. In February, Turkish Foreign Minister - and Presidential candidate - Abdullah Gul met in Washington with the heads of several American Jewish organizations to discuss this question.
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. Additional evidence of this is an op-ed piece in this morning's Boston Globe co-authored by state Rep. Rachel Kaprielian (D - Watertown) and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz.
This controversy has not yet run its course - as can be seen from this update.
UPDATE, August 27: The ADL has now reinstated Andrew Tarsy as Director of its New England Region.