In the past, I've defended Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, for what I considered to be unfair attacks on his character and methods. But his behavior in recent weeks--refusing to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, firing his organization's New England head for calling the national ADL's policy "morally indefensible," and then lamely stating that the events which took place during World War I were "tantamount to genocide"--has been unconscionable. Michael Crowley of TNR has been doing some excellent reported work about the cash and influence nexus of the Turkish lobby on Capitol Hill.
For pragmatic reasons, a sense of the Congress resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide may not be such a great idea. Turkey is an important ally in the Muslim world. Would it really be worth hurting that relationship over a resolution that, however morally just, bears no force? A few weeks ago, however, a legislator told me that if such a resolution really did offend the Turks to the point that they would hamper American military maneuvers out of Incirlik Air Base or by fooling around in Kurdistan, then maybe our relationship with Turkey is not all it's cracked up to be in the first place.
But at the end of the day, these realpolitik considerations should have no bearing on a civic organization committed to humanitarian goals, which is what the ADL claims to be. Yes, it is part of the ADL's mission to defend Israel (and, it bears noting, to debunk Holocaust deniers)--but the ADL is not a mere extension of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Pussyfooting on the existence of the Armenian genocide works against everything for which the ADL claims to stand.
Jewcy, which called for Foxman's dismissal last month, has published a withering cartoon imagining what would happen if a 92-year-old survivor of the Armenian genocide managed to raise $500 million for the ADL.
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