Foreign Policy Journal
June 17 2016
An Armenian American Group Caves in to the Anti-Defamation League
by David Boyajian
June 17, 2016 1
The ADL’s hypocrisy on the matter of the Armenian genocide is breathtaking.
For several decades, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other
leading Jewish American organizations (AIPAC, AJC, B’nai B’rith, and
JINSA) have deliberately colluded with Turkey and Israel to defeat
U.S. Congressional resolutions on the Christian Armenian Genocide and
to diminish the factuality of that genocide.
Yola Habif Johnston, a director at JINSA (Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs), once admitted that “the Jewish lobby has
quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the
so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”
The hypocrisy is breathtaking given these organizations’ loud, endless
demands for recognition of, and legislation on, the Jewish Holocaust.
Starting in 2007, Armenian Americans in Massachusetts and elsewhere
made international news by exposing the national ADL’s hypocrisy. In
disgust, 13 Massachusetts cities and the umbrella Massachusetts
Municipal Association kicked out the ADL’s alleged anti-bias program,
“No Place for Hate.” Human rights advocates and many honest Jews
supported those efforts. The Turkish government raged that its
collaboration with Israel, the ADL, and other Holocaust hypocrites had
been blown wide-open.
But in mid-May, a small group of Armenian Americans in
Massachusetts—including the politically ambitious Sheriff of Middlesex
County Peter Koutoujian and a few members of the Armenian Assembly of
America (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of America
(ANCA)—struck a horrible “deal” with the two-faced ADL.
For his part of the “deal,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt
casually “blogged” that his organization now “unequivocally”
acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and “would support” (not “do
support”) American recognition of that genocide.
Even Andrew Tarsy, former Director of the New England ADL, termed the
pact “inadequate.” The ADL “ought to lead the conversation about
reparations for these [Armenian] families … assets, land … everything
that Holocaust reparations … has represented should be on the table.”
Of the many things wrong with this “deal,” let’s list a few.
The Horrible “Deal”
The “deal” was concocted behind the backs of the Armenian American
community and the hundreds of activists—Armenian and non-Armenian—who
started the campaign in 2007 and have battled the ADL since. Why
haven’t the verbal or written details of the negotiations and “deal”
been made public? Why the lack of transparency?
Greenblatt (former Starbucks VP and Special Assistant to Pres. Obama)
isn’t the ADL’s highest official and may not have the authority to set
policy. Have the ADL’s National Commission and National Executive
Committee (its “highest policymaking bodies”) formally approved of
Greenblatt’s “blog” post? We don’t know.
The ADL has long played word games with the Armenian Genocide. In
2007, for example, it disingenuously dubbed it “tantamount to
genocide” but not genocide. Greenblatt’s conditional claim that “we
The Armenian American activist website “NoPlaceForDenial.com” demands
that the ADL “support U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, as it
does with the Holocaust.” I authored those last six words years ago.
They mean that as partial atonement the ADL must work as hard for
acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide as it has for the Holocaust.
Nothing in Greenblatt’s statement remotely suggests that the ADL would
For three decades or more, the ADL has attacked Armenian Americans and
worked with Turkey and Israel to defeat U.S. recognition of the
Armenian Genocide. Yet the ADL has never apologized for its atrocious
conduct. Ironically, the only ADL apology came in 2007 when National
Director Abe Foxman apologized to Turkey because publicity surrounding
the Armenian issue had embarrassed that country. The failure to obtain
an apology from the ADL is scandalous.
Americans deserve to know the details of the ADL’s longtime
Genocide-denial pact with Turkey and Israel. Where are the documents,
and why was their release not part of the “deal”?
The Berman Affair
Armenian Americans won a major victory in 2014 when Attorney Joseph
Berman, an ADL National Commissioner, lost his bid to become a
Massachusetts Superior Court judge. Governor Deval Patrick had
nominated him in 2013. I testified against Berman.
Following a widely publicized fight, the eight elected Governor’s
Councilors refused to confirm Berman. His leadership position in the
hypocritical ADL was one reason why Councilors opposed him.
While I was in close touch with several Councilors, an incident
occurred that has never before been made public.
A Councilor who opposed Berman told me of receiving several calls
asking that the Councilor vote for Berman. One such caller was Sheriff
Peter Koutoujian, an Armenian American prominent in the recent ADL
“deal.” I remain deeply troubled by that call. Why would Koutoujian do
such a thing? I think I know, but only Koutoujian can answer that
question. He did not return my recent call asking about his past
activities in the campaign against the ADL.
The final Council vote on Berman was 4 to 4. Had the Councilor voted
as Koutoujian asked, the ADL’s candidate and the ADL would have
triumphed, and Armenian activists would have been defeated.
That and other significant incidents raise questions as to whether the
recent ADL “deal” was negotiated in the tough, adversarial way
required to defend Armenian interests.
Failing to Confront
When a few activists and I launched the battle against the ADL in July
2007 and events were moving quickly, AAA and ANCA initially delayed
even issuing a statement. Perhaps they were concerned about
retaliation or being called anti-Jewish.
The following year, moreover, several activists and I became convinced
that these organizations were not fully committed to the ADL fight. At
one point, we were told that at least one of the organizations would
no longer try to convince cities to sever ties with the ADL.
In 2015, even the NoPlaceForDenial.com website, an essential news
resource maintained by ANCA persons, disappeared. It reappeared after
I persisted in complaining about its removal.
Indeed, the ADL came under renewed pressure months ago only because I
informed ANCA and a pro-AAA person that Newton, MA had, perhaps
unintentionally, invited in the ADL after having booted it out in
Sheriff Koutoujian himself has long been very close to various Jewish
organizations. He once received an award from the Jewish Community
Relations Council of Greater Boston. He has taken two trips to Israel.
The second one, last year, concerned “counter-terrorism.” It was
organized by the ADL and funded by Israel’s Gal Foundation, which
sponsors ADL programs. Of the 14 Massachusetts law enforcement
personnel on the trip, Koutoujian was the only sheriff. Koutoujian
later co-narrated a slideshow of the trip at a synagogue in
Burlington, MA. Koutoujian has also spoken at other Jewish venues.
He recently wrote this on his Facebook page: “Thank you to the ADL and
the Boston Globe for recognizing this terrible moment [Armenian
Genocide] for what it is.” So after three decades of the ADL’s
conspiring with Turkey to abuse Armenians, defeat Armenian Genocide
resolutions, and damage the cause of genocide prevention, the ADL is
thanked and all is forgiven, while hundreds of Armenian American
activists get no thanks whatsoever? Incredible.
It’s well known that Americans often interact with powerful Jewish
American political organizations in two related ways. First, a person
may hesitate to publicly disagree with such organizations due to
concern about retaliation and being labeled anti-Jewish. On the other
hand, being friendly and deferential to these organizations may
advance one’s career in politics, academia, business, and other
This question must be asked: Could these two types of interactions
have adversely affected the post-2007 Armenian American campaign
against, and the recent “deal” with, the ADL?
The Anti-Human Rights ADL
The ADL has an appalling anti-Armenian record. Despite this, recent
stories about the “deal” in the Boston Globe and an Armenian American
newspaper depicted the ADL as now somehow virtuous. Neither told
readers about the ADL’s three decades of hypocrisy and collusion with
The ADL claims to be “the nation’s premier civil rights/human
relations agency [which] protects civil rights for all.” What
nonsense. If that were so it would never have been in the business of
covering up genocide. Nor can acknowledging the Armenian Genocide
magically now make the ADL a human rights organization. Indeed, the
Armenian issue is just one of many that have unmasked the ADL.
The ADL, therefore, is not about civil or human rights. It’s just a
Jewish political organization. For instance, it lobbied for an oil
pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey. Human rights organizations don’t
do that sort of thing.
What about nice-sounding ADL programs such as “No Place for Hate,”
“World of Difference,” and “Combatting Bullying”? They’re covers. The
ADL uses them to penetrate schools, colleges, corporations, and
communities to enhance its visibility and political influence.
So that’s the organization that some Armenian Americans just made a
“deal” with—a deal that was fatally flawed from the day it was
conceived. True human rights advocates and perceptive Armenians reject
ADL's Abe Foxman Disputes Criticism on Armenian Genocide
Posted 18 June 2016 - 09:46 AM
Foreign Policy Journal
Posted 29 April 2018 - 09:33 AM
Posted 29 October 2019 - 09:41 AM
Finally the ADL has seen the light or had no choice because ADL was an irrelevant organization when it came to Armenian Genocide.
AlgemeinerOct 28 2019Top Jewish Civil Rights Group Endorses US Congressional Resolution to Recognize Genocide of Armenians by Turkey by Algemeiner Staff
A depiction of the Armenian genocide. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
A leading US-based Jewish civil rights group publicly endorsed on Monday a bipartisan House of Representatives resolution that recognizes the systematic genocide of the Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turkey more than a century ago.
In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) affirmed that H. Res 296 — introduced into the House of Representatives in April — was a “historic Congressional resolution…long overdue,” praising it as “an important step toward raising awareness and educating the American public about the horrific genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians during the early part of the 1900s.”
More than 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Turkey between 1915-23, in a killing campaign that formed the basis for the subsequent legal definition of “genocide.”
“The 20th century saw the worst episodes of genocide in recorded human history, beginning with the Armenian Genocide, through the Holocaust and all the way to the atrocities in Bosnia and Rwanda,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in the statement.Related coverageOctober 28, 2019 11:28 am
The leader of a far-right grouping whose activity is monitored by Germany's official body to defend against political extremism celebrated...
Greenblatt observed that “historians note that Hitler viewed the Armenian Genocide and the world’s indifference toward it as inspiration to launch his own genocidal campaign across Europe. We believe that remembering and educating about any genocide — Armenian, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, and others — is a necessary tool to prevent future tragedies and begins with recognition.”
Greenblatt added that the ADL hoped that the congressional resolution would “facilitate a constructive dialogue, and we encourage the Turkish government to introduce additional safeguards for protecting Turkey’s Armenian citizens and other religious minorities.”
Successive Turkish governments have prevented the Armenian genocide from gaining international recognition for several decades, and Ankara officially denies that the massacres occurred.
However, rising tensions between Western countries and the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent years have provided new political opportunities for recognition of the Armenian genocide.
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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:02 AM
Why did I testify at the Massachusetts State House on Oct. 7 against legislation that would require public schools to teach the Jewish Holocaust, Armenian and Greek Genocides, and other genocides and “atrocities”?
Good question, especially as I’m an Armenian American journalist and activist. My Christian grandparents landed on these shores over 120 years ago.
- A brazenly two-faced, alleged civil/human rights group — the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — wrote and sponsored the legislation (566 & S.327).
- The legislation itself has problems.
- Schools have been utterly careless in scrutinizing the programs and curricula proposed or created by outside organizations such as the ADL.
This article goes far beyond Armenian American issues. It’s about how the ADL and similar groups intimidate and/or hoodwink respectable American organizations, schools, and institutions.
The ADL continually demands worldwide recognition of, reparations for, and legislation on the Holocaust.
Yet the ADL long denied/diminished the Armenian Genocide that Turkey committed (1915-23). The ADL also colluded with Turkey to defeat Armenian Genocide resolutions in the U.S. Congress.
Jewish, Israeli, Turkish, and American media have outright admitted this. So did a fine man, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Chief of Staff, William S. Parsons (now deceased), in a personal conversation with me. He was distressed by it.
Such blatant hypocrisy renders the ADL unfit to author legislation or pontificate on any genocide.
Several other major Jewish groups are equally guilty.
Yola Habif Johnston of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) disclosed in 2006 that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), American Jewish Committee (AJC), B’nai B’rith, and JINSA “have been working with the Turks on this issue” for more than 15 years.
“The Jewish lobby has quite actively supported Turkey in their efforts to prevent the so-called Armenian genocide resolution from passing.”
These Jewish groups would demand apologies and more from any mainstream organization that treated the Holocaust like that. But they had few qualms about demeaning the Armenian Genocide.
We aren’t blaming these Jewish organizations’ rank-and-file supporters, who have often expressed disgust with their organizations’ hypocrisy. We fault their leaders.
Trilateral conspiracy unmasked
In 2007, I publicly blew the whistle on the ADL’s war against Armenian Americans. Many principled Jews and other non-Armenians, joined in. The resulting scandal exploded across national and international media.
Turkey hurled accusations at Israel because the conspiracy among certain Jewish organizations, Israel, and Turkey to do the latter’s dirty work had been unmasked. At that time, relations between Israel and Turkey hadn’t yet soured.
Two respected, long-established American advocacy organizations, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), joined the campaign after a while.
Grassroots Armenian Americans and others did most of the heavy lifting, though, and quite successfully.
ADL gets slapped
Consequently, from 2007-8 a dozen Massachusetts cities and the Massachusetts Municipal Association (which represents the entire state) evicted the ADL’s alleged anti-bias program “No Place for Hate.”
Rarely had the ADL been slapped in the face so hard and so publicly.
New York, Michigan, and California saw similar, though lesser, actions against the ADL.
But like nearly all American organizations who criticize the ADL (and other powerful Jewish political groups), the two Armenian American advocacy groups worried about probable retaliation.
So in mid-to-late 2008 ANCA and AAA dropped out of the campaign. Nevertheless, a small group of activists, including myself, carried on.
For instance, in 2013 then-Governor Deval Patrick nominated Atty. Joseph S. Berman, an ADL National Commissioner, for a Mass. Superior Court judgeship.
Berman subsequently acknowledged he failed to criticize his organization’s genocide hypocrisy prior to 2007. He was grilled on this and other shortcomings by the elected Governor’s Council, which ratifies judicial nominations. I testified against Berman.
In 2014, despite the backing of the entire Massachusetts political, legal, and media establishment, Berman lost. We activists — without ANCA/AAA support — won a stunning victory over the ADL. Don’t let anyone tell you groups like the ADL can’t be beaten.
A weak deal
Two years later, I alerted ANCA and AAA that predominantly Jewish Newton, Mass. had — perhaps unintentionally — brought an ADL program into its schools despite having thrown out the ADL in 2007.
Unfortunately, ANCA’s Dikran Kaligian, AAA’s Anthony Barsamian, and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian (of Armenian-Irish ancestry) ignored my advice to simply push the ADL out of Newton once again.
They’re good people and have helped the Armenian American community in many ways.
But in 2016 they made a pathetically weak deal with ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. He acknowledged the Armenian Genocide but only in a “blog” post, not a formal organizational declaration.
The “blog” also said the ADL “would support” — not does or will support — an Armenian Genocide resolution.
The rest of the deal has never been made public.
Andrew Tarsy was the New England ADL Director who was fired in 2007 because he acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. “Inadequate” was what he rightly termed the ADL’s 2016 deal with ANCA/AAA/Koutoujian.
The ADL, said Tarsy, “ought to lead the conversation about reparations for these [Armenian] families … assets, land … everything that Holocaust reparations … has represented .”
We activists fought and wrote against the bad deal but to no avail.
The ADL’s only “support” for the Congressional resolution came in a letter three years later — a mere 24 hours before an overwhelmingly positive October 2 House resolution vote (405-11) whose success was already assured.
In 2007 Armenian Americans had demanded that as partial moral reparations the ADL must advocate as hard for an Armenian Genocide resolution as it has for Holocaust legislation. The ADL never did so.
Nor has the self-centered ADL ever apologized to Armenians or made amends.
Regardless, the ADL’s chance to do the right thing expired years ago.
I place the onus for ANCA/AAA’s weak-kneed 2016 ADL deal on Sheriff Koutoujian. Like so many ambitious American politicians, he has openly allied himself with numerous Jewish organizations and individuals to advance his career.
During the nomination of the ADL’s Joseph Berman for a judgeship in 2013, for example, Koutoujian privately urged a councilor who opposed Berman to switch her vote.
A Jewish leader had apparently pressed Koutoujian to do this. Had that councilor done as Koutoujian asked, Berman and the ADL would have won.
In 2014, Koutoujian and thirteen others — mostly local police chiefs — went on an ADL junket to Israel for “counterterrorism” training, which is obvious nonsense. Curiously, Koutoujian happened to be the only sheriff. A Mass. sheriff’s main responsibility is running county jails.
But even had the ADL never warred against Armenian Americans, it still wouldn’t qualify as a civil/human rights organization.
More bad ADL behavior
We can only skim the surface here of the swamp of ADL’s bad behavior.
In the 1990s and beyond, the ADL settled two civil rights lawsuits for illicitly surveilling thousands of individuals and organizations. These included the ACLU, Greenpeace, and NAACP as well as civil rights, media, anti-Apartheid, and African/Asian/Hispanic/Jewish/Native American groups.
The ADL also illegally possessed reams of government records, including classified FBI documents.
In 1993, political strings were reportedly pulled at the last moment before a San Francisco grand jury could hear the case.
The ADL did not escape entirely. It had to pay over $50,000 to the city.
The mainstream media reported this scandal though not nearly enough.
In reality, then, the ADL is really just a political, rather than a civil/human rights, group.
Like most Jewish organizations, the ADL believes that Holocaust denial/diminishment is anti-Semitism and, hence, hate.
By analogy, therefore, the ADL’s denial/diminishment of the Armenian Genocide would apparently make it a hate group.
Dubious genocide legislation
Fast forward to October’s hearing on the ADL’s genocide legislation.
Again, because the ADL has been knee-deep in genocide denial/diminishment, it has no business writing genocide legislation.
Furthermore, the legislation’s text and concept are flawed.
The Holocaust is placed before the Armenian Genocide, even though the latter preceded the former by two decades and was a model for Hitler, who admired Turkey’s brutality.
The legislation refers to “atrocities in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan.” Some of these, particularly those in Rwanda and Sudan/Darfur, were definitely genocides not mere “atrocities.”
The numerous massacres of Native Americans are not mentioned.
Indeed, I suspect the text includes genocides other than the Holocaust mainly to increase its chances of passage.
Regardless, should genocide instruction as a separate unit be required when so many high school graduates have a poor knowledge of American history, not to mention the ‘Three Rs’?
By law, moreover, the Mass. Dept. of Education already has a unit on genocide which teachers can use.
And some schools already invite organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves to teach genocide history.
Genocide is legitimate history and should be included in history textbooks rather than presented as a wholly separate unit.
Moreover, ANCA and AAA should not, as they did, have explicitly teamed with the disreputable ADL to support this legislation. Had they wished to support the bills, they could have done so independently.
If this legislation succeeds, the genocide-denying/diminishing ADL may well play a role in writing and teaching the curriculum. That’s outrageous.
Are schools competent to bring in outside groups to teach genocide or other subjects?
Dubious outside groups
Consider the dozen Massachusetts city governments — often pushed by their so-called ‘human rights commissions’ — and the Mass. Municipal Assoc. that formally approved the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” but later rejected it.
They probably didn’t bother to look into the ADL’s checkered background. Or did so but didn’t care. At a minimum, they’re inept. Other cities and schools across America who have adopted ADL programs must also be inept.
Over one thousand cities, schools, universities, and law-enforcement agencies here and internationally participate in ADL programs such as “No Place for Hate,” “Campus of Difference,” “Classroom of Difference,” “Anti-bullying,” and more. These curricula purport to instill ‘tolerance and diversity.’
But was the ADL ‘tolerant’ of the civil rights, media, anti-Apartheid, and ethnic groups and individuals it surveilled? Far from it. Did the ‘diversity’ of genocides the ADL recognized until recently include the Armenian Genocide? On the contrary.
Are students in ADL programs told the facts about that organization’s distasteful history? Doubtful. That’s not education. It’s deceit.
Any organization that presumes to inculcate morals into young people must come with clean hands. That’s not the ADL.
Educators often fail to investigate other outside organizations and programs they bring into schools and libraries.
Consider DragQueenStoryHour (.org).
Hundreds of American public schools and libraries are hosting frightening, bizarrely outfitted, provocative adult drag queens who read to, physically contact, and sometimes strip before young, often pre-school, children.
Some of these drag queens have been convicted of child sex abuse and prostitution.
Problematic organizations that seek to influence unsuspecting students are making schools a battlefield.
Students deserve better.
America’s future leaders should not serve as guinea pigs just so the ADL can advance its political agenda with dubious legislation.
The author is a Massachusetts-based freelance journalist. Many of his articles can be found at www.Armeniapedia.org/wiki/David_Boyajian.
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