Israeli President recognized the Armenian genocide infront of UN
Posted 01 August 2016 - 10:07 AM
Posted 02 August 2016 - 10:07 AM
Aug 1 2016
Knesset committee recognizes Armenian genocide
After years of Israel's refusal to recognize Armenian genocide which
claimed more than 1 million lives, Knesset committee says 'It is our
moral obligation to recognize the holocaust of the Armenian nation.'
Jonathan Benedek/TPS|Published: 01.08.16 , 23:13
The Education, Culture and Sports Committee decided to recognize the
Armenian genocide on Monday at a meeting initiated by Meretz
Chairwoman MK Zehava Galon.
“It is our moral obligation to recognize the holocaust of the Armenian
nation,” said the committee’s chairman and Shas MK Yaakov Margi.
The declaration by the committee represents a symbolic and important
change in light of Israel’s maintenance hitherto of a policy to
refrain from officially recognizing the Armenian genocide in which
approximately 1.5 million Armenians were reportedly massacred by
Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I.
Israel has previously abstained from recognizing the genocide in order
to avoid potential negative repercussions on its relationship with
Turkey. Israel signed a reconciliation agreement with the country last
month following a strain in bilateral relations since the summer of
Nevertheless, MK Margi called upon Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to
follow through on remarks he made last year at a committee meeting
during which he said that he would work to have the Knesset formally
recognize the Armenian genocide.
“I will try to promote the issue and I hope that MKs will know the
right way to vote at the moment of truth,” Edelstein said in July
“I visited one of the Armenian memorial sites and it is very hard to
ignore what I saw there,” he continued . “I expect that I, and the
Knesset, act appropriately so that we can make decisions according to
the moral standards of a democratic state.”
MK Galon also lamented Israel’s continued failure to recognize the
“Each year we instill false hope in the people sitting here,” said
Galon. “It is a disservice to the Knesset to continue going on and on
about this issue, year after year, without reaching a decision that
the State of Israel and the Knesset recognize the genocide of the
Georgette Avakian, chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee in
Jerusalem, echoed the remarks made by Margi and Galon.
“The Knesset and the president of the State of Israel must recognize
the genocide of our people,” she insisted.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 03 August 2016 - 07:09 AM
The Media Line
Aug 2 2016
Israeli Parliamentary Committee Circumvents Government, Recognizing
By Michael Friedson | The Media Line
August 2, 2016
An Israeli parliamentary committee ran an end-run around long-standing
government policy when it issued a declaration recognizing the killing
of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces during
World War I as “genocide.” The declaration was made by the Education,
Culture and Sports Committee following an effort spearheaded by Member
of Knesset (parliament) Zahava Gal-on, head of the Meretz Party.
Successive governments have refused to acknowledge the mass killings
as genocide because of the delicate nature of Israel’s diplomatic
relations with Turkey and Ankara’s extreme sensitivity on the subject.
But recognizing genocide is an issue which transcends traditional
political alliances in the Jewish state, largely because of its
citizens’ experiences as victims of another genocide. In fact, the
Armenian declaration united Gal-on, who chairs the nation’s most
left-wing party with the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, a member of which
chairs the Education, Culture and Sports Committee. Knesset Speaker
Yuli Edelstein, a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party,
had opened the door to genocide recognition a year ago when he told
the committee that he would work toward that end. The issue will not
end with the committee declaration. Those who favor genocide
recognition continue to demand action by the parliament and the
president on behalf of the state.
Posted 03 August 2016 - 07:11 AM
The Times of Israel
Aug 1 2016
Knesset Education Committee recognizes Armenian genocide
Chair Yakov Margi urges house speaker to declare that Israel’s
parliament considers 1915 mass killing a genocide
By Marissa Newman
The Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee on Monday
announced it recognizes the Armenian genocide and urged the government
to formally acknowledge the 1915 mass slaughter of 1.5 Armenians as
“It is our moral obligation to recognize the Armenian genocide,” said
committee chair Yakov Margi (Shas) at a committee meeting.
Margi expressed regret that the State of Israel does not currently
recognize the genocide by Ottoman Turks 101 years ago, and called on
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to do so.
Israel’s refusal thus far to formally recognize the Armenian slaughter
as genocide is based on geopolitical and strategic considerations,
primary among them its relations with Turkey, which vehemently denies
that Ottoman Turks committed genocide. Israel and Turkey signed a
rapprochement deal in June, upgrading their diplomatic relationship
after years of frosty ties worsened by a fatal melee between IDF
soldiers and Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound ship in 2010.
During Monday’s meeting, Meretz MK Zehava Galon, Zionist Union MKs
Zouheir Bahloul and Nahman Shai, and Joint (Arab) List MK Dov Khenin
voiced support for the measure.
Earlier this month, Edelstein (Likud) urged Israel to recognize the
Armenian genocide, despite the friction it might cause with Turkey.
“We must not ignore, belittle or deny this terrible genocide,”
Edelstein declared as the Knesset marked the 1915 mass killing. “We
must disconnect the current interests, bound to this time and place,
from the difficult past, of which this dark chapter is a part.”
President Reuven Rivlin, who was one of the most outspoken advocates
for recognition of the genocide during his time as Knesset speaker,
eschewed using the term during the centenary commemoration last year,
disappointing Armenian leaders. He used it, however, several weeks
earlier at a different event.
Israel’s ongoing denial of the Armenian genocide has thus far survived
several debates in the Knesset and even efforts by a former education
minister to add the topic to school curricula.
Raphael Ahren and news agencies contributed to this report.
Posted 06 August 2016 - 07:51 AM
Leora Eisenberg: Is Israel being honest with itself in issue of Armenian Genocide?
Israel has partially recognized the Armenian Genocide, but it is necessary to understand whether it is being honest with itself, wrote Leora Eisenberg, blogger of Times of Israel, who shoots a documentary about the Armenian district of Jerusalem.
“Tucked away between the constant thud of children’s feet in the Jewish Quarter and the intoxicating smell of the Arab shuk is the Armenian Quarter. Almost alarmingly quiet, the calmest quarter is walled off — and those who have lived in the Old City for years are unlikely to have ever entered.
I lower my head to squeeze through the arch, and am greeted by a large square. You might see children running to the soccer field, old men playing backgammon, or maybe a priest walking to the seminary across the street.
You will probably hear Armenian, but some of the young deacons might be speaking Russian. The stones are the same as those of any other quarter, but the crosses that decorate the area are uniquely Armenian.”
“Armenians have been in Jerusalem, uninterrupted, since the seventh century.”
“We asked our interviewees a variety of questions — where are they from, where are their parents from, what do you like most about Jerusalem, etc. But the question that taught us the most was the following:
“What is your struggle, as an Armenian in Israel?”
Each priest whom I asked paused for moment.
“Let the world be honest,” said one. “The Armenian Genocide is a fact. Whether or not you recognize it, it happened.”
“It is indeed our ethical prerogative to recognize the massacre and deportation of 1.5 million+ people.[…] But, in my opinion, we, as human beings, must award all those massacred the humanity that they were systematically denied.”
“Geopolitical concerns certainly play a role here; I can’t deny that relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan certainly are important. But relations with Armenia and Israel’s Armenian community are not trivial — and, at the end of the day, Israel’s moral compass must point in the direction of recognizing the genocide that Hitler trivialized with his famous words: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Answer: we should.
It seems that we speak about it every few months in Israel. We bring it to one Knesset committee and then another. On August 1, we finally had some success — the Education, Culture and Sports Committee finally recognized the Armenian Genocide with support ranging from the far right to the far left. Certainly a step forward — but is Israel, as the first priest said, being honest with itself?” Eisenberg writes.
Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:21 PM
1890-ականներուն թուրքերու կողմէ իրականացուած հայերու զանգուածային սպաննութիւններու ժամանակէն սկսած՝ հայկական հարցը առկայ եղած է սիոնական շարժման մէջ, նոյնիսկ մինչ առաջին Սիոնական քոնկրէսի կայացումը: Համաշխարհային սիոնականութեան հիմնադիր Թէոտոր Հերթցէլի ռազմավարութիւնը կառուցուած էր փոխանակման գաղափարի շուրջ, այսինքն ՝ Պաղեստինի ճանաչման եւ հրէական պետութեան հաստատման համաձայնութեան դիմաց հրեաները պէտք է մարէին Օսմանեան կայսրութեան ահռելի պարտքը: Հերթցէլ անօգուտ ջանք կը թափէր Սուլթան Համիտ Բ-ին համոզելու ընդունիլ իր առաջարկը։ Այս մասին Haaretz-ի մէջ գրած է Երուսաղէմի հրէական համալսարանի կրթութեան ու մշակոյթի պատմութեան մասնագէտ դոկտ. Ռէյչըլ Էլպոյմ-Տրորը:
«Սուլթանին փող առաջարկելու փոխարէն՝ անոր տուէք հայկական հարցի քաղաքական աջակցութիւն, եւ ան շնորհակալ կ’ըլլայ եւ կ’ընդունի ձեր առաջարկը՝ գոնէ մասամբ»,- Հերթցէլին ըսած է, անոր դիւանագիտական գործակալ Ֆիլիփ Մայքլ Նեւլինսկին (որ նաեւ եղած է սուլթանի խորհրդականը):
Եւրոպայի քրիստոնեայ երկիրները քննադատաբար կը մօտենային իսլամներու կողմէ հայ քրիստոնեաներու սպաննութիւններուն, եւ տարբեր վայրերու մէջ հայերուն օժանդակող կոմիտէներ կը ստեղծուէին, Եւրոպան հայ ապստամբութեան ղեկավարներուն ապաստան կ’առաջարկէր: Այս իրավիճակը շատ կը բարդացնէր Թուրքիոյ՝ Եւրոպական դրամատուներէն վարկեր ստանալու գործը:
Հերթցէլ անմիջապէս կ’ընդունի խորհուրդը: Ան կը զգար, որ պէտք էր ամէն ճիգ իրականացնել հրէական պետութեան հաստատումը արագցընելու համար: Այդպիսով ան կը համաձայնի գործիք դառնալ սուլթանին համար եւ հայ ապստամբ առաջնորդներուն կը փորձէ համոզել, որ եթէ անոնք յանձնուին, ապա սուլթանը կը կատարէ անոնց որոշ պահանջները: Հերթցէլ նաեւ կ’աշխատէր Արեւմուտքին ցուց տալ, որ Թուրքիան փաստօրէն աւելի մարդկային է, քան կը կարծուի, եւ ան հայ ապստամբներուն հետ այսպէս վարուելէ բացի այլ ելք չունէր: Հրեայ առաջնորդը մեծ ջանքերու շնորհիւ 1901 թուականի 17 մայիսին նաեւ հանդիպում կ’ունենար սուլթանին հետ։
Սուլթանը յոյս ունէր, որ յայտնի լրագրող Հէրթցէլ կը կարողանայ փոխել Օսմանեան կայսրութեան բացասական դէմքը: Եւ այսպէս՝ սուլթանի ցանկութիւնը ի կատար ածելու համար Հէրթցէլ կեդրոնացած կերպով գործի կ’անցնի ՝ հանդիսանալով խաղաղութեան միջնորդ: Ան կապեր կը հաստատէ եւ գաղտնի հանդիպումներ կ’ունենայ հայ ապստամբներու հետ՝ փորձելով զանոնք համոզել դադարեցնել զինուորական գրոհները: Սակայն հայերը համոզուած չէին անոր անկեղծութեան, եւ չէին վստահիր սուլթանի խոստումներուն: Այս նպատակով Հերթցէլ նաեւ եռանդուն փորձեր կը ձեռնարկէ իրեն ծանօթ՝ Եւրոպական դիւանագիտական կապերով հասնիլ իր ուզածին:
Ինչպէս բնորոշ էր իրեն՝ ան այլ սիոնական առաջնորդներու հետ չէր խորհրդակցէր եւ իր գործունէութիւնը գաղտնի կը պահէր: Բայց օգնութեան կարիք ունենալով՝ ան աւելի ուշ ստիպուած կ’ըլլայ գրել Մաքս Նորտաուին՝ անոր այդ գործին մէջ ներգրաւելու նպատակով: Նորտաու կը պատասխանէ մէկ բառէ կազմուած հեռագրով. «Ո՛չ»: Թուրքերէն Պաղեստինի հրովարտակը ստանալու իր ջանքերուն յաջորդող ամենամեայ սիոնական քոնկրէսի ժամանակ, հակառակ ներկայացուցիչներու ընդդիմութեան, Հէրթցէլ հրապարակայնօրէն կը յայտարարէ, որ սիոնական շարժումը իր հիացմունքն ու շնորհակալութիւնը կը յայտնէ սուլթանին:
Այդ հարցին մէջ Հերթցէլի գլխաւոր հակառակորդը Պեռնարտ Լազարէն էր՝ ֆրանսացի հրեայ մտաւորական, ձախակողմեան, յայտնի լրագրող եւ գրաքննադատ, որ ակնառու կերպով պայքարած էր Տրէյֆուսներու դատին դէմ եւ «հայկական հարց»ին աջակից էր: Զինք կը բարկացնէր Հերթցէլի գործունէութիւնը, եւ որպէս արդիւնք այդ լարուածութեան ան 1899 թուականին դուրս կու գար սիոնական կոմիտէէն եւ ընդհանրապէս կը լքէր շարժումը: Լազարէ բաց նամակ կը գրէր Հերթցէլին, ուր հարց կու տար անոր, թէ ինչպէս անոնք, որպէս հին ժողովուրդի ներկայացուցիչներ, որոնց պատմութիւնը գրուած է արեամբ՝ կրնան բարեկամական ձեռք մեկնել մարդասպաններուն, եւ ինչպէս սիոնական քոնկրէսի ոչ մէկ պատգամաւոր իր բողոքը կը բարձրացնէ:
Այս բոլորը, պարզապէս օրինակ են , այն մասին, թէ ինչպէս հրեայ մեծ առաջնորդը համամարդկային արժէքները ստորադասելով յանուն հրէական պետութեան կը ծառայէր թուրք հեղինակութիւններուն: Իսրայէլը անընդհատ հանդիպած է այսպիսի ողբերգական տիլեմաներու եւ որուն վկայութիւնն է Հայոց ցեղասպանութեան փաստի մերժումը, ինչպէս նաեւ շարք մը այլ որոշումներ, որոնք կ’արտացոլեն համամարդկային արժէքներու եւ քաղաքական նկատառումներու միջեւ իրական հակասութիւն եւ լարուածութիւն:
Posted 08 September 2016 - 09:02 AM
Azerbaijan hinders recognition of Armenian genocide in Knesset
September 7, 2016 14:23
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Yerevan /Mediamax/. Head of Jerusalem Armenian National Committee Georgette Avagyan told Mediamax that Israeli government continues to pressure the Knesset members regarding recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“The members of Israeli Parliament are expected to discuss the resolution on recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide once again in November. Many Knesset members told us that they recognize the Genocide but are pressured by the government. They are frightened,” Georgette Avagyan told Mediamax.
“The biggest issue today is caused by Azerbaijan. Defense Minister of Israel Avigdor Lieberman in particular has very close ties with Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, Lieberman is the one who hinders our work greatly. In other countries Turkey is responsible for hindering recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but Turkey says nothing in Israel, as its friend and ally Azerbaijan already has large influence,” she said.
Meanwhile, Georgette Avagyan Office expressed the hope that “Israeli MPs will be able to find the right solution for this situation.”
“I hope that the resolution will be adopted this time, because the majority of the population of Israel (around 80%) state it is a shame that Israel has not yet recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide”, she noted.
Georgette Avagyan believes that once Israel recognizes the Genocide, many other countries will follow, USA especially.
Israeli Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee recognized the Armenian Genocide on August 1.
- See more at: http://www.mediamax....h.7Mrw1kBR.dpuf
Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:36 AM
We do not have anything against Israel and we do accept the Holocaust! Lack of morals!!!!!!!!!
Knesset Deputy Speaker: “We cannot recognize the Armenian Genocide” September 22, 2016 17:27Yerevan /Mediamax/. Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov said in an interview with Mediamax that "Today Israel does not have the opportunity to recognize Armenian Genocide on state level”.
“President of Israel and President of Knesset said that they accept the fact of the tragedy. But the political relations between Israel and other states do not allow Israel to recognize Armenian Genocide on state level. Although all of us deep inside accept that horrible tragedy and offer our support to the Armenian side,” Knesset Deputy Speaker said to Mediamax correspondent during her visit to Yerevan.
Nevertheless, Tali Ploskov emphasized that progress was registered in the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel, when Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee officially recognized it in June, 2016.
“The next step is supposed to be the recognition by President of Israel or Minister of Foreign Affairs, but I am not quite sure it will happen. This issue is not going to change yet. Such issues are not solved quickly,” he said.
Knesset representative noted that it is very important for Israel that “Everyone in Yerevan understands that we do not have anything against Armenia”.
“Yes, we cannot declare what our Armenian counterparts would like us to say. We have reasons that everyone understands. But this does not mean we cannot cooperate,” the MP said
Tali Ploskov informed that he is in Armenia to participate in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Independence of Armenia.
“Besides the main purpose of my visit, my counterpart Artak Zakaryan and I decided to hold a conference for entrepreneurs, which will host representatives of different spheres from both countries. We plan to hold the first such meeting on September 24,” Tali Ploskov said.
Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker informed that he will have meetings with the Speaker and MPs of Armenian National Assembly to discuss inter-partliamentary cooperation related issues.
“Last year cooperation was intensified in different spheres between our two countries, which should be continuous. We should work hard to achieve it. I am convinced that there will be no obstacle on our way,” Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov said in an interview to Mediamax.
- See more at: http://www.mediamax....h.WNUCBP4K.dpuf
Posted 11 December 2016 - 12:57 PM
Jeretzian was quick to spot the parallels between the events his family witnessed 30 years earlier and what he was observing in the very heart of Europe.
The Jeretzian family (left to right): Ara’s wife Maria, daughter Sofia, mother Sofia, son Ara Jeretzian Jr and Ara. From the family archive of Ara Jeretzian.
According to Frank, Jeretzian also stole several seals and letters signed by the minister, which he later used to protect the hospital’s residents.
1 Zichy Jeno Street, Budapest
“This certainly was a dangerous situation, but our commander, George Jeretzian Ara protected me,” writes Kerényi.
The forged documents of one of Jeretzian’s patients. From the Open Society Institute archive.
Any Jews found outside the ghetto were taken on a death march toward the Danube.
Ara Jeretzian with his wife Maria, daughter Sofia, and son Ara, 1956. From the family archive of Ara Jeretzian.
Ara Jeretzian Jr with his daughters Constance and Clarissa. From the family archive of Ara Jeretzian.
“Father didn’t think much of gratitude. For him, everything he did was a matter of course,” says his son.
Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:55 AM
- 10:40 | April 19,2017 | Politics
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Israel National News published an extremely interesting article written by Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut on the discrimination and persecution that Turkish Jews have suffered since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
This is an important exposé since the Turkish government has gone to great lengths for many decades to deceive the international community that there is great tolerance for Jews in Turkish and that Jews lived in a democratic society which protected their civil and religious rights. The aim of this Turkish propaganda campaign was two-fold: To keep Israeli leaders and American Jews happy so they would support Turkish interests in Washington and enlist the political lobbying clout of American Jews in Washington to counter congressional efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The Turkish government back in 1992 commemorated with a big splash the 500th anniversary of Jews fleeing from Spain and relocating in Turkey. Ankara co-opted many of the Jewish community leaders, including the Chief Rabbi, into propagating this false historical narrative. When I wrote an editorial back then exposing the lies of that celebration, I got a letter from the head of the commemorative events, asking why I wanted to cast a negative light on their celebration. Interestingly, that Jewish leader did not contest any of the facts in my article on the persecution of Jews in the Ottoman Empire throughout the centuries.
Bulut’s article is significant because it describes the persecution of Jews not centuries ago but during our own times in ‘modern’ Turkey! The article begins with a news item from the Turkish Milliyet newspaper reporting that dozens of historic Jewish synagogues “run the risk of disappearing forever.” One of the main reasons why these synagogues are disappearing is that the majority of the Jewish community of Turkey has departed from Turkey fleeing from “systematic discrimination and campaigns of forced Turkification and Islamization.” Bulut reports that in 1923, at the beginning of the Turkish Republic, there were 81,454 Jews in Turkey. That number has dwindled to “fewer than 15,000.” The last of Jewish schools was shut down by the Turkish government in 1937, according to Bulut.
Here is the list of the major episodes of Turkish persecution and discrimination against Jews and other non-Turkish minorities in recent decades, as compiled by Turkish journalist Bulut:
— The Turkish Law of Family adopted in 1934 forced Jews and other non-Turks to abandon their ethnic names and adopt Turkish sounding names.
— “Jews were deprived of their freedom of movement at least three times: in 1923, 1925 and 1927.” Bulut also mentions that “during the Holocaust, Turkey opened its doors to very few Jewish and political refugees and even took measures to prevent Jewish immigration in 1937.”
— Hate speech and anti-Semitic comments are very prevalent in Turkish society and the media. Activities in support of Israel by the Jewish community were banned by the Republic of Turkey.
— The Turkish government has assigned secret code numbers to individuals of Jewish, Armenian and Greek descent. That way the government can track them down and expose their background when necessary.
— “Laws that excluded Jews and other non-Muslims from certain professions:” The Republic of Turkey banned these minorities from holding government positions. “Thousands of non-Muslims lost their jobs,” according to Bulut.
— Prohibition of the use in public of all languages except Turkish. The “Citizen Speak Turkish” campaign in the first years of the Republic mainly targeted the Jewish community, according to Rifat Bali, the leading scholar of Turkish Jewry.
— “The Jews of Eastern Thrace were targeted by pogroms from June 21-July 4, 1934. These began with a boycott of Jewish businesses, and were followed by physical attacks on Jewish-owned buildings, which were first looted, then set on fire. Jewish men were beaten, and some Jewish women reportedly raped. Terrorized by this turn of events, more than 15,000 Jews fled the region.”
— The conscription of non-Muslims in the Turkish Army (1941-42). “On April 22, 1941, 12,000 non-Muslims (also known as “the twenty classes”), including Jewish men — even the blind and physically disabled — were conscripted. But instead of doing active service, they were sent to work in labor battalions under terrible conditions for the construction of roads and airports. Some of them lost their lives or caught diseases.”
— “On Nov. 11, 1942, the Turkish government enacted the Wealth Tax Law, which divided the taxpayers in four groups, as per their religious backgrounds: Muslims, non-Muslims, converts (‘donme’), i.e. members of a Sabbatean sect of Jewish converts to Islam, and foreign nationals. Only 4.94 percent of Turkish Muslims had to pay the Wealth Tax. The Armenians were the most heavily taxed, followed by Jews. According to the scholar Başak İnce, ‘the underlying reason was the elimination of minorities from the economy, and the replacement of the non-Muslim bourgeoisie by its Turkish counterpart.’”
— “During the 6-7 September 1955 government-instigated attacks against non-Muslim communities in Istanbul, Turkish mobs devastated the Greek, Armenian, and Jewish districts of the city, destroying and looting their places of worship, homes, businesses, cemeteries, and schools, among others.”
— “Murders of Jews: Yasef Yahya, a 39-year-old Jewish dentist was brutally murdered on August 21, 2003 in his office in the Şişli district of Istanbul, many Jewish lawyers and doctors in Istanbul removed the signs on their offices in order not to have the same fate as Yahya.”
This list of continued harassment and persecution of Jews and other minorities should be sent to the international media each time that the Turkish government misrepresents its record of mistreatment of the Jewish community in Turkey.
It is a shame that the Israeli government does not whisper a single word of criticism in the face of such persecution of fellow Jews in Turkey. On the contrary, Israeli officials cowardly buckle under pressure from Turkey to deny the Armenian Genocide and ban this crime against humanity from Israeli TV and academic conferences.
Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:34 AM
Would you think that the government of Israel will return the favour? Don't hold your breath!
Plattsburgh Press RepublicanMay 8 2017Swiss-Armenian lobbied for billions owed to Holocaust survivors
- By SADIE CRUZ Special to the Press-Republican
- May 8, 2017
PLATTSBURGH— Millions of dormant accounts owned by Jewish people during the Holocaust still rested in Swiss banks in the late 1990s.
That's when a scandal broke, revealing that the monies were never returned, which led to a lawsuit that eventually issued $1.24 billion to Holocaust survivors and their heirs.
The mystery of the hidden millions would change the way the world looked at Switzerland's history in relation to World War II.
Emmanuel Tchividjian, who describes himself as Judeo-Christian, grew up in Switzerland and later moved to Boston. He embarked on a personal mission to right the wrong that he felt was 50 years overdue.
He was at SUNY Plattsburgh recently, as part of the Douglas R. Skopp Speakers Series on the Holocaust, to talk about his role in the historic case and how the public-relations firm Ruder Finn, where he used to work, played an influential part in making the Swiss banks agree to restitution.
“I never thought this would lead to a job, but it was a matter of the heart,” Tchividjian said.
PRESSING FOR RELEASE
He believes Christians today should have an attitude of repentance and forgiveness for the tragedies that have occurred in that past in the name of Christianity.
Tchividjian, who was the director of program and member services for the New England Israel Chamber of Commerce, said asking forgiveness is not good enough unless you feel a genuine need to repent and do something.
His father was an Armenian refugee who was relocated to Greece, but asked his parents to send him to boarding school in Switzerland.
Switzerland had been good to his family, so he felt he owed a debt to the country.
This motivated Tchividjian in his efforts to change the lives of the many Jewish people and their descendants who were robbed of their money.
He packed his bags for Switzerland for a three-week trip that extended into a three-month quest.
During his trip, he spoke to bankers from UBS and Lloyds bank, politicians, members of parliament, diplomats, leaders of Switzerland's Jewish community, historians, two federal Supreme Court judges, journalists, accountants and a clergyman to advocate for the refunding of the Swiss bank accounts.
During his time in Switzerland, Tchividjian saw conflicting responses: Some people were utterly shocked about the true Swiss history in World War II, and others sympathized with the Nazis.
Because of the dormant-account scandal, Switzerland had to create the Bergier Commission, led by the Swiss historian Jean-Francois Bergier, and as a country had to revisit Switzerland's WWII history.
“I think the Swiss had a moral wake-up call, and they realized the history was not as rosy as they thought. And, I think, it’s always good for a country to acknowledge the past and change the attitude,” Tchividjian said.
He said he encountered some anti-semitism and anti-American feelings while he was conversing with Swiss diplomats. One ambassador told him: “We didn't kill them, and now they mess with us.”
Tchividjian was introduced to Corinne Goetschel, who was on the Paul Volcker Commission, which was investigating the dormant accounts.
“Until then, my idea of the Swiss government was that it was the enemy,” he said.
Goetschel said that she, as a worker for the Swiss government and a Jew, would resign her position if she felt any antisemitic pressure in the Swiss government. She became Tchividjian’s “moral guarantee-er.”
HELP FROM U.S. FIRM
The Swiss government went to a number of firms seeking help, which all turned them down, until Ruder Finn, a public-relations company from the United States, took on the challenge.
Tchividjian was working for the Swiss government for free while Ruder Finn was being paid, but nevertheless they had the same mission. His meeting with Goetschel was the link to interacting with the Swiss banks themselves and the beginning of his relationship with Ruder Finn.
Goetschel had Hans Baer, chairman of Julius Baer Bank, the largest private bank in Switzerland, on the Paul Volcker Commission with her. The commission wanted the banker to go to Boston, so Tchividjian would organize press events for the Swiss government representative to speak in the United States about the dormant accounts.
Tchividjian organized radio, TV and newspaper interviews. Goetschel introduced him to David Finn of Ruder Finn, who so appreciated Tchividjian's passion and management of the crisis that he asked Tchividjian first to work for them on the case and later to join the firm as its ethics chair.
To Tchividjian, hearing from the people most affected by this scandal was one of the most difficult parts of the experience. He felt he didn't do as much as he could and to this day doesn't know how impactful he was.
He would sometimes get calls from people with relatives who had money in the dormant accounts, and he would connect them with the right people.
“But you never do what’s right because of the impact. You do what's right because it's right," he said.
"And you hope that the impact is what it needs to be."
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