Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Bell Tolls--The ADL and the Armenian Genocide--the firing of Andrew Tarsy: The article in the August 18, 2007 edition of The Boston Globe reporting the ADL firing of New England regional director Andrew Tarsy was a difficult one to read. I try to be a fair person. I try to look at issues from many different angles. I understand Mr. Foxman's and the ADL's rationale for firing Mr. Tarsy. Sometimes, political realities dictate that it is better to work behind the scenes walking softly in an advocacy capacity than it is to shout loud and clear polices which may result in your own cause and, in this case, our own people being harmed. It is true we need Turkey and, indeed, Turkey needs us.

I care about the Jewish people to the depths of my being. That is because in reality our history has dictated that I must since no one else in the face of endless anti-Semitism did. The Holocaust was, of course, the result of centuries of people not caring about Jews. I keep trying for decades to figure out some purpose to it all. I keep trying to think of some reason, some lesson our Holocaust can teach. I often come up empty. I keep thinking our people were slaughtered for nothing. Perhaps, though, there is a small lesson to be learned and that, of course, is not to stay silent or crouch in the background in the face of other dastardly commissions of wholesale murder. For once, I thought, it should be possible not to play politics most especially if one belongs to a group dedicated to the very essence of preventing further holocausts. Perhaps we have a duty to ultimately speak out in constant voice about those events which perpetrated holocausts similar to our own so that the light shines and exposes even past deeds the perpetrators of which think will be relegated to the dustbin of history and forgotten by all.

In other historical contexts we can apply the same rule. We cringe at our own history and the US sanctioning of slavery. Presidents, often played the politically correct card by ignoring it for fear of alienating a political base. Abraham Lincoln himself did that to try to save the Union. It didn't save the Union but a Civil War did. Further, in our own century FDR, fearing the alienation of Dixicrats in the south, was careful not to act on the fate of European Jewry and, in part, because of that the ship the St. Louis, loaded with Jewish refugees, was turned away from US ports. Indeed, we question why the tracks of Auschwitz were never bombed. And, too, there is the constant controversial din of Pope Pius the XII's silence many excuse because it is said he was "a diplomat" and thought he could wield his power against the Hitlerian menace through subtle diplomatic genius. He couldn't and history, I believe, teaches us, it would have been better had he screamed the Jewish plight from the Vatican rafters. It might have saved a few more Jews. The Vatican, to this day, is mired in his controversy and to this day will not allow inspection of some critical documents of that era. We condemn this.

There are many now who would insult the sacredness of our Holocaust by denying it. And now, we do the very thing we abhor in others. We are choosing to soft pedal an undeniable genocidal evil that took place by the Turks against the Armenian people decades earlier when we should be shouting it from the rafters.

Perhaps, Mr. Foxman and the ADL should reevaluate the ADL position and re-determine Mr. Tarsy's fate. History, I suspect, may teach us that, in fact, Mr. Tarsy was correct advocating for the Armenian cause and its rightful claim to history. The consequences of doing that will probably mean little for the security of State of Israel or of the Jewish people. I believe, in this case too, we should shine the light on history for all to know because the bell tolled not only for the Armenian people, it tolled for the Jewish people as it tolls for all people today as well.