Wednesday, October 10, 2007

International Association of Genocide Scholars Letter on Armenian

October 5, 2007


The Honorable Tom Lantos, Chairman
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member
House Foreign Affairs Committee
US House of Representatives

Dear Chairman Lantos and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen:

We write to you as the leading international organization of scholars
who study genocide. We strongly urge you to pass H. Res. 106.

In passing this resolution the US Congress would not be adjudicating
history but instead would be affirming the truth about a genocide that
has been overwhelmingly established by decades of documentation and

Truth of the Scholarly Record

It is disingenuous of the government of Turkey to use the red herring
of a "historians' commission," half of whose members would be
appointed by the Turkish government, to "study" the facts of what
occurred in 1915. As we have made clear in our Open Letters to Prime
Minister Erdogan (6/13/05 and 6/12/06), the historical record on the
Armenian Genocide is unambiguous. It is proven by foreign office
records of the United States, France, Great Britain, Russia, and
perhaps most importantly, of Turkey's World War I allies, Germany and
Austria-Hungary, as well as by the records of the Ottoman
Courts-Martial of 1918-1920, and by decades of scholarship. A
"commission of historians" would only serve the interests of Turkish
genocide deniers.

The abundance of scholarly evidence led to the unanimous resolution of
the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Turkish
massacres of over one million Armenians from 1915 to 1918 was a crime
of genocide.

America's Own Record

The Joint Congressional Resolution recognizing and commemorating the
Armenian Genocide will honor America's extraordinary Foreign Service
Officers (among them Leslie A. Davis, Jesse B. Jackson, and Oscar
Heizer) who often risked their lives rescuing Armenian citizens in
1915. They and others left behind some forty thousand pages of
reports, now in the National Archives, that document that what
happened to the Armenian people was government-planned, systematic
extermination - what Raphael Lemkin (the man who coined the word
genocide) used in creating the definition.

By passing this resolution, the U.S. Congress would also pay tribute
to America's first international human rights movement. The Foreign
Service Officers and prominent individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt,
Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, and Cleveland Dodge, who did so much to
help the Armenians, exemplify America's legacy of moral leadership.

The parliaments of many countries have affirmed the fact of the
Armenian Genocide in unequivocal terms, yet H. Res. 106, a
commemorative, non-binding resolution, has faced opposition from those
who fear it would undermine US relations with Turkey. It is worth
noting that, notwithstanding France's Armenian Genocide legislation,
France and Turkey are engaged in more bilateral trade than ever
before. We would not expect the US government to be intimidated by an
unreliable ally with a deeply disturbing human rights record,
graphically documented in the State Department's 2007 International
Religious Freedom Report on Turkey. We would expect the United States
to express its moral and intellectual views, not to compromise its own

The Armenian Genocide is not a controversial issue outside of Turkey.
Just as it would be unethical for Germany to interfere with the
historical memory of the Holocaust, we feel it is equally unethical
for Turkey to interfere with the memory of the Armenian Genocide. Elie
Wiesel has repeatedly called Turkey's denial a double killing, as it
strives to kill the memory of the event. We believe the US government
should not be party to efforts to kill the memory of a historical fact
as profound and important as the genocide of the Armenians, which
Hitler used as an example in his plan to exterminate the Jews.

We also believe that security and historical truth are not in
conflict, and it is in the interest of the United States to support
the principles of human rights that are at the core of American


Dr. Gregory H. Stanton
International Association of Genocide Scholars


Gregory Stanton
Genocide Watch

First Vice-President,
Steven Leonard Jacobs
University of Alabama

Second Vice-President
Alex Hinton
Rutgers University

Marc I. Sherman
Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, Israel

Jack Nusan Porter, Newton, MA


Joyce Apsel
New York University, USA

Peter Balakian, USA
Colgate University, USA

Ben Kiernan, USA
Yale University, USA

Daniel Feierstein
U. of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Charli Carpenter
University of Pittsburgh, USA

Henry Theriault
Wellesley College, USA

Immediate Past President:
Israel W. Charny
Institute on Holocaust & Genocide, Jerusalem, Israel

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