White House Responds to ADL Plea

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The ADL District Committee of Eastern US and Canada had appealed to President Barack Obama to finally make good on his pre election pledge and use the word “genocide” in a letter dated September 7, 2009.

Earlier this month, a reply arrived, signed by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon. The letter does not directly address the points raised.

At right is the letter from Gordon, while below is the initial letter sent by the ADL to President Barack Obama:

Dear Mr. President,

Your election as the leader of the world’s most powerful nation on earth restored America’s credibility among nations and placed the country on the path of its Founding Fathers.

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We believe that your vision will be able to bring peace to the world and prosperity at home, because you policies match America’s moral authority to its military strength.

It was that vision which took all Americans by storm and gave a landslide mandate to your administration.

The one-million-strong American-Armenian community was also mobilized to join the movement, mostly inspired by your unswerving stand on issues that concern us. Your continued actions as a senator, and later your pledge as a presidential candidate did not leave any doubt that this time around, moral fortitude would prevail over political expediency.

Most reassuring was specially your statement made on April 12, 2007, which said in particular: “Fore those who aren’t aware, there was genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish government and others that this occurred.”

In April 2009, your statement about the Martyr’s Day Commemoration, unfortunately fell short of your earlier pledges, allowing the Turkish government to pretend a breakthrough in Armenian-Turkish relations and then retract. However, we do believe that your other profile and private relevant statements in Ankara and your administration’s relentless political actions have brought about a change in the Turkish government’s longstanding intransigence. We believe that those changes must not stand in your way to fulfill your pledge and moreover deny Turkish policymakers a way to find subterfuge in America’s hesitation.

For many years, the premise that using the word “Genocide” may harm American-Turkish relations has proven wrong. Every time Turkey makes headway in that direction, America’s moral paradigm is compromised. Hiding festering wounds will not help healing.
Thanks to your leadership, the recent protocols were made publicly by the respective foreign ministries of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland. Those advances must not pre-empt America’s moral standing, nor the credibility of its foreign policy.

We urge you at this critical time for the entire Caucasus region to confront Turkish leaders with the historic truth. That will help, in the first place, to heal the deep wounds in the history of the Turkish people, thereby laying the foundations of a true democracy, allowing that country to join the family of civilized nations.

We believe that will also be consonant with your conscience and with America’s global leadership and will help Armenia regain its place in the world.

Sincerely,
Edmond Azadian, co-chairman
Papken Megerian, co-chairman