Thursday, March 15, 2007

Calling a Crime a Crime

Given the fact that European Jewry was nearly decimated in the last century, and noting that anti-Semitism has been on the rise for some years now, it is nothing short of scandalous that our government has, at the request of the prime minister, opted not to discuss the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians from 1915 to 1917. I am usually one of those individuals who argues mightily against those who believe that the Jewish people should be held to higher moral standards than others, but in this case, we should indeed be ashamed of the stance taken by our government. Who are we – living in a state created from the ashes of our own Holocaust – to deny the Holocaust of another nation? And indeed, it was nothing short of a Holocaust, as anywhere from hundreds of thousands – perhaps even one-and-a-half million – Armenians perished.

What is it about Turkey that makes all other nations feel the need to bend over backwards and turn a blind eye, whether it involves the Armenian genocide, Cyprus, or even the law according to which an individual can be convicted of the vague crime of "insulting Turkishness"? It occurs to me as I write this, that if I were writing as a Turk, I could be convicted of such a crime, which is simply mind-boggling. It seems to me that if the Turks were truly as keen as they say they are with regard to joining the European Union, that they would be prepared to come to terms with certain aspects of their past, instead of refusing to acknowledge these events and insisting that other nations do the same. It is disappointing that they have managed to stifle criticism of their past and present actions, and nothing short of criminal that they expect their trading partners to do the same. How can Turkey successfully join and integrate into the EU without truly coming to terms with its history, without addressing and rectifying its mistakes?

It is shameful that the Israeli government prefers to avoid hurting the sensibilities of a government that seems to have no problem when it comes to criticizing ours, especially when dealing with the topic of the Armenian genocide. By doing so, we are conveniently ignoring historical lessons learned, and setting the stage for those who choose to conveniently ignore the Holocaust against the Jews. Our government, by its actions, is essentially lending a hand to Holocaust denial. The lengths that we will go to in order to obtain acceptance as a nation have grown very scary indeed.

9 comments:

Life Out East said...

I think many countries have this convenient amnesia when it comes to the more dubious aspects of their history. And if another nation is trying to get their feet under the table, so to speak, then they will toe the line in order to do so. Look at China. Who is brave enough to rock the boat there? Frightening.
The other day I wrote something here in Thailand that referred to one of the many atrocities involving a military dictator gunning down innocent students protesting for democracy in 1973. This was very sadly edited out and I was informed Thailand does not have atrocities, it has history (and all of it good).
Agree with you, surprised Israel is taking such a stance, especially given the nature of the subject involved.

My Marrakech said...

I agree! Sticking by principles and shunning double standards.

nominally challenged said...

Hey Liza,

Couldn't find any reference in today's news to Olmert deciding not to discuss the Armenian Genocide. Can you point me to the article please?

Thanks

NC

tafka PP said...

Amen. Especially to your last line!

Liza said...

Hi NC,

It wasn't actually an article - it was one of those one-line news flashes on Haaretz.com. If I remember correctly, the time stamp was early yesterday morning.

Udge said...

Agreed on all points. But, you know, it's a huge market and we need to sell stuff so that the rich can keep on getting richer...

rami said...

I honestly think that one of the barriers to any real peace deal is the fact that Israelis and Arabs are both living in the past.

They keep arguing about things that happened in the past, the recognization of things that already exist, and both sides fail to see how they are doing exactly what they are arguing against.

I dont think anti-semitism is on the rise, it is just more reported on, thanks to the growth of media, and in most cases, it is reported on by those who are against it (no one else is really concerned), they end up giving it more exposure.

Liza said...

Hi Rami,

I agree with you regarding the barrier to peace, but I think you're wrong with regard to anti-Semitism. To name a few, there was the shooting at a synagogue in Oslo a few months ago (no one was injured), as well as an act of vandalism at the same synagogue prior to that. Many Jews in France no longer feel safe and are leaving, with large numbers going to Israel, the US (I read an article last week about the growing numbers of French Jews in South Florida), and other countries. The number of attacks in Britain has gone up considerably, including the act where a girl was attacked on a public bus by a group of teenagers because she was Jewish, and nobody did anything to help her.

It is being mentioned more frequently in the media precisely because the numbers have gone up so much. That is one of the more alarming aspects.

Read the following articles for more info:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/759721.html
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/807104.html
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=13401
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3586543.stm
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/03/14/the_cancer_of_anti_semitism_in_europe/

RR said...

Agreed- 100%.