Open University

Course Correction


Acknowledging the uproar caused by its actions, the Anti-Defamation League has changed course, issuing a statement that the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 "were indeed tantamount to genocide."

Now that ADL has seen the light on this issue, the next question concerns its unwillingness to endorse a resolution in Congress that acknowledges the Armenian genocide and calls for "sensitivity" in American foreign policy to the issues raised by it. Local Armenian Americans in Boston will not let up their pressure on the ADL until it supports the resolution, which it has not done. (It has no position either way, which is tantamount, one supposes, to opposition).

On this issue, the ADL's stance is the correct one. At best, such a resolution is pure symbolism, and the last we thing we need is more symbolic politics. More likely, passage of the resolution would infringe on free speech, as hate crime legislation often does, and encourage defensive nationalism in Turkey when we in the United States should be supporting democratic movements in that country, even if those movements are religious. (Turkey is one of the rare countries in the world where secularism, so strongly identified with militarism and authoritarianism, ought not to be our friend).

I hope Andrew Tarsy, the regional director of the ADL who was fired in the middle of all this, gets his job back.

--Alan Wolfe

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