Posted by: sean | August 23, 2007

Prominent genocide deniers

It’s already unfortunate that the ADL had to be shamed into calling the Armenian Genocide by its proper name (and this only in a qualified and circuitous fashion). And I also find it disconcerting that what is ostensibly an American anti-racism organization should cite Turkey’s status as a “staunch friend of Israel” as a reason why not to recognize the Armenian genocide. (The open letter that states this has since been removed from the ADL website and replaced with the new open letter that uses the word genocide. It can, however, be found in Google’s cache.):

We believe that legislative efforts outside of Turkey are counterproductive to the goal of having Turkey itself come to grips with its past. We take no position on what action Congress should take on House Resolution 106. The Jewish community in Turkey has clearly expressed to us and other major American Jewish organizations its concerns about the impact of Congressional action on them, and we cannot ignore those concerns. We are also keenly aware that Turkey is a key strategic ally and friend of the United States and a staunch friend of Israel, and that in the struggle between Islamic extremists and moderate Islam, Turkey is the most critical country in the world.

But I’m somehow even more disappointed that people billed as serious historians of the Middle East like Michael Rubin, using rhetoric that is strikingly similar to Ankara’s, have taken to reducing the historical reality of the Armenian genocide to “the narrative of Diaspora communities,” giving the impression that the latter is at odds with the accounts of respected historians.

The Anti-Defamation League has decided to label the events surrounding the deaths of Armenians during World War I as ‘genocide.’

There can be absolutely no argument that a million or more Armenians died during World War I.  But, on issue of whether genocide—a deliberate plan to eradicate a people—occurred or not, there is a big gap between the narrative of Diaspora communities and that of prominent historians.  The historical debate is more complex. 

It is a shame that Abraham Foxman has made such a decision on political rather than historical grounds.

It’s then particularly ironic that Rubin laments that Foxman has made this decision on “political rather than historical grounds,” when the stated reasons that Foxman originally gave for opposing the label were explicitly political in the first place.

Why is there no backlash from genocide scholars against people like Rubin? He has a prominent perch at the American Enterprise Institute and as editor of the Middle East Quarterly, which is published by Pipes’s Middle East Forum. He should be publicly outed as a negationist, in the way that he would likely do to anyone who denied the Jewish genocide.



  1. Scholars like Rubin effectively deny the Jewish holocaust itself. Let’s get that straight.


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