The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights joins in protesting Suffolk Law’s invitation to Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s National Director since 1987, to be its keynote speaker and receive an honorary law degree. The National Lawyers Guild’s Suffolk chapter initiated the protest, and over 1000 people have signed its Change.org petition protesting Foxman. Hundreds have written to Suffolk President James McCarthy and commencement invitee US Senator Edward Markey.
Q: Why are Foxman and the ADL not deserving of being honored by Suffolk Law School?
A: A major example: Foxman and his ADL have for many years worked with Turkey, a major human rights violator, to prevent formal US recognition of the genocide committed by Turkey against 1.5 million Christian Armenians from 1915–23. This is hypocritical and contrary to the ADL’s stated mission of upholding the human rights of all people. Foxman has also tried to sidestep international law and diminish the Armenian genocide in his disingenuous, legalistically worded statement of August 21, 2007.
Q: How did Foxman’s statement sidestep international law?
A: To be genocide, the 1948 “United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” requires “intent” by the perpetrator. Foxman wrote, in part: “… the consequences of those actions [by Turkey] were indeed tantamount to genocide.” The word “consequences” is, in effect, the very opposite of the “intent” required by the Genocide Convention. And note that “tantamount to genocide” is not the same as genocide. Foxman has never withdrawn that statement or apologized.
Q: What had brought about Foxman’s statement?
A: In the summer of 2007, major protests arose in Massachusetts and the nation over the ADL’s long-time cooperation with Turkey to defeat Congressional resolutions on the Armenian genocide & the ADL’s refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. It made international news: NoPlaceForDenial.com.
Q: Was Foxman’s August 21, 2007 statement rejected by human rights activists and others?
A: Yes. From 2007 to 2008, the human rights commissions and city councils of Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Peabody, Somerville, Watertown, and Westwood stopped sponsoring the ADL’s alleged anti-bias program “No Place for Hate.” The Massachusetts Municipal Association, representing all cities and towns, also dropped “No Place for Hate.” They realized that the ADL – one of whose major concerns is the Holocaust – was acting immorally and hypocritically. They knew that Foxman’s August 21 statement skirted international law. Human rights advocates and media excoriated Foxman and the ADL.
Q: Has Foxman ever punished anyone in the ADL for acknowledging the Armenian genocide?
A: Yes. When local New England ADL Director Andrew Tarsy suddenly acknowledged the Armenian genocide in 2007, Foxman immediately fired him. Jewish Americans condemned the firing. Foxman was forced to rehire Tarsy under terms never made public. Soon after, however, Tarsy resigned. He was later replaced by Derek Shulman, a political director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which had similarly helped Turkey to cover up the Armenian genocide.
Q: Was the Armenian Genocide truly a genocide?
A: Yes. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer, coined the word “genocide” in 1944 and authored much of the 1948 Genocide Convention. In a 1949 CBS-TV interview (see YouTube), Lemkin said he became interested in genocide because “it happened to the Armenians.” A 1951 World Court (ICJ) filing by the US cited the Armenian “genocide.” Nearly 20 countries, including Canada, France, Sweden, and Argentina, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the European Union Parliament, the Parliament of the Council of Europe, a U.N. subcommittee, Massachusetts, and many others recognize the Armenian “genocide.” An Armenian genocide resolution is pending in the Senate. Senator Edward Markey, speaking today, is co-sponsoring it. Foxman and his ADL oppose the resolution.
Q: Why are Foxman and his ADL so against recognition of the Armenian genocide?
A: Jewish and Israeli analysts and media confirm that an agreement was initiated long ago among Turkey, Israel, and the ADL (and other organizations such as AIPAC, AJC, and JINSA). Turkey wanted Jewish American groups to lobby for Turkish interests. Though Turkish – Israeli relations have become strained, the agreement remains in force. See documentation in “A History of Lobbying against Genocide Recognition” at NoPlaceforDenial.com.
Q: Who has favored the US Congressional resolution on the Armenian genocide?
A: Scores of organizations of diverse orientations including American Values, National Council of Churches, NAACP, National Organization of Women, Sons of Italy, American Jewish World Service, and Jewish War Veterans of the USA. 126 Holocaust scholars signed a petition appearing in the New York Times (June 9, 2000) urging acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide.
Q: In view of all this, why would Suffolk University still honor Foxman and the ADL?
A: It’s inexplicable. President McCarthy claims that Foxman is being honored for his “body of work.” Such as the ADL’s sidestepping the Genocide Convention? Or the ADL’s efforts to stop recognition of the Armenian genocide while demanding commemoration and legislation on the Holocaust? Would a true human rights organization conspire with a human rights violator such as Turkey to cover up the murder of 1.5 million human beings? In 1993, authorities in San Francisco raided ADL headquarters. They discovered “evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people” (L.A. Times, April 9, 1993). The ADL paid an out-of-court settlement. In 2007, the police chief of Arlington, MA said his department could get information from the ADL that it could not legally acquire on its own. So is the ADL an organization that truly upholds civil & human rights and follows the law?
The Suffolk leadership’s divisive actions have not honored its graduates, their families, and the law.
The Ad Hoc Greater Boston Committee for Human Rights wishes graduates long and successful careers.