Editorial Statement on recognition in Israel of the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION OF VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE AND OF ITS PREVENTION

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December 9 is a day proclaimed by the United Nations as a memorial to all the victims of genocide of all peoples: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF COMMEMORATION OF VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE AND OF ITS PREVENTION.

December 9 is the day that in 1945 the United Nations passed the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

It is interesting to note that the proposal for this memorial day was introduced by Armenia. The Armenian people were the greatest victim of genocide in the 20th century before our Holocaust, and to many researchers, the Armenian Genocide paved the way for the Holocaust. It should also be noted that Armenia passed this decision after it managed to enact such a memorial day for all the victims of genocide in the world on the Armenian calendar.

To the best of our knowledge, until now, in the first years since the proclamation of the UN international day of commemoration of all victims in 2015, the State of Israel has not participated in any meaningful way.

It seems to us that it is appropriate to participate actively in this memorial, beginning with the Jewish tradition that places so much emphasis on the value of life of every created being, and as a further expression of our ‘special role’ as a chosen people for suffering, and of course based on our understanding of the grim lessons of our own Holocaust.

We, Jews and citizens of the State of Israel, wholeheartedly applaud Armenia for the initiative.

We extend through the media in Israel a declaration congratulating Armenia on its initiative to enact an International Day of Remembrance for all the victims of genocide worldwide.

At the same time, we note that we call upon the State of Israel to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide that claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians and a similar number of Assyrians, Yazidis, Greeks, and others.

Needless to add, beyond any practical political considerations, we are deeply ashamed of a Holocaust-stricken people for not recognizing the factual nature of the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, the attempt to legislate recently in the Knesset to recognition of the recent genocide of the Yazidi people (and there are reports that it continues to this day) was rejected as if it were out of lack of interest and not from any consideration of realpolitik.

When all is said and done, we Israelis-Jews are earning for ourselves an identity as leading deniers of genocides.

Prof. Israel Charny and Prof. Yair Auron
Chairs of the Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Genocide, Jerusalem

It should be noted that we were both awarded the Armenia Prize and the Gold Medallion from the President of Armenia for our contributions to international recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Nili members will remember that during the Armenian Genocide period they warned the Yishuv that of course it was under Turkish control, that there is still a similar fate for the Jews, and indeed there were two periods of divorce of Jews by the Turks in Palestine and the deaths of several thousand people.

Sara Aharonson of Nili was a direct witness to the murder of the Armenians in Turkey, and among other things she described trains loaded with people and bodies that had been discarded and replaced by other Armenians …

Prof. Yehuda Bauer, a leading Holocaust historian, appearing in the Knesset Committee in December 2011, said:”I would suggest that the Education Committee approach the Ministry of Education and ask for a very warm recommendation to teach the Armenian genocide in all schools, in all communities and in all sectors, and to recommend to the academy to do the same thing.” I also propose that on April 24, To pass a resolution in the Knesset to recognize the Armenian genocide.”