WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the Jewish Council for
Public Affairs’ (JCPA) annual Town Hall meeting last month, the JCPA adopted a
resolution acknowledging the 100th anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide, and called on Congress and the White House to recognize the Armenian
Genocide. This is the first time that a policy position on the Armenian
Genocide has been adopted by the JCPA.
“The Armenian Assembly of America thanks the JCPA for
adopting this important resolution and for advancing efforts for U.S. reaffirmation
of the Armenian Genocide,” stated Assembly Board Co-Chairman Anthony Barsamian.
“The Armenian American community is grateful to the JCPA for the adoption of
this historic resolution. The unity of millions of Jewish and Armenian
Americans in standing up for the truth is an important step along the path of
justice,” Barsamian said.
Among its findings, the JCPA resolution states, “We
must not let the politics of the moment, or the U.S. government’s relationship
with Turkey, sway our moral obligation to recognize the suffering of the
Armenian people.” The resolution also calls upon “the Congress and the
President to officially recognize what started in 1915 at the hands of the
Ottoman Turks, and resulted in the killing and deportation of approximately 1.5
million Armenians, as the Armenian Genocide.”
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), which
operates under the JCPA, presented and passed the resolution at the JCPA annual
Town Hall meeting. The national resolution was prompted by JCRC branches in
Boston, Palm Beach, and Providence, with support from Atlanta and other chapters.
The Atlanta JCRC adopted the draft resolution on the Armenian Genocide on
August 18, 2015 during their local town hall meeting, which featured a
presentation by Armenian Assembly State Chair for Georgia Dr. Vahan Kassabian.
“I am very pleased that the JCPA leadership and
chapters across the country stand in support of U.S. reaffirmation of the
Armenian Genocide,” stated Assembly Board Member Annie Totah. “This resolution
reinforces the cause of genocide prevention and amplifies the voice of those
who shout ‘Never Again,’” Totah said.
As the Assembly previously reported, the Jewish
American community has rallied in support of Armenian Genocide recognition
throughout the centennial year. However, the grassroots movement of Jewish
American support is founded in years of work by the Armenian Assembly Board and
State Chairs throughout the country. Many cite 2007 as the turning point in the
Jewish American community’s support of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian
Genocide when the JCRC of Greater Boston sparked the recognition process, which
resulted in a tidal wave of support behind Boston Anti-Defamation League (ADL) director
Andrew Tarsy who was fired for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.
“We are proud that the Jewish Council for Public
Affairs adopted this policy position on the Armenian Genocide, reflecting our
deep solidarity with the Armenian American community,” Jeremy Burton, Executive
Director of the JCRC of Greater Boston told the Assembly. “The ties between the
Jewish and Armenian peoples are today stronger than ever, and will continue to
strengthen,” Burton said.
In addition to its findings, the JCPA resolution on the
Armenian Genocide calls upon the wider Jewish community relations field to
consult and work with national Armenian organizations, major Jewish
organizations, and interfaith coalition partners to further the aim of U.S.
recognition of the Armenian Genocide. JCPA calls on the President to recognize
the Armenian Genocide, in addition to urging congressional representatives to
support resolutions in Congress that call for recognition.