Applauds Senators Menendez and Cruz Who Followed in the Tradition of Senate Giants Dole and Proxmire
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenia Assembly of America (Assembly) hailed adoption of S.Res. 150, the Armenian Genocide resolution in the U.S. Senate spearheaded by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
“The Armenian Assembly of America commends Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Ted Cruz who continued to press forward undaunted and undeterred in securing unanimous consent to adopt S.Res. 150 that squarely affirms the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide, promotes genocide education and combats denial,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny.
“Through their tenacity, they have taken a page from their esteemed former colleagues Senators Bob Dole and William Proxmire,” Ardouny added. “With this action, the Senate joins the House and its overwhelming vote upholding the proud American record of recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide. The Congress of the United States of America has spoken.”
“Adoption of this bill is especially fitting today given that this week marks the anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as well as Human Rights Day. To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, universal human rights starts close to home and unless they have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Today’s Senate action unequivocally gives meaning to U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and sends a strong message to the world that the U.S. stands on the side of human rights,” Ardouny continued.
After its unanimous approval by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, President Harry Truman submitted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to the Senate, calling for swift adoption. “We have established before the world our first and clear policy toward [the] crime” of genocide, Truman wrote.
The Genocide Treaty, however, stalled in the Senate for the next 20 years until Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) took it upon himself to fight for its passage. On January 11, 1967, Senator Proxmire announced “I serve notice today that…I intend to speak day after day” in the chamber until the Senate calls up the Genocide Treaty. After 19 years and more than 3,000 speeches later, Senator Proxmire’s persistence paid off. On February 19, 1986, the Senate near unanimously approved the Treaty, thanks to his devoted support.
The Armenian Assembly also recalls the efforts of former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) who was a tireless advocate for U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. In 1989, Armenian Assembly Co-Chair Van Krikorian and Armenian National Institute (ANI) Director Dr. Rouben Adalian joined Senator Dole in a long and tough battle in the Senate to pass S.J.Res.212, the Armenian Genocide resolution at the time. Krikorian and Dr. Adalian worked directly with Senator Dole in compiling U.S. archival and other materials to fend off the genocide denial machine that was in full effect.
Senator Dole did not relent, and presented to the Senate scores of historical documents attesting to the Armenian Genocide. There were two rounds of debate, the first lasting three days, from February 20 to February 22, and the second on February 27, but Senator Dole did not concede. With a filibuster blocking the vote, Senator Dole twice voted for a motion of cloture, which requires the approval of three-fifths of the Senate to override the filibuster. The resolution did not pass the Senate, and Senator Dole stated: “I still think ‘David’ won the debate – but it is pretty clear that ‘Goliath’ won the vote.”
“In addition to the Senators, we would like to thank the staff and everyone who has worked on this issue during this Congress and over the decades, including those not with us smiling from heaven in helping make today a reality,” Ardouny said.
Now that the record is set straight, the Armenian Assembly of America will redouble its commitment to genocide prevention and ethnic cleansing, not only for Armenians in threatened communities, but for all nationalities and religious groups subjected to gross abuses of human rights.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.