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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shameful chapter

It all depends on the meaning of the word genocide, I guess.

The shameful action of the Anti-Defamation League to somehow try to defend gradations of mass murder is a dishonor to the organization's long history as a defender of those who no one else will stand up for.

A program entitled No Place for Hate is no place for geopolitical nitpicking about whether today's Turkey is an important enough friend of Israel to sit silently by as the world tries to face up to the destruction of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago.

The ADL charter states in unequivocal terms:
"The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens."
Abraham Foxman's parsing of the meaning of genocide is the ultimate denigration of that charter. It is he, not regional director Andrew Tarsy who should be leaving the organization. His stance on the Armenian genocide is every bit as indefensible at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of Hitler's genocide.

There cannot and should not be an overlap between the worthwhile goal of teaching children tolerance and taking lobbying stances for other nations. That is especially true when leaders of the nation at the center of this storm are conflicted by its own current political posture.

There's a certain irony that this is transpiring as the name of one of Tarsy's predecessors hits the news again in a different context.

The span over the Charles River was named after Leonard Zakim to honor his unyielding belief in social justice, trying to right wrongs and ensure they do not re-occur.

There's little question in my mind what Lenny would have done in this situation: told Foxman it's time to go.

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