I read Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s May 1 column, “Dress rehearsal for the Holocaust?” under the logo Truth Regardless of Consequences, with great amazement.
The column criticized President Barack Obama and, in particular, Ambassador Samantha Powers for not labeling the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks as genocide. Rabbi Boteach rightfully criticized this indefensible decision, calling it the “final indignity,” and said that “the victims are now robbed of the chance to be remembered.”
You can imagine my shock when a colleague brought to my attention that Israel also will not recognize the Armenian massacre as genocide. I couldn’t believe it. My colleague showed me a news report from Haaretz, dated January 9, 2015, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.636058, in which Rafael Harpaz, Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, said that because it wants to improve relations with Turkey, Israel will not call the massacre genocide. Ambassador Harpaz was quoted as saying: “There are enough common interests and issues in the world for us to cooperate. I would like to take an example of Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines is the biggest foreign airline which is active in Israel. Istanbul is the biggest hub for Israelis. The same goes for tourism, trade which is up. We hope that our political relations with Turkey will improve.”
I hope that Rabbi Boteach will comment on the Israeli action, given that he advocates “truth regardless of consequence.” If the U.K. or some other country refused to acknowledge the Holocaust because of trade relations with Germany, we would call it anti-Semitic. What do we call Israel’s conduct? There is only one word. Shameful.