Armenian Genocide Bill Again on Israel Parliament Agenda

The Israeli Knesset in session

JERUSALEM (Combined Sources)–Israel’s parliament agreed on April 29 to again consider a draft resolution recognizing the World War I era mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide.

The Knesset decided by 12 votes to 8, with one abstention, that one of its standing committees will discuss the resolution and determine whether it should be put to a full parliament vote.

Speaker Reuven Rivlin was among those who voted for the decision. Significantly, a representative of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also backed a parliament debate on the bill drafted by Haim Oron, the leader of the left-wing opposition Meretz Party.

Oron wants the committee to approve the draft resolution, arguing that similar bills have been passed by committees in the French Parliament and U.S. Congress. “It is appropriate that the Israeli Knesset, which represents the Jewish people, recognize the Armenian Genocide,” said Oron. “It is unacceptable that the Jewish people is not making itself heard.”

Most of the lawmakers voting against its inclusion on the parliament agenda were from the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, a junior partner in Netanyahu’s coalition government that mainly represents Jewish immigrants from Soviet republics, and Azerbaijan in particular. One of them, the Baku-born Yosef Shagal, said Israel should not pass judgment on what he described as a Turkish-Armenian dispute.

It is not yet clear which Knesset committee will pick up the measure. Oron wants it to be debated by the Education Committee, having failed to push similar bills through the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in 2009 and 2008. But both Rivlin and Netanyahu’s representative said that the latter panel should again deal with the matter.

The Defense Committee did not even vote on the Armenian Genocide resolutions in the past, despite clearance from the Knesset. It thus highlighted successive Israeli governments’ reluctance to antagonize Turkey, a rare Muslim partner of the Jewish state.

The Netanyahu government did not back a parliament debate on Armenian Genocide recognition on the previous occasion, in May 2009. Commentators might link the apparent shift in its position on the highly sensitive issue to the worsening of Turkish-Israeli relations in recent months.


  1. Israel’s acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide is highly unlikely not only for archetypal, political, and national security reasons, but also for religious reasons in that the current Turkish leadership, especially the military leadership, who essentially run the country, is strongly intertwined with Israel. Top military commanders, as well as some high-level government officials are believed to be the descendants of Sabbatai Zevi, a rabbi and kabbalist who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, the founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement.

    In 1666,Zevi and some of his followers converted to Islam and became known as the Dönmeh (Turkish for ‘convert’). By the 1680s, the Dönmeh had congregated in Salonika, the cosmopolitan and majority-Jewish city in Ottoman Greece. For the next 250 years, they would lead an independent communal life handing down their secret traditions. By the 19th century, the Dönmeh established progressive schools and some members became politically active, others joining masonic lodges. Some of them joined the Committee on Union and Progress (CUP), the rebellious party known as the ‘Young Turks,’ who later perpetrated the heinous crime against the Christian Armenians.
    With independence, in the 1910s, Greece expelled the Muslims from its territory, including the Dönmeh. The most prominent of the Dönmeh was the founder of the modern Turkish state Mustafa Kemal (‘Ataturk’).
    Various groups called Dönmeh continue to follow Sabbatai Zevi today in Turkey. Some sources claim there are several hundred thousands of them in the country. Although outwardly Muslims, the Dönmeh secretly continue to observe Jewish rituals (such as circumcision, but at the age of three rather than eight days), pray in Hebrew, and have clandestine festivals and fast days that are Jewish survivals.

  2. Jews from Azerbaijan from and more conspiracy theory blames the Jews:
    “The top religious organization in Azerbaijan claims that Azerbaijan’s Jewish population, which makes up less than .1% of Azerbaijan’s 9,000,000 citizens, intends to overthrow the government and gain control of the country.

    Recently, the representative of the well-respected Caucasian Muslim Board, Haji Akif, accused Azerbaijani Jews of separatism in the city of Gobi. He went on to claim that the Jewish minority of a few thousand was planning to overthrow the local government and subjugate the entire area to Israel.
    Jews have maintained a presence in Azerbaijan since as early as 7th century CE. The Azerbaijani Jewish community has been a diverse mix of Jewish cultural subgroups, including Mountain, Georgian, Ashkenazi, Kurdish, Bukharian and Krymchak Jews.
    By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Azerbaijani capital Baku was a flourishing center of Jewish life. Although repressed when Azerbaijan became a part of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani Jews managed to maintain their cultural identity throughout the rein of the USSR. In 1970s, the Jewish community of Azerbaijan totaled over 40,000 individuals. Due to immigration, the number has fallen to under 10,000.

    Following Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991, the Jews regained the cultural freedom that they lacked during Soviet rule. Unfortunately, along with this came numerous attacks against the Jewish community.
    Attacks by militias, the smearing of synagogue walls with feces and desecration of Jewish gravestones have taken place on numerous occasions. In addition, ethnic violence against Armenians living in Azerbaijan often spilled over to attacks against the Jews in the early 1990s.
    The Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, which is banned from being represented in the Azerbaijani government, often writes anti-Semitic articles in local newspapers and propagates anti-Semitic rhetoric on radio channels. The organization has a long history of charging the Jews with trying to take over Azerbaijan.” From

  3. One of them, the Baku-born Yosef Shagal, said Israel should not pass judgment on what he described as a Turkish-Armenian dispute.

  4. Well, sorry but I think this comment about “donmeh” is in the realm of “secret conspiracies” and all that and I for one will dismiss it completely.  Nobody else is responsible for what Turkey has done with Turkish identity in the role of genocide and cleansing of all Christian minorities.  I understand the role of Israel in terms of politics, etc in modern day and alliance with Turkey.  Also those in the Knesset who may be from Baku originally.
    But I say BRAVO to the Israeli deputies who wish to openly debate this and support its passing!  Bravo to the Israeli and worldwide Jewish scholars of genocide (including of course Rafael Lemkin) who acknowledge and openly push for Israel’s acknowledgment of the genocide, regardless of political alliances.
    Furthermore, it is ridiculous to think about the whole Jewish community in Thessaloniki and lump them in with “donmeh.”  Up until the Nazi occupation of Greece the Jewish community there remained a large center of Jewish life, not Islamic, so the vast majority did not fit into the “donmeh” profile.  I totally reject and condemn the “realpolitic” nonsense about Ottoman Turkey as some great ally, and especially modern day action by Jewish lobbying groups and Israel to act against recognition in any form.  I think that is as shameful as if we Armenians refused to recognize what the Nazis did.  Equally AMOT! (shame)  Bravo to Oron and Rivlin et al

  5. I don’t understand why the Armenians and Jews, who face similar problems in Azerbaijan, Turkey, etc., don’t get together and try to solve the problems together.  Problems like pogroms and desecration of houses of worship and cemeteries in Azerbaijan.   These are the problems today.  Instead of dealing with the issues and people involved in a constructive manner and dialogue, the usual  “_____” is posted under “Nicholas.”

    Israel has many political parties and Jews from many countries. 

  6. Given what I read above about Azerbaijian, and what I understand about anti-Semitic prejudice in Turkey, it is beyond my understanding why Israel makes alliances with these people and pretends Jewish communities are so free in these countries.

  7. It is no secret that the military and some ruling segments of Turkey are Zionists. That is why both Israel and the US support & protect Turkey in spite of the fact that Turkey is a genocide perpetrator.  Ask your selves this question, with the Turkish public being the most anti Semitic and anti American country on this planet, why would the US and especially Israel support Turkey? Since when does Israel support any country that is anti-Israel? The support is to protect the Turkish Zionist ruling elite that have entrenched themselves within the last few hundred years. They are protecting their own so to speak. There is an on going struggle in Turkey today between the Islamist government & the Zionist run “deep state” and every time the Islamist gain too much power the military feels threatened and implements a coup replacing the government. Make no mistake, it was the Turks with the help of the Kurds, that planned and executed the Armenian Genocide however the Zionists, including the ones running the German government during WW1, gave it their blessing for their own reasons:  Envy, control, competition and mostly theft. That is why Israel and the US, as long as pro-Zionists control our foreign policy and the state department, will never recognize the Armenian Genocide.

  8. john, if that is true then why is Erdogan making all these public statements such as about genocide in Gaza?
    I don’t believe it.  I think people say these things to throw off responsibility where it belongs.  I need better proof than conspiracy theories like this.

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