Human Rights Coalition Online Campaign for Genocide Recognition Reaches 10,000 Signatures

BOSTON, Mass.—A petition campaign created by a broad coalition of Boston-area Jewish and Armenian groups and community members has surpassed its original goal of 10,000 signatures and continues to gain support. The online petition hosted by urges U.S. officials to stand up to Turkey’s multi-million dollar campaign of genocide denial, specifically calling on Congress and President Obama to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

While the organizers are based in Boston, the petition has spread throughout the country reaching every state and hundreds of cities. “When you look at the diversity of those who signed the petition, it is clear that there is a strong demand by Americans throughout the country that the United States recognize the Armenian Genocide.  It demonstrates that this is not simply an Armenian issue, but a powerful call to align America’s foreign policy with human rights and historical truth,” said ANC member and coalition co-chair Laura Boghosian.

The petition’s letter to members of Congress and President Obama states, “As we confront the specter of genocide and its denial in the 21st century, our government has a duty to ensure that the lessons of the past are not forgotten. The time is long overdue for the United States to stand up to Turkish pressure and join the 43 individual U.S. states and numerous countries and international bodies that have affirmed the Armenian Genocide.”

The 10,000-signature mark comes just weeks after President Obama refused to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. “Even though President Obama failed to honor his pledge this past April 24th, we will continue to fight for truth and justice. Through generating a groundswell of public support that we know exists, we will lead our elected officials to do the right thing and recognize the Armenian Genocide,” said Ara Nazarian, co-chair of the Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts.

The coalition is an outgrowth of a dialogue between members of the Boston-area Jewish and Armenian communities that was initiated by Rabbi Howard L. Jaffe of Temple Isaiah, Lexington, Massachusetts, in reaction to the Anti-Defamation League’s lobbying for the Turkish government against affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Rabbi Jaffe first advocated recognition of the Armenian Genocide in October 2007, when he told the New York Times that he must do what is “right and righteous.” In 2008, he co-authored an article with Boghosian that condemned the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) lobbying and called upon the Jewish community to join in efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide. He also invited the local Armenian community to participate in a joint Holocaust-Genocide commemoration at the temple, inviting Dr. Richard Hovannisian to speak on the parallels between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.

Joining Rabbi Jaffe and Ms. Boghosian on the steering committee of the dialogue group were Rabbis Ronne Friedman and Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel in Boston, ANC member Dikran Kaligian, and Temple Isaiah members Howard Cohen and Alan Millner.  Others active in the work of the coalition are Herman Purutyan of the Armenian Assembly, women’s health advocate Judy Norsigian, and Eric Cohen, chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur.

Individuals and activists representing an impressive collection of Boston-area anti-genocide and community organizations participated in dialogue meetings over the past year, and groups elsewhere have endorsed the work of the coalition.

The effort was supported by the Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts (ANC-MA), the Armenian American Action Committee of Massachusetts (ARAMAC-MA), and Investors Against Genocide, a broad-based coalition formed as a result of the grassroots “No Place for Denial” campaign spotlighting the ADL’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. Although the ADL has stated that the death of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government was “tantamount to genocide,” it continues to speak out against U.S. affirmation of that crime against humanity. Complete details of the campaign can be viewed at

To learn more about the initiative, the complete list of co-sponsors, and the Armenian Genocide, visit:

5 Comments on Human Rights Coalition Online Campaign for Genocide Recognition Reaches 10,000 Signatures

  1. avatar sona aslanian hargrove // May 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm // Reply

    thx for doing what you do.   How  have you reached out to Armenian organizations community and faith based,   in addition to one to  one approaches.    I had not heard anything  about this.  How broad is your outreach base?    thx   sona

  2. avatar Artashes Bashmakian // May 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm // Reply

    While I contact my representatives and urge them to vote for the Armenian Genocide resolution or thank them for voting for it (in this case in the committee…), I cringe when I see a phrase like “recognize the Armenian Genocide”.  The US has recognized the Genocide.  The mere fact that a President does not use the word genocide does NOT mean, the US has not recognized the events as such.  How many times does President Obama need to say “my position on this matter is very clear and the record clear…I have NOT changed my position.  The US. has not recognized that the earth is round (that it’s not flat on top of a giant turtle).  We don’t need an “official” proclamation stating such a fact.  At the end of the day it’s all about the relationship between Turkey and Armenia and any reasonable degree of restitution.  We need to get out of the comfort zone of focusing on the word and not the implications of the Genocide.

  3. avatar garbis S. Bezdjian // May 25, 2010 at 2:24 am // Reply

    Yes President Obama failed to honer his pledge,
    But the President Obama did say that.My Positition
    on this mater is very clear and the record clear.
    We should bee happy, he even said that.

  4. Artashes,
    The issue is fundamentally different.
    First, official recognition of an event by a state is a prerogative of a parliament of that state. The U.S. Congress (or at least one of its chambers) has not adopted any resolution that unequivocally recognizes the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Turkey. Therefore it’s misleading to state that ‘the US has recognized the Genocide.’
    Second, uttering the ‘G’ word in the Annual Address to the Armenian People has no legal ramifications and is not legal recognition per se. It’d bear only moral and psychological implication and would be a confirmation of what Senator Obama has pledged to do before becoming the president. He said: “As president, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.” Note, he mentioned the word ‘Genocide’ that he will recognize, not the ‘Mets Yeghern.’ Armenians are, therefore, puzzled as to why our president, whose ‘position on this matter is very clear and the record is clear,’ and who pledged himself to recognize the Genocide when he’s in the office, avoids doing so? Is this a behavior of a leader of the nation to you?
    I personally don’t care whether or not he’d utter the word because, like I said, it is a resolution (binding or non-binding, doesn’t matter) of a legislative body that enacts something into law, not the words of a president. But Armenians haven’t seen this either. It means that the issue of the Armenian Genocide is not considered by the U.S. government, a self-proclaimed ‘champion’ of human rights and democracy all over the world, as a moral obligation to condemn crimes against humanity, but as a foreign policy tool to pressure Turkey and advance U.S. geostrategic and economic interests in the broader region on Armenia’s account.
    It is this indecent duplicity that Armenians stand against and as long as it’s there we’ll be pressuring the government to the point when a resolution condemning the crime is adopted.
    But if you have any other solution or a way to proceed, do share with us.

  5. Arshak..APRES.. Excellent reply.. I agree with you 110%….

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