Steve Grossman, the Democratic candidate for state treasurer of Massachusetts, issued a statement to the ANC of Massachusetts presenting his position on a number of issues of concern to the Armenian American community of the state. In it, he notes his strong support for Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the outspoken role he has taken in criticizing the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for opposing the legislation. Grossman states that he would use his position as treasurer to promote trade between Armenia and Massachusetts and that he supported the construction of the Armenian Heritage Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The text of the full statement is below.
Statement of Steve Grossman
There is perhaps no better illustration of philosopher George Santayana’s famous dictum, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” than the Armenian Genocide.
Not only did the world fail learn from the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1915, far too much of the world has deliberately ignored or minimized the tragedy. We have seen far too many homicidal acts since then to let the deaths of the Armenians go unremembered or unrecognized.
As a Jewish-American I am, of course, mindful of the Holocaust. But let us not forget that genocidal acts have continued to this very day in places such as Darfur.
That is why I have always supported, and continue to support, action by the U.S. Congress to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, and have been honored to stand with colleagues in the Armenian community to push for this long-overdue action. Failure to act is a shameful blot on the human rights record of the United States.
I have said repeatedly that I will not be afraid to use the “bully pulpit” of the Treasurer’s office to promote causes not directly under my jurisdiction, and I will urge members of Congress to vote to recognize the genocide as I have done in the past.
I was also proud to have publicly joined the Armenian National Committee and other Armenian organizations in criticizing the Anti-Defamation League and its President Abraham Foxman for refusing to acknowledge the genocide as genocide.
As some of you may know, I was an ADL board member when my dear friend Lenny Zakim was its New England regional director, and it troubled me to see this organization quite literally on the wrong side of history. I spoke out publicly in the news media and also worked behind the scenes to help members of the New England region push back against the national position. I also supported Andy Tarsy, the regional director at the time of the controversy, when he challenged the national policy.
That this issue still has not been resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to the Armenian community is a matter of great regret to me. But I have not given up the struggle.
I also supported the Armenian memorial on the Greenway, and was delighted to see it go forward, thanks in part to the work of Rep. Peter Koutoujian, who has endorsed my candidacy.
On another issue of concern to the Armenian National Committee – trade with Armenia – I will use my influence as Treasurer to promote economic ties between Massachusetts and Armenia.
I am running for this office because we face a grave economic crisis and as the owner of a 100-year-old, family-run business in Somerville my entire career has been all about creating jobs. My campaign platform is to protect the public’s money, create jobs, and boost small businesses. And in our global innovation economy, trade is a key ingredient of economic growth and job creation.
Given the strong personal relationships between Armenia and Massachusetts the two should forge extensive trade partnerships.