Menendez, Kirk Introduce Senate Armenian Genocide Resolution

Bipartisan Drive for S.Res.399 Aims to End Turkey’s Gag Rule
WASHINGTON–Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced legislation S.Res.399 on March 20, calling upon the U.S. government to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide and to use the lessons of this atrocity to prevent future crimes against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Sen. Robert Menendez

“It is time for the United States to join the 19 nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, and the European Union that have formally recognized the actions carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915-23 as genocide,” Sen. Menendez said. “The Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and was one of the incidents upon which the Genocide Convention was predicated. Only by accurately acknowledging the crimes of the past can we ever hope to move forward in a legitimate manner and prevent such human rights crimes from happening in the future.”
“The Armenian Genocide is well-documented and formally recognized by 11 NATO allies and the European Union.  This resolution accurately characterizes the events of 1915-23 as a genocide, honors the memory of the victims, and strengthens America’s moral leadership on human rights and the prevention of mass atrocities around the world,” said a spokesman for Sen. Kirk.
Joining Menendez and Kirk as original co-sponsors of the bi-partisan measure were Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Human Rights and chairman of the Senate Environment Committee and Public Works Committee, Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the vice-chairman of the Democratic Conference, also joined S.Res.399 as a co-sponsor.
“We join with Armenians from New Jersey, Illinois, and around the country in thanking Senators Menendez and Kirk for their many years of leadership in pressing for an end to Turkey’s gag-rule on American condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the ANCA.  “Turkey has no right to hold America hostage to its willful refusal as a state to accept a truthful, just, and comprehensive resolution of this crime against all humanity.”
Parallel to this effort, Reps. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have offered a nearly identical measure, H.Res.304, in the U.S. House.  Senators Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Mark Kirk have introduced S.Res.392, the Senate version of a religious freedom measure that was adopted last December, in the U.S. House calling upon Turkey to return stolen Christian church properties to their rightful owners.
Turkey continues to prosecute writers for simply speaking about the Armenian Genocide, and threatens retaliation against countries around the world, including the United States and Armenia, that dare to honor the victims of this crime.
Armenian Americans and anti-genocide activists are urged to contact their Senators to co-sponsor and work for the adoption of this legislation.

13 Comments on Menendez, Kirk Introduce Senate Armenian Genocide Resolution

  1. avatar Armen Grigorian // March 20, 2012 at 10:53 am // Reply

    Thank you Senators Roberd Menendez and Mark Kirk for introducing legislation S.Res. 339

  2. Frankly, I do not trust Senator Scott Brown. Although he knows full well about the Genocide from his relationship in the past to many, many Armenians in MA, I saw a letter of his a year or so ago to constituents in which he specifically did NOT use the G word.

    Frankly, I have no trust in any of these people. When they come out and really critique Obama and their fellow Republicans, maybe I will start to have some faith in their efforts but until then, it has become a big PR game that will end in failure. I hate to say that, but I think it is true.

    • Dave,
      Maybe the Massachusetts Armenian community needs to get clarification from Senator Brown “IN WRITING” where he truly stands or let it be a lesson to all politicians with sizable Armenian constituents that genocide word games will never be tolerated.. besides his democratic challenger is an awesome lady..

    • Obama’s democrats are pandering for election votes. Never again trust Obama, Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi – with Erdogan’s campaign donations in their pockets – they can’t walk, talk or stand straight. Obama is the biggest disgrace this country has ever exhibited – never trust a word he says – he has not a shred of honesty or honor.

  3. It’s clearly the right thing to do. No one can ever be ashamed to tell the truth. IF the Turkish government (suicidally) cuts off US ties WHEN President Obama says the word “genocide,” all Americans WILL hold their heads high for continuing to stand for truth and justice! (BTW, Turkey will NEVER cut off ties with the US. Everyone knows this – especially them!) All this will happen by 2015.

  4. Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), along with others introduced S.Res.392, the Senate version of a religious freedom measure that was adopted last December…

    While it is appreciated, this is not the same as S. Res. 399. It is most disappointing the both Massachusetts Senator’s names are not on the Genocide Resolution. We Armenians need to be more active and to let all our Massachusetts Congressmen and Senators know what we expect of them, otherwise we’re weaker than we recognize.

  5. ANCA needs to stop being so idealistic and framing this as “human rights legislation.” Nobody in Congress about this issue or human rights. Here is what will make them care:

    -Frame it as a measure that condemns Jihad, which is what the genocide was. Anything anti-Muslim will persuade the Republican-controlled House.

    -Frame it as a reaffirmation of America’s commitment to the State of Israel. Ask, “If one day Iran offered to halt its nuclear program only on the condition that America keeps quiet about the Holocaust, would America give in? What does denying genocide say about our commitment to the existence of the State of Israel? The State of Israel was founded on the world’s recognition of its commitment to condemn and prevent genocide. If America takes the slightest step towards abdicating that commitment, it is implying that its support for the State of Israel is negotiable.”

    The Prime Minister of Israel received more standing ovations before Congress last May than President Obama ever has. Netanyahu is more popular in Congress than Obama. Therefore, anything with the word “Israel” attached to it will definitely receive votes.

    -Play up the Neo-Con rhetoric of America looking weak before its enemies. Ask, “If the US buckles before threats from its so-called ‘allies’ like Turkey, imagine how it will buckle before threats from our enemies. Our constant capitulation to threats by our allies emboldens our enemies to try out similar threats.”

    This is how you frame an issue to get is passed in a Republican-controlled Congress. Enough with this “calling out evil by its name” nonsense. That will not work. It has not worked, and it will not worked. Let’s try out a new, less naive strategy. You may complain that we are “diluting the issue,” but if the alternative is no recognition at all, I’ll prefer diluted recognition to no recognition.

    The ANCA framing of the “Return of Churches” bill as a Religious Freedom Measure was EXACTLY the right idea. I feel like my three steps outlined above apply this same idea to the genocide.

    Thank you.

    • So you want Congress to recognize the AG on purely anti-Muslim, pro- Israel, and America’s ego is at stake grounds? And the 107th and 108th Congress’ were completely Republican dominated- don’t put so much faith in them.

  6. avatar DAVID HATCHIGIAN // March 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm // Reply


  7. As I said, I’d prefer tainted recognition over no recognition. I’m tired of the community’s dollars getting wasted with no results just because ANCA wants to feel pure and continue to push this as “human rights legislation.”

    Zionists exploit the “Biblical Mandate” nonsense that American Evangelicals believe in, and as a result their state gets unconditional support by the US, $3 billion a year in aid, and is one of the most powerful countries in the world. Being disliked by a bunch of powerless Arab states and NGOs staffed by liberal-arts students with too much time on their hands is an easy price to pay for power.

    Turkey under Ataturk after WWI exploited the Red Scare and American desires for free trade and as a result it effectively got away with genocide.

    Politics is a dirty, contact sport. We are making up for historical injustice, so those ends justify whatever unscrupulous means we use. You want to continue to feel sanctimonious and pure about yourself as the great powers continue to let Armenia and the Kurds by swallowed up by Turks?

    In a selfish country like America where half of the population elects as their representatives people who think that the over-taxing of millionaires is the country’s biggest problem, you will not get anything done by appealing to morals. Congress is bought; Congress is biased. Therefore we have to figure out what appeals to these ghouls’ pseudo-ideals if we will convince them to do anything on our behalf.

  8. Alex,

    The Armenian genocide was not about jihad. How can you frame something as jihad if it wasn’t purely jihad? Jihad was designed by Wilhelm’s Germany against the Brits and other Europeans during the WWI. Turks, as Germany’s principal war ally, readily signed up for it. But to say that genocide was about jihad is a fallacy that I don’t think we can sell. Many factors motivated the Young Turks to deliberately exterminate Armenians as an ethnic group, but the religious factor has never loomed large amongst them. Salvaging lands for themselves free of Armenians and the widespread theft of our ancestors’ properties were, I think, the major ones.

  9. Paul, I take your point. But you seem to have a lot of faith in the historical knowledge of members of Congress. Some of them do, after all, buy the argument that it was “civil war” etc. etc.

    Please answer me one thing: if you thought that a jihad angle would be believed by members of Congress, would you agree to frame in that way?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.