Letter to Editor: Heritage Park Human Rights Lecture

Dear Editor,

 It is disappointing that the Najarian Human Rights Lecture Series, affiliated with the Armenian Heritage Park on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, has tapped Ambassador Edward Djerejian to be the main speaker for its 3rd annual lecture at Faneuil Hall on October 25.

Djerejian, whose parents were Genocide survivors, is a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Syria. He is now the Founding Director of the James A. Baker III Institute in Houston.

The Institute’s namesake is James Baker. He is a former Secretary of State and an Armenian genocide denier, as is Madeline Albright, an ex-officio member of the Institute.  Its Board of Advisors is filled with current and former executives of Chevron, Marathon Oil, Shell Oil, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and similar corporations, several of which also fund the Institute.  Not surprisingly, human rights are nearly invisible on the Institute’s agenda.

In a depressing political presentation to Armenian Americans in Texas in 2011, Djerejian uttered not one word of criticism of Turkey or Azerbaijan.  Nor did he mention Artsakh/Karabagh’s rights, human or otherwise. Instead, he took a neutral position on the issue, and approvingly quoted Azeri President Ilham Aliyev that “Azerbaijan has the upper hand.”  Regarding the Genocide, Djerejian noted only that “the Armenian Genocide can best be resolved within the context of improved state to state relations between Armenia and Turkey.”

A true human rights advocate would never give such a speech. A career U.S. State Department man would.

Astonishingly, Djerejian’s book “Danger and Opportunity” (2008) praised Kemal Ataturk as a “charismatic military leader who drove European occupiers out of Turkey.”  It also touted Turkey for its “potential outreach to the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia.”  This is a form of pan-Turkism, which led to WW 1, the Armenian genocide, and Turkey’s providing military and political support to Azerbaijan. Is Djerejian unaware of this, or does he not care?

In 1999, Djerejian and Peter Rosenblatt, a former U.S. ambassador and top member of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) visited Azerbaijan and Armenia, allegedly to serve as peacemakers on the Karabagh issue.  Both AJC and JINSA are genocide deniers that have worked with Turkey to defeat the Armenian genocide resolution.  AJC Executive Director David Harris, who has twice visited Aliyev, says “Azerbaijan is important for the Jewish people.”  Djerejian’s partnering, in effect, with AJC and JINSA strikes one as strange, to say the least.   Fortunately, the Djerejian-Rosenblatt expedition flopped.

I could go on, but I won’t.

Hopefully, the Najarian/Armenian Heritage Park lecture series will invite a true human rights advocate for its 2013 event.

David Boyajian
Belmont, Mass.

David Boyajian
David Boyajian is an Armenian American freelance journalist.


  1. people should boycott the lecture…
    it is fair to question who arranged for this person to be the speaker and the motives behind it…
    very interesting information otherwise…

  2. Thank you David for this article; it surely screams for awareness.
    I had no information on Djerejian, but the family name ringed some dirty bells…
    so I did some research and it doesn’t take a microscope to see that this man is a politician with million faces (none of which is Armenian), he has served in the soviet, Israel, etc… and I believe that along the route he has lost all concepts of Armenian congregation.

    I wanted to share a few paragraphs from his Texas speech (the whole speech could be found @ http://massispost.com/archives/5130

  3. “The government of Armenia should continue efforts that will benefit the country in the long-term: Namely, serious efforts within the OSCE Minsk Group process on Nagorno-Karabakh and work toward establishment of full diplomatic relations with Turkey should remain top priorities. The Diaspora should strongly discourage the false idea that time is on Armenia’s side. Further, I believe the key issue of the Armenian Genocide can best be resolved within the context of improved state to state relations between Armenia and Turkey.
    Every year without full relations with neighbors comes with huge opportunity costs for Armenia. For example, the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline’s most economically commercial routing would have been through Armenia. Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will benefit from this energy-related commercial linkage. Despite Azerbaijan’s current internal political difficulties, its economic and military potential will only grow in the years ahead. Rhetorically, this was underscored by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev in 2005, who boasted of his country’s military muscle at a rally of the ruling party in the capital of Baku: “Azerbaijan has recently got the upper hand in negotiations with Armenia over the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Military and economic potential are on our side. We will get our lands back,” Aliev said. While this militant posturing docs little to help the situation, it docs reveal the fact that Armenia’s current military advantage is only temporary, and should not be taken for granted.
    Despite the rhetoric and looking ahead, Armenia and Azerbaijan, with the help of the international community, must make every effort to resolve the Nagorno-Karabagh issue in a timely and comprehensive manner. Let me make clear that the window of opportunity will not remain open for too long.
    In 1999 and in my current capacity as the Director of the Baker Institute at Rice University we conducted a conflict resolution mission and flew to Baku and to Yerevan to help facilitate the negotiations between the parties on the issue of Nagorno-Karabagh. We were received at the highest levels in both countries and did what we could to move the process forward. I was heartened later in 2001 by the high level involvement of President George W. Bush, and then Secretary of State Colin Powell and the State Department team in urging the parties to move forward. A unique opportunity with the highest level of United States involvement to achieve a peaceful settlement was missed by the Azeri and Armenian leadership. I am convinced that a negotiated settlement is still possible. But it will take strong political will on the part of the leadership obtains the support of the people of both countries. Such an approach would be an important confidence building measure.
    What concerns me the most now is that it has been well over a decade since the NagornoKarabagh ceasefire; and failed efforts to find a negotiated settlement are resulting in the hardening of political attitudes amongst certain domestic constituencies in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. It would indeed be a tragedy if the willingness expressed by the leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to make a lasting peace coupled with the progress made in recent years during negotiations at different levels should all falter. Both sides must take steps now to confront those groups, both in Armenia and Azerbaijan that have vested interests in the status quo. Without a determined effort of public diplomacy, the entrenched hard-line posturing on all sides could become one of the most serious obstacles to peace.
    Even if there is no outbreak of fighting in the near term, the absence of an agreement will have a major negative effect posing an obstacle to the political economic and social development and progress of both Armenia and Azerbaijan and can lead to regional instability in the South Caucasus. But again, it is not just the peace process itself that is the sole challenge. The need to “sell” and secure any peace deal is an equally difficult challenge for both sides. Here the Armenian Diaspora can playa more constructive role in encouraging the parties to negotiate.”

  4. Looks like Djerdjian’s think tank is all about oil and gas pipelines. They want to use Armenia to make money. That’s their angle and it’s his too.

    And doesn’t Djeredjian know that Ataturk was a genocidist against Armenians etc. Why does he praise the man?

  5. Our organizations still need to learn that not every “prominent” individual of Armenian descent deserves “our ear.”

  6. Is it a case of one (Armenian) hand not knowing what the other (Armenian) hand is doing or are we suffering from a shortage of prominent speakers?

    Thank you Mr. Boyadjian for making us aware of this serious lapse.
    Mr. Jeredjian, as you point out, is in bad company, if not anti-Armenian company: Baker, Albright, oil and investment companies believe in real politic and in unfettered capitalism. Who can sell more Coca-Cola (Turkey or Armenia?) determines their geopolitics. Turkey takes priority on their agenda, rather than justice for Armenians.

    Next we might hear Mr. Jeredjian has been approached by Turkish diplomats to come an “understanding” about the Genocide a la the Armenian Assembly of America. It would be insane to court the hostility of the US Department. We need America’s support, but some Armenians, who are too close to the US State Department, make me double check their credibility when it comes to Armenian national interests.

  7. Thanks Dave for bringing out this man’s background on supporting Turkey. I am surprised that the Armenian Heritage Park was not aware of his Pro-Turkish & Pro-Israili involvement. I hope his talk will be cancelled, otherwise an explanation from him whether he has changed his postion.

  8. Of course I had read about Djerejian before in the Armenian press.As usual latter reported with pride taht we have an Armenian at Ambassadorial level !!!
    I never thought he would say and act as David Boyadjian has described above.
    Does ne not know what occurred to his own parents and a million others…
    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, drove “the European occupiers out of Turkey..”.
    ANYHONE KNOWS THAT present Istanbulla is actually CONSTANTINOPLE!!!!!!
    No, I shall not think again that we have such an Armenian that has a high position. Instead, praise Deukmejian, Paul Ignatius*yan and others that at least have never said anything to negate the rights of Armenians or placed Turks the ones that suffered from European occupiers….

  9. I have been following Djerejian’s career for years now. He’s done nothing for Armenians or Armenia. He’s only concerned about his own career: a sycophant, mealy mouthed, career diplomat. I share David’s disappointment.

  10. Thank you, David, for the information.

    Hay Arou, thanks for the link. Idon’t have a link to the speech he gave when Serj Sargsyan was in NY a few years ago but I remember getting an impression similar to yours. He certainly is not the right person to represent Armenians.

  11. Dr. Najarian, Amb. Djerejian’s long time track record shows that he hasn’t lifted a finger for the Armenian cause,I have never heard,seen,or read anything to prove me wrong.Mr David Boyajian is right to point this out to the public at large.

    Dr. Najarian, sadly your response is so pathetic to say the least, you seem to be living in another planet,wake up.

    You do well if you change your advisers.

  12. A quick check of James Baker Institute for Public Policy of Rice Univ, whose founding Director is Djerejian, reveals no Armenian scholars or Armenian students on scholarship from Armenia. On the other hand Jewish, Arabic, and Turkish names galore.

  13. So Djerejian wrote that Kemal was charismatic and drove Europeans occupiers out of Turkey?

    Kemal completed the genocide against Armenians and others.

    Kemal invaded Armenia too.

    Djerejian does not even know Armenian history or he twists it. He is unqualified to speak.

  14. To repeat what I posted under Carolann’s letter, for all who cite the constraints of his position in his defense, please note that Djerejian left government service in 1994 and has been free to speak out since then.

  15. Dear Mr. Boyadjian,

    I’m from Armenia and we are perfectly aware here of all those dirty “oil – politics” games. Why are you surprised of some Armenians’ “strange” behavior? Please, don’t forget that throughout our history Armenian fortresses have been often open to our enemies from inside, because of Armenian traitors! After all, it’s not necessary to carry the Armenian last name to be supporters and friends of Armenia, like the former US Ambassador J. Evans or current senators from the Armenian Caucus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.