Judicial Nomination Exhumes ADL Fiasco

Massachusetts Superior Court Nominee Faces Opposition for Failing to Act in Face of Genocide Denial

BOSTON, Mass. (A.W.)—“I don’t enjoy voting no, but it is the right thing to do,” Councilor Marilyn M. Pettito Devaney told the Armenian Weekly during an interview, as she explained why she opposes a Superior Court judicial nomination that would put a member of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on the bench. “They have bullied Congress into defeating [Armenian] Genocide resolutions, and they continue to deprive the Armenians of their history,” she said.

Devaney is leading the opposition in the Governor’s Council against Gov. Deval Patrick’s nomination of attorney Joseph S. Berman to the position of associate justice of the Superior Court. Devaney deems problematic Berman’s involvement with ADL—an organization that claims to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination, but refuses to unequivocally recognize the Armenian Genocide—and his failure to resign from the organization’s board when it became clear that the ADL had been lobbying Congress against the recognition of the genocide.

Berman would need the support of five of the eight councilors to be confirmed for the judgeship. Berman’s public hearing took place on Nov. 13, during which he was questioned for a span of four hours. On Nov. 20, the vote was postponed by an eager governor, after it became clear that five councilors would oppose Berman’s nomination. The ADL fiasco took center stage in arguments against his nomination.

“I received a letter asking, what does a 100-year-old Armenian Genocide by the Turks have to do with the nomination of a justice for the Superior Court? Simple answer: Justice for all,” Devaney told the panel.

Berman, a partner at the Looney & Grossman law firm in Boston, has been a national commissioner for the ADL since 2006, and a member of its New England Board and Executive Committee.

Devaney told the panel that when she was a Watertown Councilor at Large, she urged towns to cut ties with the ADL’s “No Place for Hate” Program in 2007. That year, she also authored a Watertown Town Council proclamation that was passed unanimously, severing ties with the organization. Watertown was followed by 11 other Massachusetts municipalities (Belmont, Newton, Arlington, Northampton, Bedford, Lexington, Westwood, Medford, Needham, Newburyport, and Peabody) in severing ties with the ADL program, following broad-based community opposition as part of the “No Place for Denial” Campaign lead by the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Massachusetts.


The ADL’s then-New England Regional Director Andrew Tarsy had called on the organization to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The ADL responded by firing him.

“At the governor’s Council hearing, when Councilor Jubinville asked why he didn’t withdraw his membership from ADL, Mr. Berman answered: ‘I wrote a resignation letter in my head but didn’t write it because of all the good things the ADL does,’” recounted Devaney before the Council on Nov. 20.

“I asked Mr. Berman if he belonged to an organization who denied the Holocaust, would he remain as a member because of all the other good things they do. I said I would resign,” added Devaney.

“The refusal of the ADL to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and its long-time opposition to Armenian Genocide resolutions in Congress is deeply offensive to the Armenian-American community and discredits an organization that claims to defend human rights,” Dikran Kaligian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts, told the Armenian Weekly. “Complicity in the Turkish government’s international denial campaign must be condemned by those who believe in justice for those subjected to crimes against humanity. Press statements by ADL officials this week show that they still don’t get it.”

In 2007, once the scandal around the ADL’s policy on the Armenian Genocide had erupted, the organization issued a “Statement on the Armenian Genocide,” declaring that “The consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.” Many found the statement unsatisfactory, as the wording placed the issue of intent under question—a main factor in the 1948 UN Genocide Convention definition—and sneaked a qualifier before the word “genocide.”

Armenian Weekly contributor Michael Mensoian was one such critic. He wrote, “The belated backtracking of the Anti-Defamation League in acknowledging the planned, systematic massacre of 1,500,000 Armenian men, women, and children as ‘tantamount to genocide’ is discouraging. Tantamount means something is equivalent. If it’s equivalent, why avoid using the term? For the ADL to justify its newly adopted statement because the word ‘genocide’ did not exist at the time indicates a halfhearted attempt to placate Armenians while not offending Turkey.”

Later, when ADL National Director Abe Foxman was confronted, he reportedly retorted, “No one can dictate to you to use the word that you want us to use. We will use the words that we feel comfortable with.”

Devaney said she expected Berman, who held a prominent position in the organization, to have done more. “Joseph Berman could have made the difference by collecting signatures of all the members of the New England ADL chapter and presenting them to the National ADL to support the recognition of the genocide,” she told the Council.

At his hearing, Berman said he had chosen to stay because he was in agreement with the ADL on all issues except for the Armenian Genocide, and he believed that it would be more effective to change the organization from within.

During her interview with the Armenian Weekly on Nov. 22, Devaney said the issue was important to her since she had heard about the atrocities that took place during the genocide from survivors themselves. She remembered how in 2007, genocide survivor Areka Derkazarian, whom she calls a friend, accompanied her as she appeared before the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) to urge them to withdraw sponsorship from the ADL’s program.  The MMA unanimously voted to end its affiliation with the ADL program in April 2008, following the “No Place for Denial” action campaign and a petition signed by more than 30 local churches and organizations.

The statement signed by five councilors, declaring that if the vote had taken place as expected on Nov. 20, the undersigned would have voted ‘No.’
The statement signed by five councilors, declaring that if the vote had taken place as expected on Nov. 20, the undersigned would have voted ‘No.’

Devaney said that soon after news of her opposition to Berman got out, she began getting hate mail from Berman supporters. “I’ve never experienced in my tenure getting hate mail for doing the right thing,” she said, shaking her head. Then, leaning forward, she added, “This has been really misunderstood… The ADL has been working hard to prevent the Armenians from having their history.”

Earlier, at Berman’s hearing on Nov. 13, councilors also criticized the ADL for sending letters to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committees before candidate hearings, which according to Councilor Jennie Caissie, amount to “bona fide litmus tests.” “I don’t want ideologues on the bench,” added Cassie. Councilor Jubinville, too, had noted that Berman’s involvement with the ADL raised concerns regarding his ideology. In response, Berman said that he was not going to assume the position of an “ADL judge,” and that he would “decide cases based on the facts.”

Berman’s ‘contributions campaign’

Berman’s campaign contributions were another sore point during the hearing on Nov. 13. After his 2004 bid to a judgeship were rejected by the Judicial Nomination Committee—a body appointed by the governor to oversee judicial nominations—Berman’s campaign contributions increased, surpassing $110,000 in 10 years.

Among the state candidates receiving Berman’s donations were Governor Patrick, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Attorney General Martha Coakley, State Treasurer Steven Grossman, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and others. All of the recipients were Democratic candidates.

When grilled about whether he contacted any of those elected officials on behalf of his judicial nomination, Berman acknowledged that he had contacted Katherine Clark that morning and asked her to call Councilors Albano and Jubinville.

“After he applied for a judicial appointment in 2004 and was rejected, he started his contribution campaign and donated $110,000 total, giving the appearance he was going to buy his way to a judgeship,” Devaney later told the Weekly, adding, “In my tenure, I’ve never seen any nominee contributing so much.”

“I don’t look for a political activist/fundraiser as a quality in a judge,” Devaney told the panel on Nov. 20.

Berman’s “demeanor” and “behavior” were also bothersome to Devaney, who found some of the attorney’s responses arrogant and short.

In addition, Berman’s lack of criminal trial experience—he specializes in commercial litigation—and his interest in “time standards” in the courtroom were also raised as points of concern.

Vote postponed

Only one of the councilors, Terrence W. Kennedy, voiced his support of the attorney.

Disappointed with the councilors’ position vis-à-vis his nominee, Governor Patrick said he would postpone the vote, indicating that in the coming days he would work to sway the votes in favor of Berman.

“This Council will have the opportunity…to vote on this nominee. I am going to work hard to get the votes. I have not had an opportunity to do that, and I am not ready today,” said the governor, adding, “I appreciate that some of you have views that had been hardened. But I think that this is a candidate who is more than ready to serve…”

“We are not going to change our minds,” said Devaney. “We are going to stand by the vote. I want you to know that.”

Anticipating the governor’s move, Councilor Robert L. Jubinville had prepared a typed statement declaring that if the vote had taken place as expected on Nov. 20, the undersigned would have voted “No.” The document was signed by Jubinville, Devaney,  Oliver P. Cipollini, Jr., Jennie L. Caissie, and Christopher A. Iannella, Jr.

“We put on the record our objection to continuing the vote on Mr. Berman’s confirmation,” read the statement.

The vote is expected to take place on Dec. 4. However, it is possible that the nomination will be withdrawn before that date.

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2014 to 2016. She served as assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2010 to 2014. Her writings focus on human rights, politics, poverty, and environmental and gender issues. She has reported from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabagh, Javakhk and Turkey. She earned her B.A. degree in Political Science and English and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts (Boston).
Nanore Barsoumian

Latest posts by Nanore Barsoumian (see all)


  1. Nanore: Thanks for providing a fuller account than The Globe on Friday to Mr. Berman’s politcal contributions. In my mind, his position on the regrettable ADL controversy, which I believed to be ancient history, is not enough for me to support denial of a judgeship. But his record of political contributions deserves fuller explanation than he has provided so far.

  2. Thanks for the more complete account of the opposition to Mr. Berman’s judicial nomination than The Globe provided Friday. Alone, his position with the ADL does not to me merit rejecting his nomination (though Andrew Tarsy, its NE director, made a more conscientious decision by resigning when the controversy erupted several years ago.) However, Berman’s heavy political donations to Democratic power-brokers and the timing of them, which were not adequately detailed in The Globe and may have been the real reason for the council’s decision, do raise questions about his integrity and independence, and merit answering.

  3. I believe the events in Armenia at the beginning of the last century were a genocide. Joe Berman agrees as well and as he repeatedly explained at his hearing, he was a vocal critic of the ADL’s prior policy on the Armenian genocide, advocated for its change, and considered resigning over the issue. The ADL ultimately reversed its position, but some Governor’s councilors such as Devaney are still making this a huge issue for purely political grandstanding reasons.

    Both the Globe and Herald have issued editorials extremely critical of the Council’s actions, calling it a “Ship of Fools” and “manufacturing madness”:


    I also took the time to listen to the audio of the nomination hearing. I can tell you it is shocking, reminding me of a McCarthy era witch-hunt. Listen for yourselves: https://sites.google.com/a/patrickmccabegovernorscouncil.com/mccabepatrickgovernorscouncil/joseph-s-berman

    Tell me there’s no bias going on here.

    In addition to being berated for his ADL affiliation, Councilor Caissie, a solo practitioner from Oxford, was also very critical of Joe’s successful representation of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, demanding of him to answer her question of “what were you thinking”? His answer was classic. “I was thinking of upholding the Constitution.” It would be hard to imagine US Senators asking Thurgood Marshall what he was thinking in representing blacks in the 1950’s civil rights cases when he was confirmed for the US Supreme Court, but this is what the Governor’s Council has sunk to these days.

    We need more judges like Joe who have a strong business and technology legal background as the bench has been increasingly populated with former district attorneys and public defenders who lack the skills and experience in today’s increasingly complex technology and business world.

    The Governor’s Council is frankly out of control right now, and should be abolished.

  4. If you want to see something shocking and stomach-turning, please read the following record of the ADL’s genocide denial and its work to defeat the US Congress’s Armenian genocide resolution.
    All these excerpts are from the Jewish and Israeli media:

    Joseph Berman, as a national ADL Board member, is part and parcel of this disgusting behavior, despite his attempt to portray himself in the media as Mr. Mother Theresa.
    Moreover, Berman is a lawyer. He knows full well that the August 21, 2007 statement by the ADL/Foxman used deceptive legalese to make sure that the Armenian genocide did NOT conform to the official 1948 UN Genocide Convention’s definition of genocide, which requires INTENT by the perpetrator. This is all explained on http://www.NoPlaceForDenial.com.
    The 2007 ADL statement used the word CONSEQUENCES, which is the opposite of INTENT. I think a lawyer wrote that. Which lawyer – that is the question. Mr. Mother Theresa?
    If an Armenian American was proposed as a judge and was a member of a Holocaust denial organization that had also lobbied against Holocaust resolutions, he would have been run out of town. But no, Berman gets a pass because … There is a double standard there. The ADL is an outright hypocrite when it comes to genocide. Mr. Berman is part of that.
    Finally, I will not lower myself to respond to the first 3 posted comments.

  5. The following is a political cartoon, produced in 2007, about the ADL’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. Obviously, nothing has changed.


    In his explanations for why he did not do more to overturn a shameful ADL policy, Mr. Berman (a high-ranking ADL official) comes across as disingenuous.

    The ADL, a purported anti-bias group, has a clear bias when it comes to the Armenian Genocide. Along with other Jewish lobbying groups, the ADL campaigns against Armenian Genocide recognition in the halls of the US Congress. In fact, many MA cities and towns pulled out of “No Place for Hate” — the ADL’s purported anti-bias program — AFTER the ADL’s infamous “tantamount” statement because these municipalities believed that the ADL’s statement was dishonest.

    Who ever heard of a human rights organization who lobbies AGAINST genocide recognition? Citizens don’t need a judge who very well could arbitrate in favor of ADL biases. Why should anyone take it on good faith that Mr. Berman would make an impartial judge, given his checkered background?

  6. Governor Patrick is embarassing himself and the governor’s office with Berman’s nomination. It looks like a political payoff for Berman’s having given $100,000 to Democratic candidates. It also looks like the governor does not care when the ADL tries to kill a genocide resolution. Patrick is defending the ADL’s terrible behavior. I think a lot of people know what is going on but are afraid of saying it out loud. They know it’s a payoff to Berman and to the ADL. It all smells very bad.

  7. To put it mildly, for years the ADL has been a discredited organization with a hidden agenda. It’s as clear as day it’s far more interested in advancing Israeli policies than in human rights. Not to offend Israel’s ally Turkey, it has helped undermine US recognition of the Genocide of Armenians. To cover up its above core lobbying interest, it papers its activities with “human rights” projects. It certainly has lots of money for such cheap masks.
    Joseph Berman is an intelligent, sophisticated and knowledgeable person. He knows the above is the truth. Since he has continued its allegiance despite the veracity of the above ADL secret agenda, he has disqualified himself for the position he is seeking.

  8. There is an undercurrent of anti-Semitism at the Council and obviously here.

    The Roman Catholic Church’s stances on gay marriage and abortion are far more controversial than the ADL’s prior Armenian position, yet do Catholic nominees face this type of crucifixion? No.

    Donation? Every nominee has a long list of donation. And of course, the Council solicits thousands in political contributions themselves each year and are no strangers to political hiring appointment controversies. See http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/09/10/plum-court-job-for-daughter-governor-councilor-jubinville-tests-state-hiring-reforms/Oo1qnt9ViGKG0ygtThwA8K/story.html

    Berman’s donations go back 10 years and are mostly to the DNC and local politicians like Jarrett Barrios.

    Bunch of Jew haters here, obviously. Shameful.

    • Oh yeah, throw out the good-old “anti-Semitism” and “Jew haters” charge when you are cornered: that works.

      Except it doesn’t work here.

      Here is the answer: a bunch of Anti-Armenian Turkophile Demialist bigots at ADL and their apologists.

      A bunch of Armenian haters, obviously. Shameful and Revolting.

  9. Dear Dick, When all else fails play the antisemitism card!!! That is getting so old. No one believes it anymore. You need to find a new card. A lot of respectable Jews believe in the Armenian Genocide and support its recognition. Also a lot of dis-respectable Jews deny it. The first ones are called self hating Jews by the ADL and alike. The second ones are the ones that give good Jews a bad name. There is no antisemitism here. There is only truth and justice at play here.

  10. Chaque individu qui denie le Genocide Armenien,ou celui qui suit
    tous ceux qui denient,seront sans consciences d’abord,et puis ne connaissent pas l’histoire d’un peuple qui n’a fait que servir a tout le monde,moralement,materiellement et educationnellement.

  11. Cher Messieurs,
    J’ai ete tres poli avec ma premiere opinion.je n’ai pas besoin
    de chercher une nouvelle carte,pour m’exprimer a ce que je crois.
    je n’ai pas parle d’antisemitisme ni des juifs.
    je vais vous parler des turques,que vous ne connaissez pas bien,ni leur histoire d’antan ni leur vie politique d’aujourd’hui.Je regrette que vous m’avez mal compris.je suis,je reste et je resterais
    pour toujours contre tous ceux qui denient “LE GENOCIDE ARMENIEN”,
    car c’est un fait et realite.Quiconque denie L’hommicide des armeniens,il sera le deuxieme executeur “DU GENOCIDE ARMENIEN”.

  12. Mr. Whitman, you should be embarrassed for injecting the anti-Semitism accusation in your letter. It betrays a bankruptcy of debating ability, if not desperation. The Berman nomination is not about race. It’s about a man’s allegiance to a disreputable organization which parades as a human rights fighter while its true agenda is dirty politics–as in denying the Genocide of 1.5 million Armenians because the criminal Turkish state is a friend of ADL’s client.

  13. I am in full agreement with Fredrick Fuller.

    The likes of Dick should be ashamed of themselves.
    They have nothing better to say,keep repeating the old tape.

    Move on Dick.

  14. An ESSENTIAL thing to know is that AFTER the ADL’s Abe Foxman issued his half-baked, NON-acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide, using deceptive wording, cities and towns and the Mass. Municipal Assoc., which represents every city and town in the state, continued to throw out the ADL program known as “No Place for Hate.” This is proof-positive that the ADL statement was an attempt to deceive people with its wording and that people understood that.
    Please see http://www.NoPlaceForDenial.com.

    Let us be clear: the ADL has never, ever issued a forthright acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide, and it continues to state that it opposes the Armenian genocide resolution in the US Congress (please see here: http://www.armenianlife.com/2012/08/31/the-anti-defamation-league-is-a-bully-who-defames-the-armenian-people/ )

  15. I’m not embarrassed because it’s true. I’m Jewish and just the other day I overheard someone say “don’t Jew me on this…” I hear this stuff all the time to this day. You may not want to believe it, but it around still in the US.

    Do you think a Catholic nominee is subject to the same level of hostility even though the political positions of the Roman Catholic Church — gay marriage and abortion — are far more offending to the general public than one organization such as the ADL. No, of course not. Has never happened.

    Did Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall get crucified like this when he represented “colored folks” in the 1950’s civil rights cases? Again, no of course not.

    So why is this nominee being crucified for actually taking a stand against the ADL’s misguided Armenian genocide stance? He tried to reverse it and threatened to resign!

    The ADL’s prior stance on Armenia has zero, ZERO, to do with whether Berman is qualified to be a judge. Anyone who feels otherwise is operating with some type of bias and unsophistication when it comes to judges.

    You people should be ashamed of yourselves for not recognizing that the position of one organization cannot be held against one individual who actually disagrees with that position.

    • Mr. Whitman, those comparisons are not valid. You can’t accuse a Catholic person just because of the position of the Catholic Church, because that would be like opposing someone for his religion. The Roman Catholic Church is a huge organization, with its millions of members having diverse opinions. On the other hand, ADL is relatively smaller organization, with long-standing and well-known opposition to the recognition of the Genocide. And Berman was not just a regular member, he served on ADL’s Board. He is not being opposed for being a Jew, he is being opposed for having been a top official of a known denialist organization. Our message is that when you knowingly do that, there should be consequences for your past choices. His current pro-Genocide stand could reasonably be interpreted as insincere in light of his prior choice.

    • “You people should be ashamed of yourselves for not recognizing that the position of one organization cannot be held against one individual who actually disagrees with that position.”

      Mr. Whitman, please explain your use of the term “you people”. Should you be embarrassed for this implied bias?

      I am not a Massachusetts voter and will withhold any opinion on Mr. Berman, but it seems that the issue is one of integrity and credibility, not ethnicity. A person has a history and that history can speak to one’s character. Mr. Berman should be allowed to explain himself and Armenians should have the right to question his past and current position. That is how democracy works.

  16. Dick Whitman latest comment speaks volumes as to how ignorant he really is and his bias,it looks as if he walks with a constant chip on his shoulder.

  17. I somehow came across the article. Wow! Now reverse the situation a little. Imagine we are talking about a judicial nomination process in a town in Armenia. It just happens that that town has a local Guatemalan population with a 100-year old grievance with Mexico. Now, one of the Armenian politicians, hoping for votes from these local Guatemalans, completely derails the judicial review process in Armenia over what has happened between Guatemala and Mexicans 100 years ago! I personally do believe that Armenian Genocide was real. But … and the fault is not with Armenian Americans here (they are doing what is best for them), but this Devaney lady should be impeached for sabotaging/abusing the process for her personal gains with Armenian voters. And I guess it is not even her fault either. She is doing what is best for her (her career). The flaw lies with the democratic system … a small minority interest can derail the silent majority’s will, as Tocqueville famously pointed oout ~150 years ago in his critique of American democracy. I’d go one step further … minority interest are like parasites, hijacking the host organism, just like how Armenian diaspora, otherwise helpless against Turkey, is abusing the US democratic system for its parochial interests. Of course, average American voter would not even care to know of such abuses (which is yet another flaw of American democracy), but if they did, they would or should be angry with the Armenians for such abuses. They should say: “Go fight your own disputes and wars. We, the majority, do not care about 100-year old disputes in faraway lands, however just or unjust that can be. The world TODAY is rife with injustice, especially our own country. Why should we instead waste time on rectifying injustice from 100 years ago across the ocean! Act like you care about America more than you care about Armenia. You are a US citizen, remember! Or disavow your allegience and be a citizen of your wonderful Republic of Armenia!”

  18. “The Roman Catholic Church’s stances on gay marriage and abortion are far more controversial than the ADL’s prior Armenian position”

    That’s only in your delusional mind, Dick.

    As if the Catholic church was OK in your book until now, except until recently when suddenly they took up a new, shocking and never-before-heard-of “controversial position”? What a laughable ignoramus you are. The Catholic church has been around many centuries and has basically had the same doctrine. And they have every right to make their own decisions.

    1. You are clearly a bigot and hate Armenians.
    2. You are also clearly a hate-filled anti-Christian.
    3. You are also a coward hiding behind a slogan.

    “You are anti-Semitic” has now come to be a term used by cowards who can’t present or win arguments. Because of charlatans like you, it is no longer effective in conveying its original message. Hopefully most Jews don’t think like you, that is, if you are one.

  19. Hagop D, ad hominem attacks only show your ignorance. I have many Armenian friends and as a lawyer I represented an Armenian in a $1M employment discrimination lawsuit against a huge bank. I’m also not a “hate filled anti-Christian.”

    I have spoken to many Catholic lawyers about the Berman nomination and they all agree with me that a Catholic nominee would not be subject to the same bias as shown to Berman.

    The national ADL has every right to make its own position as misguided as it may have been — just like the Catholic Church. Mr. Berman lobbied successfully to reverse that position. Again, if you have trouble reading, BERMAN LOBBIED AGAINST THE POSITION. He tried to do the right thing, and he’s getting punished for it? Why? No one has provided a reasonable answer to that question.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    • Mr. Whitman, it is unclear to me whether you think the ADL actually changed its position on the Armenian Genocide. Some of your comments indicate that you think so, and that Mr. Berman was part of this “successful” effort. Are you aware of something more substantial than Abraham Foxman’s very weak 2007 “tantamount to genocide” statement? Has the ADL stopped opposing recognition of the Armenian Genocide? (Let’s not even ask if they have done anything positive in favor of it.) As of last year, their New England Director reiterated the ADL’s opposition to recognition of the Armenian Genocide. So, really, how “successful” could Berman’s efforts have been? Perhaps his efforts were valiant. I don’t really know. Unlike Andrew Tarsy, apparently the ADL’s position on this was not important enough to him to cause him to distance himself from the organization.

      Whether this issue should preclude Berman’s being confirmed is not something I am prepared to argue here. I am more interested in whether the ADL has really taken a constructive position on the Armenian Genocide or whether they just papered over their same old position. Evidence suggests the latter.

      Your analogy of a Catholic not getting this kind of opposition is off base. The issue being raised with Berman is not that he is a Jew. The issue is his prominent position with the ADL. If you are looking for a more appropriate analogy, it is not to a nominee who happens to be a Catholic but rather to one who serves on the board of a Catholic organization that opposes justice for victims of abuse by clergy and was only willing to say that what many experienced was “tantamount to abuse.” If you don’t think such a person would be asked questions about his or her association with such a group, I think you are mistaken.

    • Mr. Whitman:

      Are you serious ?
      You are actually accusing [Hagop D] of ‘ad hominem attacks’ ?

      Here is what you – You, Sir – posted at the outset @ArmenianWeekly:

      “There is an undercurrent of anti-Semitism at the Council and obviously here.” (Dick Whitman // November 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm // )
      “Bunch of Jew haters here, obviously. Shameful.” (Dick Whitman // November 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm // )

      “obviously here” refers to ArmenianWeekly, Yes ?
      Now, which one of the posts do you consider “anti-Semitic” _here_ @AW ?
      Which one of the posters do you consider “Jew haters” _here_ @AW ?

      Tell us which, why and based on what: so we can review it; maybe you are right.

      Otherwise withdraw your ad-hominem attack on Armenians and apologize.

      Also, it is quite interesting that you have avoided answering [Boyajian], while at the same time accusing [Hagop D].
      {Mr. Whitman, please explain your use of the term “you people”. Should you be embarrassed for this implied bias?} (Boyajian // November 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm //)

      What would you call it if someone addressed Jews as “you people” ?
      Anti-what ?

    • Mr. Whitman, it is my opinion that the character of the person is open for examination (and crucial) when appointing a Superior Court Judge. Those in a position of responsibility to approve of or reject such a nomination have a duty to consider this issue and raise questions if there are any to be raised. Mr. Berman’s record while serving on the ADL Board is an important consideration if it calls into question his commitment to truth and justice applied equally for all. Such concerns are fair game and have nothing to do with anti-semitism. It appears that there is enough here to question Mr. Berman’s appointment, without pointing to anti-semitism.

      Those who might be motivated by anti-semitism in this case are no better than the ADL members that they criticize, but I would be careful about making such a suggestion. As the ‘messenger’ you inserted a provocative and distracting accusation against “us people” which in my opinion makes me wonder about your bias and character, and opens yourself up to criticism. Care to address this?

  20. Dick,If Mr. Berman was so much against ADL’s position on the Armenian genocide,why has he still hold such a very responsible position in the ADL?

    No, Mr. Berman is fully on board with the position of ADL namely against recognition of the Armenian genocide as ADL always wanted to have a monopoly on the genocide.

    ADL is nothing but a lobby group for Israel under the guise of defending so called human rights,its plain obvious.

  21. Probably the most damning evidence against the ADL, the American Jewish Committee and the like is their collusion with Turkey to defame Armenians and to try to prove that there was no genocide. It is selfish of those organizations and their members, like Joe Berman.
    The evidence is the following, straight from the Jewish media, all documented in one place:
    The ADL and AJC and the like are a disgrace, as are their top national members,such as Berman. People like Berman talk about Armenians and other people’s genocides only when they are forced to, as happened at the Governors Council. Selfish, self-centered, uncaring about others’ feeling, and chauvinistic, they think they were the only victims of genocide. They alway push resolutions on the Holocaust, but lobby against ones on the Armenian genocide.

  22. Dear Dick, As you mentioned you are a lawyer. It is my experience that the lawyers do not work for free. I have a simple question, who is paying for your time to come out of the blue, read these comments and answer them? If I was a betting man I would say ADL/Berman.

  23. Well done Boyajian for your consistent and long campaign to expose anti-Armenian lobbying under the guise of ‘human rights’ by the ADL and its hangers on. you are a real credit and an example to us to follow. Your arguments are well reasoned and based on strong facts – ADL’s consistent anti-Armenian and pro Turkish-denialist record. It’s always a delight to read your articles and postings. The defeat of this closet anti-Armenian is a must and hopefully could be a significant step towards a renewed campaign to fully disarm ADL and its poisonous influence in Washington national circles and their defence of Turkish and denialist lobbying.

  24. “…what does a 100-year-old Armenian Genocide by the Turks have to do with the nomination of a justice for the Superior Court?…”

    MY Answer: If only and only the Armenian Genocide was provided JUSTICE in a TIMELY manner than you WOULDN’T of have had the Jewish Genocide and all the others that have occured since. Jews were annihilated in the same manner with more developed technology and better record keeping.

  25. I guess the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and the Boston Bar Association are all wrong huh, and you people (there I said it again), are right?






    What I meant by you people, was you people who believe that Berman’s nomination is rightly held hostage over a position of a national social justice organization, one that has a long and storied record in defending civil and human rights, notwithstanding this one problematic position. What is pejorative by the words “you” and “people”?

    Your hatred and prejudice for the Jewish people bleeds through your misinformed comments, as you rail and attack the ADL like they are the Nazis or something. The Jews didn’t kill the Armenians and you act as if the Jews are the perpetrators of the genocide.

    Again, should a Roman Catholic nominee be told he needs to leave the Church because its positions are AGAINST THE LAW in Massachusetts?! That would be gay marriage and abortion.

    • You paint with too broad a brush in accusing posters here of anti-semitism. I find it offensive.

    • Mr. Whitman: your analogy doesn’t cut it. The issue is not one of belonging to a particular religious or ethnic group. If the opposition to Berman were based on his being a Jew, because (a few) Jews have opposed recognition of the Armenian Genocide, then you would have a point. But this is not the case. Again: if the nominee were a prominent board member of a Catholic organization (*not* merely a member of the Catholic church) that had taken an *active* role in, say, trying to deny gays their legal rights, then would that not be fair issue for discussion in this context?

      You are right: Jews didn’t kill Armenians and Jews are not the perpetrators of the Genocide. Neither do most Jews aid and abet the denial of the Armenian Genocide. In fact, a great many work for recognition and against denial. Not the ADL. This is why quite a number of people, Jews and otherwise, have distanced themselves from the ADL despite the other good things that it does, because they believe the issue of recognizing the Armenian Genocide is important.

      Do you really not understand what is at issue here?

  26. I think the Armenians on this comment thread are really embarrassing themselves and their culture by perpetuating this victim mentality. The ADL fiasco is old news. Let’s move on. It’s not as if the Jews are Turk killers or Nazi exterminators. They suffered similarly as our people did.

    It appears from all the news reports — the Globe, Herald, Mass. Lawyers Weekly — that Berman took a strong stand against the position. So what, he didn’t resign? I didn’t stop going to church because they won’t marry my gay brother…

    This Berman guy is otherwise extremely qualified and the whole thing just makes us Armenians look like a bunch of whiners living in the past.

    • The one embarrassing one’s self is you, because you are obviously unclear on the concept of fighting for one’s rights and fighting Armenian Genocide deniers, versus the so-called “victim mentality”.

      Does ADL practice “victim-mentality” when they actively fight Holocaust denial and Anti-Semitism ?
      How is it that _that_ is not “victim-mentality”, but Armenians fighting denial of Armenian Genocide supposedly is ?

      And, No, let’s not move on: you are welcome to do so all-by yourself. Rest of us will decide on our own: we don’t need your advice.
      Go tell ADL to move on: tell them to disown the AG denialists amongst them and stop supporting Turkish denialists and their Anti-Armenians campaigns.

      And neither AG denial in general, nor ADL’s active support of AG denialists in particular is old news: it will never be old news.
      1915: Never Again.

  27. That the rough and tumble of politics frequently trumps decency comes as no surprise to anyone. The current controversy over the nomination of Joe Berman for a Superior Court judgeship has, sadly, become another example of politics pushing decency aside.

    As the Governor’s Council considers Berman’s nomination, what by rights should be regarded as a strength of his candidacy — his longtime work with and commitment to the Anti-Defamation League — is being cynically used against him for the narrowest of political advantage and the most simple-minded of expediency.

    The suggestion that Mr. Berman’s ADL involvement somehow cuts against his qualifications to serve effectively on the Superior Court is outrageous, and offensive.

    Consider this: What if a judicial nominee were a member of the NAACP, and some politicians did not like a particular position that organization had taken, and used it to block his nomination?

    A well-qualified judicial candidate approved by eminent lawyers and selected by Gov. Deval Patrick has had his candidacy all but derailed by a single-issue political constituency seeking to discredit him and his reputation. Their basis? His affiliation with an organization whose bona fides as a powerful advocate for civil rights have been acknowledged by leaders of every faith, religion, and ethnic background for the last 100 years.

    Berman’s decision to support ADL is not related to a single ideological belief or to a blind acceptance of the many policies and positions this historic civil rights organization has taken over the past century. His passion for and commitment to justice, equality and fairness have enriched our internal discussions on a variety of issues related to ADL’s mission to combat anti-Semitism and promote equal justice and fair treatment for all people.

    One of ADL’s greatest strengths is the breadth and depth of our agenda. At times, we will take positions that are unpopular with a segment of the community and some of our own leaders. Our organization has never shied away from that approach. While our supporters do not always agree with each of our positions, they understand and remain committed to our basic mission.

    The fact is that no organization works on behalf of the residents of Massachusetts on so many fronts as vigorously as ADL.

    Bullying? It was ADL that led the statewide coalition and worked with the Legislature to pass a comprehensive anti-bullying law.

    Hate crimes? ADL led the country supporting legislation and training for law enforcement.

    Youth prejudice and violence? ADL continues its multifaceted approach, including the A World of Difference Institute, to provide anti-bias training and programs to thousands of students.

    And, in 2008, we publicly stated that the massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians constituted genocide.

    Over the course of the past year, ADL has celebrated its centennial. During these 100 years, the Anti-Defamation League has played a major role in combatting anti-Semitism and fundamentally changing the essence of Jewish life in America. The League begins its second century based on a solid reputation and record of advancing equality, defending democratic ideals and fighting against prejudice and bigotry,

    Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic magazine, commented on the occasion of ADL’s 100th anniversary that the organization has done more to “delegitimize prejudice” in America than any other.

    So how did it come about that an ADL supporter ends up being vilified for his principles? Politics over decency.

    Joe Berman deserves better, the ADL deserves better and, most of all, the people of Massachusetts deserve better.

  28. The ADL and AJC are political organizations operating under the cover of human rights, so that they can get into communities and elementary schools and propagandize from the inside on their meat and potato issues. The ADL’s No Place for Hate and World of Difference are a bunch of PC baloney.
    The following articles from the Jewish press prove it because no true human rights organizations would ever behave in this manner:


    Berman is a long time member of the ADL and didn’t speak up when he could have. He knew what the ADL was doing to Armenians and remained silent until Armenian themselves brought the issue to the fore. In fact, the people commenting on this issue who support Berman did nothing themselves to help bring out the truth when they knew the truth and could have done so. Where is the apology that the immoral ADL and AJC owe the Armenian people? We have yet to see one. That shows us that you lack character even you have such a high opinion of yourself.

  29. Not only ADL and AJC are political organizations operating under the cover of human rights,they are anti Armenian organisations protecting and supporting Turkey all the way in denying the Armenian genocide,and Mr Berman is part of that org.no different.

  30. Founded in October 1913 by B’nai B’rith with Sigmund Livingston as its first leader, the ADL’s charter states,
    “The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.”[1]

    To Mr. Whitman and Mr. Robbins:

    Mr. Berman’s decision to remain a member of the ADL despite it’s ‘unfair treatment’ of Armenians and the Armenian Genocide issue, is the problem. This choice on his part, even though he may have tried to ‘change the ADL from the inside’, has had unfortunate consequences for him: it casts the shadow of hypocrisy on him.

    Is there really more to this issue than this?

    In addition, Mr. Robbins, you stated: “And, in 2008, we [the ADL] publicly stated that the massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians constituted genocide.”

    Please provide a copy of this 2008 public statement. I could not find such a published statement from the ADL.


  31. Jeffrey,

    Quite apart from the candidacy, can you explain why ADL gave support to the Turkish state which, oddly enough, perpetrates racism against Jews, Christians, insufficiently Moslem Moslems ?

    • Jeffrey,
      ADL’s support of Turkey is based on the following diktat: “What’s good for Israel is good for the ADL.” Money donated to the ADL to fight for human rights is used by the ADL to lobby on behalf of Turkey, a perceived ally of Israel. Hence the ADL’s vigorous efforts to defeat US recognition of the Genocide of Armenians, and damn the persecuted Jewish, Armenian, and Greek minorities of Turkey.
      There’s a school of thought which says the ADL acts as defender of Turkey’s denialist policies in the US Congress so that Turkey would not mistreat its Jewish minority. In other words, the ADL is paying protection money to Turkey.

  32. {“The Jews didn’t kill the Armenians and you act as if the Jews are the perpetrators of the genocide.”} (Dick Whitman // December 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm // @AW)

    Show us a single post, a single sentence in this thread that even remotely hints at the way we supposedly act here according to you (“…you act as if…”).
    We know who planned, organized and committed the Armenian Genocide: Ottoman and CUP Turks.
    We also know that a Jewish scholar, Dr. Lemkin, coined the word “Genocide”.
    We also know that Jewish members of US Congress, such as California Rep Schiff and Rep Sherman, are spearheads in AG recognition efforts.
    So enough of that.

    And we do act as if the ADL has been actively supporting the worldwide denialist campaign of the Turkish State and denialist Turkish organizations.
    Particularly right here in the US: do you deny that ?
    We “act as if” ADL has _not_ unambiguously and unequivocally repudiated their past denialist work.
    We “act as if” ADL has _not_ unambiguously and unequivocally accepted the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide: their word-games of pretending they do, but not really, do not fool anyone.

    And you constantly throwing out ridiculous unsubstantiated charges such as “…Your hatred and prejudice for the Jewish people bleeds through your misinformed comments,…” will get no traction here.
    Again, show us specifically which comments in this thread you consider prejudicial to Jewish people.

    btw: that insertion of “….bleeds through….” shows desperation, Dick.
    Bleeds ? (!)
    What will you come up with next.
    Oh, about that “you people” remark: nice try, but no cigar, Sir.
    Who are you kidding ?
    What is this: {What is pejorative by the words “you” and “people”?}
    It is not “you” and “people”: it is “you people” that is pejorative; see the difference ?
    You actually thought you could get that one past us ?
    “you” and “people”.

    And I am sure you do not consider the “you people” comment in the story below anti-Semitic, right ?

    [“We don’t cater to you people” says accused Hobby Lobby employee]

    {OKLAHOMA CITY – A Hobby Lobby employee is accused of telling a Jewish customer, “we don’t cater to you people.” The anti-Semitic comment caused a storm of controversy around the Oklahoma City-based company. Fox 25’s Kisha Henry shows us how the Jewish community and the company are responding.} (Oct 11, 2013)

  33. Mr. Berman is a *National Commissioner* of the ADL. He is not a mere lowly member, nor is he like a parishioner in a Catholic church who has no influence on the Pope. Even at that, members of those groups do feel free to speak out publicly when they disagree. Happens every day. But not Joe Berman. Ever heard him speak out publicly? No. Ever see him write anything against the ADL’s policy of lobbying against the Armenian genocide resolution? No. Did Berman know of the ADL’s stance against Armenians? If he is literate, he most surely did. Did he do anything about it before all hell broke loose in 2007? No.
    Here is quote from “Diplomacy: The politics of principles”, Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, August 23:

    QUOTE: And the final thing the Turks “get” from Israel is access to the Jewish lobby in Washington. Talk candidly to Turkish academics, politicians and journalists and they will say that one of the reasons Israel is valuable to Turkey is because of the ADL, the American Jewish Congress, B’nai Brith and similar organizations. Without a strong lobby of its own in Washington, Turkey looks to these organizations to put in a good word in Congress or with the administration when issues of importance to Ankara – such as issues regarding the Armenians or Cyprus – make their way to those bodies. END-QUOTE.

    So, is the ADL a human rights group? No. It is a political arm – a foreign agent, in fact – of Turkey.


    • David, while we’re on the subject, what do Israel/ADL/AJC/B’nai Brith get for their alliance with Turkey? Why the disconnect between these organizations and the Jewish community at large which sympathizes with the Armenian Cause. Please share your thoughts.

  34. Simplicity is usually best.

    Jeffrey Robbins claims: “And, in 2008, we publicly stated that the massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians constituted genocide.”

    That being the case, the ADL should have no problem putting that EXACT statement (no more, no less, no qualifiers) on its letterhead and sending it out for the wiorld to see, TODAY.

    Poof! This whole issue goes away. No more time is wasted. Easy.

    Short of that, all the protestations about the injustice being done to Joe Berman is at the extreme best, disingenuous, for all the reasons set forth above. Those practicing their polite obfuscatory and prevaricatory skills here should do so somewhere else.

    • The statement issued by Mr Foxman (aug. 21, 2007) stated not that it “constituted” Genocide but that it was “tantamount” (equivalent in value, meaning and intent) to Genocide. He adds, “if the word “genocide” had existed then, they would have called it genocide.”
      The statement continues with; “a Congreeional resolution (recognizing the AG) is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States”.
      The accusation is that the ADL has sadly become a lobbyist org. For the Israeli Govt. The President of that country, Mr Peres, only months ago, issued a statement denying the AG ( I believe he used the word “massacres”). Mr Peres was also responsible for appointing a ms. Desoto

    • {“Mr Peres was also responsible for appointing a ms. Desoto”}
      I believe you are referring to a Ms. De Toledo.

      De Toledo served as Israeli cultural attaché to Turkey for 10 years, from 1993 to 2003. Israeli President Shimon Peres offered her the position in a bid to improve relations between the two countries.

      Asbarez covered the sick pronouncement of the infamous Ms. De Toledo recently.
      There was also a lengthy article in TodaysZaman a while back. (24 October 2013 /SİNEM CENGİZ, JERUSALEM)

      I will past some of the gems from her here:

      {Ankara should accelerate its efforts to normalize ties with Israel before 2015, the centennial of the so-called Armenian genocide in 1915, as the global Israeli lobby has significantly toned down its previously staunch support of Turkey in blocking the recognition of claims of genocide, said Zali De Toledo, head of the Association of Turkish Jews in Israel.}
      {“As 2015 is approaching, Turkey should take into account its interests and should normalize relations with Israel by appointing an ambassador to Israel as soon as possible. If both countries miss the opportunity to mend the ties, the Israeli lobby will likely stay neutral when 2015 comes,” De Toledo told Today’s Zaman.}

      And the worst:

      {De Toledo said she had done her utmost to pressure the Israeli lobby in the US to refrain from labeling mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans in 1915 as genocide, adding: “I was the strongest supporter of the Turkish position. And now I am really disappointed to see Turkish-Israeli relations at this point.”}

      The woman is openly _boasting_ of being an Armenian Genocide Denialist.
      Nothing more to say.

  35. In 2007, when the issue broke in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe asked Abe Foxman if he felt there was an Armenian genocide. His answer: “I don’t know”.

    Then, August 21, 2007, Foxman issued his infamous, dishonest, deceitful statement using all sorts of legal circumlocutions to NOT acknowledge the Armenian genocide. The ADL thought it has fooled people, but it has not.

    So, given the ADL’s history of terrible behavior, Armenians are not about to accept any more half-baked “acknowledgement” or word games from the ADL. The ADL must withdraw the August 21, 2007 statement first and then unambiguously acknowledge the Armenian genocide, stop calling for a “historians’ commisssion” and stop lobbying against the Armenian genocide resolution and, as partial re-payment, publicly lobby FOR it.

    Read the following to see just how awful and unprincipled the ADL is:


    • Right Mihran:

      glad they were arrested: glad there is zero-tolerance in Poland for that sort of disgusting behaviour.
      Hopefully they will get the max 2 years and serve it full.

      It is astonishing that Jews like Ms. De Toledo and ADL Denialists do not see the widespread anti-Semitism in modern Turkey, and are blindly supporting Genocidal denialists, who would do the same thing to Jews and Israel if they could.

      Mr. Mouradian of ArmenianWeekly covered the disturbing undercurrents of anti-Semitism in Turkey in a 2010 article.
      Take a look.

      I mean these Turks are openly praising Hitler and displaying a Nazi flag.
      Sometimes one feels like grabbing De Toledos and Foxmans by the shoulders, shaking them out of their slumber, and asking them…. “…what the heck are you, yes You, thinking supporting these anti-Semitic denialist Turks ?”

    • Well I’m glad they got arrested and I hope they get sentenced. Let’s just hope one day Poland can show the same zero-tolerance mindset to their thousands of uncivilized and racist citizens who throw bananas and use racial slurs during soccer matches at black players.

  36. Sadly, ADL and its morally bankrupt leadership don’t see any light at the end of tunnel,they are hell bent in supporting Turkey through thick and thin by ignoring all human right norms.

  37. According to Israel’s Haaretz publication, Mr Foxman is paid $688,280 per year to run his “non-profit” ADL organisation of 417 employees with a budget of $50 million per year. He has direct access to the President and has been lobbying for years against AG recognition obstructing our american legislative process and damaging the reputation of the ADL through its hypocrisy.
    He continues his meddling in US foreign policy by denouncing US Iran policies and lobbying for increased sanctions against Iran in an attempt to scuttle those negotiations in unison with the Israeli Govt’s position.
    Americans aren’t interested in installing anyone into positions of legislative or judicial power who have demonstrated through their actions that they are simply lobbying organisations for foreign powers like the ADL. A judges loyalty should never be questioned.

    I hope the Governor will reject Mr Berman’s nomination to the Court (not because of his qualifications) but because of his leadership of a local ADL whose loyalties to foreign Govts under Mr Foxman are now being questioned.
    That is the issue at hand, Mr Whitman, not his religion or ethnicity.

  38. New information has come to light regarding the ADL’s Joseph Berman who is up for a judgeship in Massachusetts.

    This is from the tape recording of the hearing at the Governor’s Council. Mr. Berman was duly sworn in under oath.

    Several Councillors asked Mr. Berman questions.

    At one point, Councillor Jubinville asked Mr. Berman the following:

    “Have you called anybody, political types, or organizations, to let them know you had filed [for a judgeship], and asked for support?”

    “No,” answered Mr. Berman.

    Mr. Berman was then asked by Councillor Jubinville if he had called “any organization or a candidate or an elected official to seek help.”

    Mr. Berman replied, “Absolutely not; [the only people I called were those who wrote letters of recommendation on my behalf to the Judicial Nominating Commission or those who are appearing here today].”

    Later, however, under persistent questioning by Councillor Jen Cassie on the same topic, Mr. Berman finally acknowledged, nervously and hesitatingly, that he had that morning phoned State Senator Katherine Clark. At that time, the latter was a Congressional candidate, and soon to be Congresswoman for the 5th Congressional District, where Mr. Berman resides.

    “But,” added Mr. Berman, “that was only today.”

    Mr. Berman stated that Senator Clark had “volunteered” to call Governor’s Councillors Albano and Jubinville “on my behalf.”

    Mr. Berman then acknowledged having made “substantial donations” to Katherine Clark after he had filed his application (approximately February – March of 2013) for a Superior Court judgeship.

    When an individual is under oath and does not answer truthfully, what is the legal term for that?

    • OK, I will give it a try:

      a) Perjury
      b) Perjury
      c) Perjury
      d) All of the above.

      I am no attorney, but although perjury is rarely prosecuted (except when lying to FBI, for example), it certainly should disqualify the Denialist dishonorable Mr. Berman from holding any public office, much less a judgeship in any court, much much less lees in any Supreme Court – in this layman’s learned opinion.

      Now, I have a question:

      Why is Mr. Berman not out of the running yet ?
      Why are they still wasting time on him ?
      There is nobody else that is qualified for the Supreme Court in the whole State of Massachusetts ?

      (Sorry I lied: it was 3 questions, but I was not under oath…so I walk).

  39. Berman lost on March 5.
    The Massachusetts Governor’s Council voted 4-4, which is the same as a rejection. This is good news for us, and not good news for Governor Patrick, who met with President Obama the same day. Patrick wants to be the next US President. He had better stop supporting the genocide-denying ADL.

    From now on, any ADL member who is trying for a judgeship (or any post) anywhere can be questioned about his or her role in Genocide denial and rejected.

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