Israeli Scholar Yair Auron Requests Information from Israeli Government on Armenian Genocide

Prominent Israeli scholar Yair Auron filed an official request with Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Dec. 21, 2017, asking for all internal documents on agreements and commitments undertaken by the State of Israel with Turkey and Azerbaijan not to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Auron is reads an extract from Armenian Genocide survivors Davit Melkonian’s and Hmayak Matevosian’s testimony for the “100 Seconds by Mediamax” project (Photo: YouTube)

The request, sent by Auron’s attorney Eitay Mack to the Foreign Ministry, states that “official Israeli denial of the Armenian Genocide is tied to its diplomatic and military relations with Turkey, and in recent years to the relations with Azerbaijan.”

Professor Auron’s request under Israel’s Freedom of Information Law explains that “Turkey has purchased from Israel training and military systems worth billions of USD. The arms deals included the upgrading of planes and tanks, radar and monitoring systems, missiles and munitions.” Azerbaijan has also purchased from Israel close to $5 billion worth of advanced weaponry.

In 2011, during the Knesset’s deliberations on the Armenian Genocide, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee Alex Miller unequivocally ruled out the possibility of Israel’s recognizing the Armenian Genocide—in order not harm relations with Azerbaijan, Israel’s “key strategic ally in the Islamic world.”

Professor Auron’s letter also quotes from several leaders of the right-wing “Yisrael Beiteinu” party stating that they will ensure that the Knesset does not recognize the Armenian Genocide. “Yisrael Beiteinu” is led by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Arye Gut, a propagandist for Azerbaijan and spokesperson for the International Israel-Azerbaijan Association, has affirmed that “Lieberman is one of the architects of the Azerbaijani-Israeli partnership.” In an interview with RTV-TV, Lieberman announced that the Armenian Genocide “was a theoretical, disputed historical issue and that the lack of recognition was not necessarily related to Turkey, but primarily to [Israel’s] strategic relations with Azerbaijan.” Professor Auron stresses that these arguments sound very similar to those who deny the Jewish Holocaust.

As an example of Israel’s close relations with Azerbaijan, Prof. Auron’s letter reports that “613 trees were planted” on Feb.  26, 2016, “at the Chaim Weizmann (first President of Israel) Forest, to mark ‘24 years to the Khojaly genocide,’ in memory of 613 victims, attended by MK [Member of Knesset] Avigdor Lieberman. Only Azerbaijan and Turkey mark this ‘genocide’ event. In recent years, official Israel has become a direct and indirect supporter of the purported Khojaly genocide claim. The battle of Khojaly took place in February 1992, in the midst of a cruel war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabagh [Artsakh] province. There are several versions as to what happened there, including the number of those who perished, but one thing is not disputed among the international community—no genocide by its common definition took place there.”

Professor Auron’s concludes his request from the Israeli government by stating that “one suspects that not only does the State of Israel ‘trade’ in the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but that it has taken upon itself real commitments on this matter, in agreements with Azerbaijan and Turkey.”

Attorney Mack specifically demands that the Israel’s Foreign Ministry disclose the following information:

  • “Any documentation of agreements, understandings, commitments vis-à-vis Azerbaijan and Turkey as to the question of recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”
  • “Any correspondence with Turkish or Azeri representatives on the question of recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”
  • “Any documentation of meetings or communications between the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Turkish or Azeri representatives on the question of recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”
  • “Decisions and position papers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as to the question of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, in view of Turkey and Azerbaijan’s objection.”

It remains to be seen whether the Israeli Foreign Ministry complies with Professor Auron’s legal request. Both the American and the British governments, which have similar laws on requirements to disclose internal information, have responded to similar requests from their own citizens, making secret documents on the Armenian Genocide public. It would be understandable if certain portions of the disclosed documents were to be blacked out by the Israeli government for reasons of confidentiality, to protect the identities of those providing the information or for national security reasons.

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About Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the United Armenian Fund, a coalition of the seven largest Armenian-American organizations. He has been decorated by the president and prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

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6 Comments

  1. It is highly doubtful that the Israeli government will comply.
    They will argue national security reasons.
    The sale of arms to Turkey and Azerbaijan cannot be the only reason that Israel is against the Genocide recognition. There must be other reasons and considerations.
    Vart Adjemian

  2. Well, as a result of Israel’s sale of at least five billion dollars worth of highly sophisticated military weapons to Azerbaijan, this therefore makes Israel an accessory to Azerbaijan’s continuous campaign of terrorism directed against Armenia and Artsakh (in which so many Armenian soldiers are being killed by Israeli military weapons).

    It actually doesn’t surprise me that the Zionist state of Israel has recently become a supporter of Azerbaijan’s hilarious “Khojaly genocide” claim. By supporting this horribly silly claim, Israel is therefore attempting to minimize the significance of the Armenian Genocide (the first modern genocide in world history); but then again, attempting to minimize the Armenian Genocide, is something which Israel has been aggressively doing since its illegal creation in 1948.

    As for the cultural genocide which Israel has been conducting (over the past seventy years) against the Palestinian population of Palestine (present-day Israel), not only does it not see anything wrong with this, but it’s actually deeply proud of all this.

  3. Non recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel for trade reasons with Turkey and Azerbaijan who are accused of the Armenian Genocide, is no surprise as Leiberman whose name was involved in relation with Azerbaijan, is one of the bloodiest Israeli leaders who not only killed and prosecuted Palestinian women and children, but also he is the leader of expansion of settlements in the occupied Arab lands, after the diplomatic failure of Trump and Israel in the last UN General Assembly.

  4. I hope his request includes an enquiry into the ethnic background of the high-level members of the Young Turks, to start with.

  5. Kudos to Prof.Auron, a rare, longtime voice for justice in the illegitimate, apartheid, hypocritical state of Israel. Armenian Genocide deniers can deny all they want to, but they can’t escape the empirical fact that the Ottoman Turks committed the first major genocide of the 20th century against the Armenians. The Jewish people do not have a monopoly on genocide. Prof. Akcam’s recent discovery of the “smoking gun” Ottoman documents should be the final nail in the coffin of AG deniers. But, as we all know, the AG deniers are heavily influenced by selfish considerations of Realpolitik (mainly involving billions and billions of dollars in arms sales or, in Turkey’s case, potentially bankrupting reparations payments to Armenians) and have no interest in justice for Armenians. If Armenians were as numerous as Jews throughout the world, no one would dare deny the AG. In many countries, denial of the Jewish Holocaust is illegal, and I have no problem with this; however, the same should be true for denial of the AG. Unfortunately, being a senior citizen, I don’t expect to live long enough to see this happen.

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