Truth is stranger than fiction: Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan is an Armenian

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev with Israeli Ambassador George Deek, December 2019 (Wikimedia Commons)

When I first heard that Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek, is an Armenian, I thought it couldn’t be true. However, I was astonished to find out that it is. As Mark Twain said: “Truth is stranger than fiction!”

Long before he became Israel’s Ambassador to Baku, Deek, in April 2015, tweeted a Facebook link with the message: “My father’s grandmother’s name was Antaraan Hambarian, an Armenian. She is a survivor of the Armenian tragedy of…”

The Facebook link was significant because it referred to an April 12, 2015 article titled: “Turkey angry at pope after ‘genocide’ remarks.” So Deek was aware that there was an Armenian Genocide, his father’s grandmother was a survivor of that Genocide, and her name was Antaraan Hamparian, even though he misspelled her first name which was most probably Antaram.

After Deek became Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan in 2019, several Armenians angrily criticized him for referring to the Armenian Genocide as a ‘tragedy’ in his 2015 tweet. Here are some of the disparaging replies: “Will you survive betrayal of your ancestors?” “She would be proud of you… serving two countries actively denying the very thing that robbed her of her own family.” “Probably she would be greatly ashamed of you.” “Your poor grandmother is turning in her grave, sorry you condone ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and genocide.” “I can’t believe you have Armenian roots! SHAME ON YOU 1,500,000 times then, for SUPPORTING TERRORISTS Azerbaijan and Turkey! IT’S A SHAME FOR US THAT YOU HAVE ARMENIAN BLOOD IN YOUR VEINS!” “Your great grandmother will spit on your face if she would hear what you say!”

On Sept. 30, 2021, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) posted on its Facebook page: “Most shameful diplomatic appointment in the history of diplomacy. Genocide survivor state Israel sending George Deek (a self-described ethnic Armenian descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors) as its ambassador to Azerbaijan, a country openly working to complete this crime.”

In July 2021, Deek angered Armenians again by tweeting: “Together with the diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan, I had the historic privilege of being the first Israeli Ambassador to visit the remarkable city of Shusha,” a noteworthy Armenian town captured by Azerbaijan during the 2020 war.

In an interview with The Times of Israel on January 13, 2023, Amb. Deek described himself as ‘an Arab and an Israeli.’ His father was an Orthodox Christian of mixed Armenian and Palestinian roots. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

The Times of Israel: “When you meet Azeris and they discover you’re an Arab Christian, what kind of reactions do you get?”

Amb. Deek: “Naturally, it’s surprising and confusing for most Azeris. The sense of surprise is great for helping me explain about the diversity of Israeli society. But frankly, at this point, I’ve stopped correcting them because it gets tiring. It’s still funny when on December 24, they still wish me a Happy Hanukkah rather than Merry Christmas.”

The Times of Israel: “As an Israeli Christian, what’s your perspective on the Armenian community – which consists mainly of fellow Israeli Christians – and the challenges they face in Israel, both in connection with the Jerusalem-Baku relationship and with other non-related issues?”

Amb. Deek: “I have deep sympathy for the Armenian community in Israel, and specifically in Jaffa, where I grew up. We share the same faith and many cultural traditions. Many of my friends from school and from youth movements are Armenian. I had teachers who influenced me immensely who are Armenian, and I consider them as close friends.”

On January 5, 2023, the Azeri website quoted the following declaration by Amb. Deek: “Israel is proposing its assistance to Azerbaijan in the setting up of ‘smart cities’ in Armenian districts occupied by Azerbaijan.”

On January 12, 2023, Amb. Deek was interviewed on-camera by for a story titled, “Beyond the visible: Excavating the depths of Israeli-Azerbaijani ties with Ambassador George Deek.”

Amb. Deek made the following alarming statement: “The most important event is when Azerbaijan entered the second Karabakh war and we [Israel] have been here standing shoulder to shoulder with our partner and friend Azerbaijan. Our strategic cooperation continued and intensified during that period but also on the humanitarian field. The fact that I took the risk to go to Ganja in the middle of the attacks on the city and to talk to the local community, to meet them, to provide humanitarian support with equipment like basic things from blankets and heaters and so on to people who lost their homes and everything they could. And I think that created also the connection in the hearts, not just in the minds, so I think the second Karabakh war showed Azerbaijan what we mean when we say friend, what we mean when we say partner. For us these are not empty words of diplomats…. These are things that come from the heart and they actually have a strong meaning for us…. Israel’s position has been clear about the Karabakh issue for a long time. Israel supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. It has done so in words and in deeds before the second Karabakh war and after the second Karabakh war.”

He also wrongly added that “practically, the Arab-Israeli conflict is basically over.” Amb. Deek not only does not have respect for his Armenian heritage, he also has no respect for his Palestinian heritage. He must have sold his soul to the devil for his job.

The most astounding aspect of Amb. Deek’s appointment is that Israel’s Foreign Ministry officials sent an envoy with an Armenian background to Azerbaijan! Despite Amb. Deek’s effusive words about Azerbaijan, I doubt if Pres. Aliyev and the people of Azerbaijan fully trust him. In Azerbaijan, they have nothing but hatred and contempt for any Armenian, even those who are partly Armenian.

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. This is incredible. Thank you for this coverage. Only when I thought the Israeli diplomatic corps could sink no further, I hear about Mr. George Deek. The choice of convenient friendships will comeback to haunt Israel. The values shared among Israeli civil society and Armenian civil society will triumph soon enough.

    • l wish but whenever armenia come close to lsrael,armenians in middle east especially in lebanon and jordan facing huge discrimination mob attacks to their shops before repatriate to our brothers in middle east we shouldnt do sign any agreement otherwise uncivilzed people of middle east will hunt civilzed christian armenians in streets we responsible bring them hayastan for better life.

  2. Well he is nothing compared to pashinyan and armenians lives in middle east and turkey&lran whose mostly works in jewelry field pay million dollars tax to turkish state lran regime arab states where is christians are persecuated and suffered not respected and christians lives as second class citizens while armenia exist we dont need diaspora within in turkey and lran and whole arab states its totally disgraceful and unrespectful to our honor and pride.

  3. I wonder if it’s easy to play ignorance…
    Or hypocrisy to serve in politics !
    Truth is so imaginary for media,
    the slave of Rotchield & Co.

  4. One: Having someone’s father’s grandmother Armenian does not make the person Armenian. He is a Christian Arab mostly. Two: even if he was fully Armenian, Armenians do not want peace with Azerbaijan, thanks to the Armenian Diaspora. You cannot do what Russia does with Crimea, go to Azerbaijan, and claim land just because you live there. You do not want to accept Azerbaijan as a whole, then suffer economically and politically.

    • Your history and analogy are totally flawed. After the end of WW1 in 1921 Nagorno Karabkh (Artsakh) was placed as an autonomous Oblast within Azerbaijan by Stalin despite the fact that it was 95% Armenian. Despite 70 years of persecution during Soviet times it was still 75% Armenian as the USSR was disintegrating in the late 1980’s. The Nagorno Karabakh people had a referendum and overwhelmingly voted to unite with Armenia. The government officials also overwhelmingly voted to unite with Armenia. This is when Azerbaijan began government sponsored Pogroms killing Armenians throughout Azerbaijan and bombed the civilian population in Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia came to their defense and thus started the first Artsakh war from 1988-94. There is no similarity to Crimea. And by the United Nations Charter of rights of self determination the people of Artsakh have every right to be free and independant.

    • @David
      You took the words right out of my mouth. You see, you can’t have the criminal leaders of the Soviet Union, who at the time in 1921 were 85% Russian-speaking but ethnically non-Russians and this according to Russian president Putin himself, illegally hand over Armenian territories to Soviet-invented artificial Azerbaijan-SSR and hold the land and the native Armenian population hostage for seventy years, and then claim the land as theirs. Sooner or later, the Armenians will be knocking on their doors demanding their lands back. Armenians could care less if artificial Azerbaijan republic is in whole, half or double but not at the expense of the indigenous Armenian population.

      Furthermore, even when this illegal seizure and misappropriation of Armenian lands occurred in 1921, the Soviet Union was not recognized as a state until a few years later which makes this illegal land transfer a land grab and a terrorist act. And contrary to what you are imagining, the territories in dispute were more than twice bigger in size in 1921 when they were seized from the Armenians than it was in 1988 when the Armenian Liberation Movement began. That is because racist leaders of Azerbaijan-SRR took several regions around the conflict zone and illegally integrated into Azerbaijan-SSR before the region was declared autonomous. Armenians are not and have never been interested in other people’s lands but they will always fight to return stolen Armenian lands and make Armenia whole!

      You got your story backwards!

  5. Very instructive, if somewhat tragic.
    Fear the day when Ankara and Baku will send their “Muslim ‘Armenian'” to serve as ambassadors who will start demanding all sorts of ‘cultural rights for Armenia’s non-existent Muslims and “Muslim ‘Armenians'” including conversion of churches into mosques and muslim “‘cultural’ centres” ending with prompting civil war and complete destruction of the state. The treasonous pashoghlu gang have already prepared the ground for such unimaginable treachery and destruction of Armenia’s nationhood and statehood.

    • Nato EU UN jehadist turkey lran arab states pakistan albania kazakhstan did same thing in 90s against bosniak occupied ancestral serbian lands while jehadist bosniaks enjoy visa free travel to EU but christian armenians needs bring thousands documents to eu states embassies is this really justice of civilzed world the west ?

    • It is not Pashinoglu who wasted 25 years to create an Armenian State with functional military, economy and diplomacy.

  6. I don’t see what all the fuss is all about. I wonder WHAT his true feelings are about his identity! Most Armenians of the diaspora have Four – five identities! Personally I have four and speak/read/write fluently in all four languages. At times I easily alternate between all four identities. Does that make me a traitor? Surely not. BTW Both my parents and both sets of grandparents are Armenian.

    • The issue ìs NOT identity “inknòutyoun” it is “belonging” that is “badganelioutyoun”.Unfortunately, we Armenians missuse these words.Identity is directly related to the person in question. On the other hand badganelioutyoun is collective and communal quality.

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