World history is not full of examples of fortitude, rigor and steadiness of peoples’ spirit, which endured infinite number of sufferings and deprivations. An example of manhood in this worthy line is the co-existence of two old nations – Jews and Armenians, who, despite all the difficulties and ordeal, miraculously summoned the strength not only to survive, but also, on the path of their struggle for life, to enrich the world spiritual heritage with achievements in culture and science. The imposed reality in the depth of historic identity of these two old, and by the will of tragic fate diasporal peoples, explains the peculiarly mutual understanding and respect towards each other. There is no Armenian or Jew in the world, who is or will be indifferent to the sufferings and death of innocent victims, to the fact of the two horrendous crimes against humanities committed in the 20th century.
My parents and their families endured all the horrors of evacuation, exile and concentration camps. Fortune brought them to Armenia, where I was born and live for 60 years. I am doubly grieved, but, at the same time, I clearly understand, why shameful efforts are exerted in some circles, through false “documents”, analysis, that do not fit any logic, to spread enmity among the world Jewry towards Armenia and the Armenian people. An article by a blogger, calling himself “Israel Barouk” in Times of Israel is yet another naïve attempt. I suppose that Mr. Barouk, who lives in Los-Angeles, and publishes peremptory statements in the forms of articles, has never visited Armenia and has no clue about the history of Armenian people and about more than 2000-years-old history of the Jews in this country. However, with a striking perseverance he demonstrates an “in-depth” knowledge on preferences of the Armenian people and Armenia.
Taking a group of Armenian students at the University of California in LA, he attempts to propagate an overt hatred against Armenians and Armenia in the Jewish milieu. Some articles have been published recently with exactly similar statements, penned by well-known Turkish and Azerbaijani analysts, and amongst them is an article by “Israel Barouk” which looks like part of pro-Azerbaijani advertisement (http://sdjewishjournal.com/site/7541/in-defense-of-peace-and-hope/). It is beyond any doubt that the latter “analysis’ is yet another failed attempt of Turkish-Azerbaijani propaganda machine, which is disseminated in the US and Israeli media in the recent months, on the eve of Centenary of the Armenian Genocide which is being marked in 2015. This strategy has been unfortunately aimed at deflecting the Armenians from the Genocide Centenary and spending their resources on countering the genocide deniers and massive anti-Armenian campaigns launched and supported by the Azerbaijani oil revenues. It is unfortunate that even some politicians in Israel have given in to these propaganda manipulations, consciously or unconsciously becoming victims themselves and sacrificing the Israeli public opinion and Israel’s long-term interests to such cheap Turkish-Azerbaijani joint propaganda projects.
Returning to the above-mentioned articles, one should use the word “failed” in its widest and most overwhelming sense, as the analysis contains all the known criteria of an inferior media outlet, i.e. false information, concealment of the truth and bottom lines of this type – that “All cats are mortal, Socrates is mortal, therefore Socrates is a cat.” Here he “craftily” does not ever contrast Armenia with Azerbaijan, which he had advertised previously, in order to “hide” the customers’ tracks.
Whatever stance a couple of Armenians take – young students at the University of California – that do not constitute any percentage of the Armenian population of the USA, there is no excuse to present it as if it were the opinion of all Armenian Diaspora of America. In the same way, one should not appeal to the activity by some Jewish lobbyists, pushing the interests of Azerbaijan, as if it is the Jews’ and Israel’s stance towards the Armenian people.
In Mr. Barouk’s article attempts by some persons of the Armenian community to cooperate with Nazis’ Germany during WWII are depicted as contribution to the Holocaust. Historic research of that period, as well as sources of that time reveal that the aforementioned persons tried to establish contacts with representatives of Nazi Germany to save Armenians from total extermination, as in case of unsuccessful end of war (which the defeat at Stalingrad could have become), Turkish troops, deployed along the Soviet Armenia’s border, craved for invasion. These people also tried to save Soviet soldiers of Armenian origin in captivity. They had no relation to the extermination of the Jewish people. By the way, numerous legions were assembled by Soviet captives of other nationalities, including the Azerbaijanis.
The author forgets to mention that Armenians, both in the Soviet Army and in Diaspora – in the USA, France, and other countries – were on the front line in the fight against Nazism and Fascism. In spite of small number and geographic distance from the places, where Holocaust was committed, quite a number of Armenians lent a helping hand to Jews during those horrible years and got the honorable title of “Righteous people for peace” – something, the visitors of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem are reminded of – a reality, which the author is consciously tacit about.
Referring to Modern Armenia, unlike the abovementioned persons, involved in cheap politicking, in the worst sense of the word, I do know this wonderful country and the people not by hearsay. Born and bred as a Jew, I, as one of the founders of the Jewish community of Armenia, can assure can declare with confidence, that Jews always enjoyed the respect of the Armenian people and more than amicable attitude of the authorities. There is no and has never been any expression of anti-Semitism in Armenia. Armenian national idea has never been directed against any people, let alone Jews. To voice slogans, like the one which the Azerbaijani National Front voiced in Baku, in 1990 – “Azerbaijan will prosper without Jews and Armenians” – is the last thing anyone here may think of. This is part of reality, which the author withholds, as he prefers either to keep silence deliberately, or is not aware, because as in the case of “know-all experts”, writing articles of such kind, he, obviously, has never spent a day in Armenia.
Do not get me wrong, in no way do I try to accuse Azerbaijani people of anti-Semitism, just the opposite! If my fellows live well in that country, I can not but welcome that. I just consider immoral the propaganda of non-existent anti-Semitism in Armenia which is done for the sake of politics of that state (i.e. Azerbaijan). I find the behavior of the so-called “experts”, who try to poison the world Jewry against the Armenian people, speculating with national dignity and pursuing whatever political goals, extremely reproachful.
Referring to the opinion poll, held by the Anti-Defamation League, the author once again falsifies facts, mentioning that, allegedly, this organization recognized Armenian Genocide. It is well-known fact, that ADL on numerous occasions raised calls on the denial. In addition, the opinion poll’s methodology was doubtful, and its results are used by the anti-Armenian propaganda in an overtly selective and entirely distorted way. Firstly, according to the results of the very poll, much more anti-Semite answers were given in Azerbaijan, and, secondly, as a Jew, I was surprised by what answers ADL leadership considers being the criteria of anti-Semitism. If such a poll is held in Israel, it is highly likely, that by ADL’s criteria, that country would not avoid either being labeled anti-Semitic.
Thus, here is the question; who benefits from pushing forward these false theses? The answer, to me, is apparent. Thus, I call upon journalists, experts, as well as some politicians, time and again presenting only pro-Azerbaijani and anti-Armenian articles and views to refrain from further attempts to speak on behalf of Jews and impose yet another non-existent conflict on the world Jewry. As to the Jewish media outlets, I ask them not to provide an opportunity to spread such one-sided analytical articles. As to specialists, calling themselves “experts”, as a Jew – to the Jews, I invite them in person to visit Armenia to enrich their professional experience and take more unbiased stance.
President of the “Menora” Jewish Cultural Center in Armenia
Honored Worker of Art of the Republic of Armenia
Member of the Composers’ League of Israel