NEW YORK, September 6, 2007–Abe Foxman’s limo circled the 92nd Street Y warily a couple of times to give him a chance to survey the scene across the street. A group of 40 to 50 young Armenians and Jews were protesting the Anti-Defamation League’s continued lobbying to have HR/SR 106 (a symbolic Congressional resolution that recognizes the Armenian Genocide) die without a floor vote, at the behest of Turkey.

Finally, Foxman ducked into the building to participate in a panel discussion on “anti-Semitism in the modern world and its implications.” Ironically, the discussion was moderated by Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum, author of “The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right.” The event had been sold out for days, so The Stiletto does not know whether Rosenbaum asked Foxman why he failed to do the right thing in recognizing the Armenian Genocide until several communities in MA refused to accept the ADL’s tolerance promotion program, “No Place For Hate” in their schools.

Some protestors were holding handmade signs demanding that the ADL fire Foxman over his Armenian Genocide denial, others were holding signs demanding that Foxman support HR/SR 106. Among the slogans they chanted non-stop for more than an hour:

“Fox’s bargain is a shame!
No more denial in our name.”

“Gars, Auschwitz, Rwanda Sudan.
Many a murder, when will it end?”

“What did Hitler say?
Who remembers the Armenians?
We do. We do. We do.”

“ADL must support Resolution 106”

And the ever-popular:

“What do we want? Justice.
When do we want it? Now.”

The Stiletto caught up with a woman who gave her age as “60ish,” just as she was about to enter the Y to hear Foxman. She was interested in what Foxman had to say about “contemporary anti-Semitism.” Asked what she thought about the crowd protesting the ADL’s Armenian Genocide denial, she mused, “Does ‘never again’ mean for everybody or just for Jews?” She answered her own question: “It is important for Jews to recognize the Genocide. We are conscious of other people’s oppression, not just our own.”

As it was nearly 8:15 pm and the rest of the ticket-holders were scurrying inside so they could take their seats before the evening’s program got under way, The Stiletto crossed the street to meet some of the protesters and find out why they opposed Foxman’s positions on the Armenian Genocide and on HR/SR 106.

“I am Jewish,” said documentary filmmaker Lauren Kesner, 30, “but I have very strong Armenian connections because I lived in Armenia for several years working on a film” about the 1994 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh region. That film, “A Story of People In War & Peace,” had its U.S. premiere (video link) at the Tribeca Film Festival a few weeks ago.

Kesner believes the ADL’s position on the Armenian Genocide is realpolitik, plain and simple: “Turkey is Israel’s most important ally in the Middle East. Because the Jewish community supports Israel, they don’t want to get on Turkey’s bad side.” Recognizing that the Armenian Genocide is “a sensitive issue” for supporters of Israel, she nevertheless insists that, “Jews – of all people – need to stand up to the injustice of genocide, because of how the Holocaust traumatized the Jewish community worldwide.”

The Armenians she lived amongst are still haunted by the Genocide, and “it rubs salt in the wounds to deny it.”

The anti-Foxman protest is the first of many that will bring Armenians and Jews together to fight for justice, said Doug Geogerian, 38, who sits on the board of the Eastern Region of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), a grassroots lobby that promotes Armenian-American issues. He marvels at how Foxman “is using the ADL and its reputation of having fought the KKK and neo-Nazis, to collaborate with the Turkish government and deny the Armenian Genocide.”

Geogerian added, “Supporting Turkey benefits Israel. But there is also a cost – a cost in public integrity. Many Jews are starting to feel that the cost is too great.”

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog.

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