May 6, 2005
On Armenian Genocide
Opinion writers Christine Thomassian and Shabtai Gold take Israel to task for not taking a stand on the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 by Turkey (“Who Remembers the Armenians?” April 29).
Why pick on Israel? How many nations have officially condemned Turkey for that massacre? Isn’t it being a trifle precious to demand that Israel, a nation under attack by the Europeans and most Islamic states, take a stand against the one Muslim country generally friendly to it?
I have seen pictorial exhibits commemorating the victims of Pol Pot and Hiroshima. None of those displays show Jewish or Roma victims of the Holocaust. Also, while Holocaust memorials are springing up all around the world, I have yet to hear of such a memorial set up by the Armenians.
As brutal and intense as the Turkish massacre was, Turkey had no intention of killing all Armenians wherever they could be found. The Nazi’s genocidal ambitions were global.
Thomassian and Gold admit that some Armenians sided with the Russians against their country and justify that action by saying that “no one should be expected to go like sheep to the slaughter.” This has the faint odor of justifying present-day Arab attacks on Jewish civilians. Jewish and Roma people did nothing to provoke the genocide visited on them.
As a people whose mission is to be a light unto the nations, Jews in general and Yad Vashem in particular should commemorate
the suffering of our fellow human beings. However, when we still feel the pain of our own suffering and when we are under attack, self-criticism for failing to keep our mission in mind is unjustified.
Color in Gray Lady’s Sin
To those of us who knew and had relatives in the Europe of World War II, the conduct of The New York Times was probably criminally negligent in downplaying the onslaught of the Holocaust (“Counting the Gray Lady’s Sins,” April 15). It must be recalled, however, that there was a genteel and a not-so-circumspect climate of antisemitism at the time.
When I alighted from a troop train in Spartanburg, S.C., during World War II, the first thing I saw were water fountains, separately labeled for colored and whites. Later, at Camp Croft, the supply sergeant told us if we wanted our uniforms altered to fit, we should go to the “Jew tailor” in town. The shame and horror of the Holocaust helped create Israel and eventually brought on cultural inclusiveness. Today, with all its silliness, political correctness might not be such a bad idea, considering what it followed.
Refuse Offensive Ads
Has the Forward no shame in publishing the advertisement from the Stop the Expulsion organization that appeared in the April 22 issue (“Warsaw 1943 or Gaza 2005?”)? I fully know about First Amendment rights, but every publication has the right to accept or reject ads.
At the very least, a Jewish newspaper should not have lower standards about inappropriate advertising than general papers — particularly when it comes to outrageous abuse of symbols of the Holocaust, such as the Warsaw Ghetto and the classic photo of the terrified young boy with arms raised before Nazi soldiers.
New York, N.Y.
For reasons too obvious to list, the Stop the Expulsion ad is too offensive to bear. You should have refused to accept it. Shame on you.
New York, N.Y.