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When It Comes to Genocide, You Can’t Split Hairs

When it comes to genocide, you can’t split hairs. Historically, we Jews have watched as others let their own self-interest take precedence over our safety. Now, as the tables are turned, as we face the opportunity of naming as genocide the 1915-1916 massacres by Ottoman forces against Armenians, we must speak truth to power. When it comes to genocide, you can’t split hairs…

Thankfully, the Jews are helping lead the way…
JTA reports today, In close vote on Armenian genocide, Jewish members deliver anguished “yeas” (10/12/2007 ).

Members of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs ignored party lines this week in a close vote Wednesday approving a resolution recognizing the massacres carried out in 1915 and 1916 by Ottoman forces against Armenians as a genocide. But the tally among Jewish members on the committee — all of them Democrats — was overwhelming: 7-1 in favor. Overall, the motion passed the committee in a 27-21 vote — 19 Democratic and 8 Republican in favor, 8 Democrats and 13 Republicans opposed — despite last-minute warnings from President Bush and his top aides that the resolution could harm U.S. relations with Turkey.

Lawmakers from both parties openly anguished, with some appearing to make up their minds only at the last minute. And, despite the overwhelming support of Jewish committee members for the resolution, nowhere was the anguish more palpable than in the comments of some of these lawmakers, as they struggled to balance their Holocaust-related sensitivity to the issue of recognizing genocide and concern for maintaining strong ties with Turkey, a friendly pro-American pro-Israeli Muslim beacon in a hostile neighborhood.

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