Israeli Professor: Process of recognition of Armenian Genocide proceeds brilliantly with outstanding results
YEREVAN, MAY 2, ARMENPRESS. Israeli researcher, Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem Israel Charny had his significant contribution in the development of genocide studies throughout the world. Professor Charny gave an interview to “Armenpress” on the issues of the Armenian Genocide and the denialism over it.
-Professor Charny, you have long been a staunch advocate for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. What is your assessment of that process at the moment?
-The process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide has proceeded brilliantly with outstanding –though still incomplete—results around the world. I think our efforts should continue, especially towards the two stubbornly disturbing countries of the USA and Israel. But I also agree with Harut Sassounian (Editor-in-Chief of “California Courier” journal) that the times has come when there is a basis for Armenians suing through legal channels for reparations and not only seeking recognition.
-Do you think that the recognition of this genocide by the international community might force Turkey to face its history?
-It certainly won’t hurt. The image and status of Turkey internationally is falling progressively, in my opinion. However, who knows what the next developments in Turkey will be. To maintain his fascist controls. Erdogan has persecuted so many people on charges of revolting that one can pray he himself will yet bring about popular resistance.
-As a genocide scholar how would you explain the phenomenon of denialism on the Turkish side?
-For me it is a mixture of motives—beginning with continuation of the very dark motives (such as claims of ethnic superiority) that made the genocide to begin with that have not passed, continuing with a desperate collective psychology of guarding against being shamed as a nation and culture, and add to those the dynamics in many an organization in this world that fight against change of any entrenched idea. Ultimately, the denial makes the Turks look like fools – and fascists.
-What role could the recognition play in the prevention of future genocide, while we witness genocides and mass atrocities in Syria today?
-The more human civilization establishes codes of honest history and clear recognition of acts of destruction, the better life could be on our planet—which tragically still acts like a psychiatric hospital that has spun out of control.
-You have also advocated for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel, though it never came true yet. How would you explain this? What are the main reasons for Israel to refrain from the recognition?
-Oh, dear God. Our shame as a country indeed continues and even deepens despite the fact that we have demonstrated overwhelming support for recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset, also by our fine President Rivlin, and by the people at large. For example, today’s Haaretz again publishes a prominent article calling for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and I have been informed by the electronic newspaper Times of Israel that they will be publishing a piece by me protesting the sale of Israeli arms to an enemy of Armenia. The culprit in our system is the government including the Foreign Ministry. And they remind me so clearly of the US State Department’s deep resistance to helping Jews in Europe during the Holocaust. (My bad luck is that these are the two countries in which I hold citizenship.) The realpolitik considerations of the Israeli government are of course the benefits of relationships with Turkey and Azerbaijan – both of which in my opinion are untrustworthy, let alone that in a matter of genocide I am convinced that moral principle should prevail over any realpolitik interests.