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Knesset members to attend Genocide commemoration events in Yerevan

Knesset members to attend Genocide commemoration events in Yerevan

PanARMENIAN.Net - Two members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, will attend centennial commemorations of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan on April 24. Members of the Knesset Nachman Shai and Anat Berko will attend the official 100th anniversary memorial in Yerevan, according to Asbarez.

Israel is walking a diplomatic tightrope in relation to the Armenian Genocide, Shai, who is a member of Israel’s Zionist Union party, said Tuesday, April 14.

“This is an event of deep historic significance,” Shai said. “For the first time in 100 years, the international community is finally recognizing the great injustice … Nationally, and for humanitarian reasons, it is the right thing to stand with a nation that suffered from such torment and a massacre that the world was careful not to admit took place.”

Shai called the event “the Armenian Holocaust,” pointing out that “the Jewish People sometimes don’t like it when other nations use the word holocaust, but it certainly was one.”

“It’s just like what the Nazis did to the Jews. One nation massacred another nation based only on their national and religious identity. [Ottoman] Turks were Muslim, Armenians were Christian. The Christians wanted their own state, and the Turks wouldn’t allow it.”

The Armenian government invited Israel to send an official delegation to the ceremony, and the Foreign Ministry asked the Knesset to have two members attend, though this does not mark a change in the government’s policy not to officially recognize the genocide.

Shai described the decision as a mature one by Israel, a realization that “nothing bad will happen if we make a gesture to the Armenians … The Turks may be mad, but we can’t close our eyes after 100 years.”

“Israel and the Jewish people can’t ignore the holocaust of the Armenian people,” he added.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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