November 23, 2006 - 16:35 AMTPanARMENIAN.Net
- Armenian Genocide
denier and controversial Middle East historian Bernard Lewis was amongst those honored by President Bush this month with the prestigious National Humanities Medal, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) President Bush, joined by First Lady Laura Bush, bestowed the medal at a November 9th ceremony held in the White House Oval Office. Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University in the department of Near Eastern Studies, began his career as a historian with an honest assessment of the Armenian Genocide as a "terrible holocaust." He soon reversed his position, serving as leading spokesman for the Turkish government's denial campaign. Lewis' genocide denial became international news on June 21, 1995, when a French court condemned him for statements he made during a 1993 interview with French newspaper "Le Monde." The case, which argued that Lewis' statements caused harm to Armenian Genocide survivors, was filed by the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism and the Forum of Armenian Associations, representing a number of French Armenian organizations, including the ANC of France. The Court found Lewis "at fault," stating that, "his remarks, which could unfairly revive the pain of the Armenian community, are tortuous and justify compensation." Lewis was symbolically fined one franc and "Le Monde" was ordered to reprint portions of the French court judgment, which appeared two days later.
"The President's decision to honor the work of a known genocide denier - an academic mercenary whose politically motivated efforts to cover up the truth run counter to the very principles this award was established to honor - represents a true betrayal of the public trust," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.