The mention of the Armenian Genocide by President of Israel Reuven Rivlin during his speech in commemoration of the Jewish Holocaust at the UN General Assembly was actually indirect recognition of the Armenian Genocide, political scientist Hmayak Hovhannisyan told Tert.am.
The international community is making similar comments on the Israeli president’s speech as well.
“The Israeli president also clearly mentioned at the UN the fact that, however hard one has to ignore the truth for political reasons, it will inevitably require admission. His statement was a weighty one and inspires hopes that the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide will gain new momentum on the threshold of the centennial, in defiance of Turkish diplomatic cunning,” he said.
Surrounded by Islamic states, none of which has so far recognized the Armenian Genocide, Israel has had to remain passive, avoiding an official recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
“It should be noted that numerous renowned Jewish figures both in and outside Israel have repeatedly raised the issue of the Armenian Genocide, drawing parallels with the Jewish Holocaust, especially in the context of methods and purposes of annihilation of people. They pointed out that Turkey-committed Armenian Genocide, inspired Hitler and German Nazis to commit the Holocaust. By mentioning [the Armenian Genocide], the Israeli president unequivocally said that that the atrocity proved a precedent for the organizers of the Jewish Holocaust,” Mr Hovhannisyan said.
Asked whether the Israeli president’s statement could cause any problems in Turkey-Israel relations, the expert said that different states interpret any global problem in their own interests.
“Certainly, the Armenian Genocide has now become a problem states are seeking to use as a means of forcing Turkey into changing its behavior in their own interests. They are also trying to make the problem a touchstone of Turkey’s readiness to adopt a policy of adopting the western set of values. As a most important nation in the Middle East, which plays a major role in the western civilization, Israel considers it important to test Turkey’s conduct and intentions,” Mr Hovhannisyan said.
In remarks in front of the General Assembly on Wednesday, Mr Rivlin said, in particular:
“In 1915, the days of the Armenian Genocide, Avshalom Feinberg of the NILI underground [A Jewish spy network in Ottoman Palestine] wrote the following: ‘My teeth have been worn away by anger, who is next? I have walked on sacred and holy ground, on the road to Jerusalem, and asked myself if it is this time that we live in—1915–or in the days of Titus or Nebuchadnezzar? And I asked myself whether I may cry for the hurt of the daughter of My people alone and if Jeremiah did not shed his tears of blood also for the Armenians?’”
Rivlin added: “Feinberg wrote that exactly 100 years ago. 100 years of hesitation and denial. In the Land of Israel of the time, in which I was born, no one denied the murder that occurred. The residents of Jerusalem, my parents, saw them coming by thousands, starving, burning sticks snatched from the fire. In Jerusalem they found refuge and their descendants live there to this day.”
Political scientist Ruben Mehrabyan points out that the Israeli president’s speech was actually indirect recognition of the Armenian Genocide. He advises remembering that the issue has for years been within the context of Turkey-Israel relations.
“It is sociological surveys conducted in Israel that show that most of Israel’s population views the events as nothing but genocide. I am sure that Israeli society has no problem about it. Another question is that it has not so far been legally formulated given the context of Turkey-Armenian relations,” he said.
Israel had for year been Turkey’s ally – even until Recep Erdogan’s presidency. However, Turkey’s Middle East policy has caused tension in the bilateral relations.
“Their relations were affected long ago, with more and more problems arising. Calls about the 1915 events are gaining strength in Israel now, with even officials calling the events genocide – and the president himself has uttered the word now, which is unprecedented,” Mr Mehrabyan said.
As to the possibility of Israel officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide, he said:
“Given the Israeli society’s logic, one day Israel will officially recognize it. It just needs some time and a way to pass. Regrettably, Armenian-Israeli political and economic relations are at a much lower level now than they could have been.”