Jews and Armenians are in disagreement over genocide
Watertown has been the site of an intense debate over whether or not to halt its participation in the "No Place for Hate" program. The Anti-Defamation League is a sponsor of the program, which helps communities fight hate crimes. The "No Place for Hate" program sounds like a good thing – who doesn't want to stop hate crimes?
Unfortunately, to many Watertown residents, the Anti-Defamation League is indeed a place for hate. Many Armenian Americans live in Watertown, and the Armenian Library and Museum of America is right on Main Street. The fact that the Anti-Defamation League will not acknowledge the Armenian genocide, when Ottoman Turks slaughtered up to 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, was not going to go over well in Watertown.
The Watertown city council, including the infamous Marilyn Devaney, voted unanimously last night to get out of the No Place for Hate program. However, the town wants to keep fighting hate crimes – without the help of the Anti-Defamation League.
According to Chris Helms at the Watertown TAB, the city council meeting was "packed" with people. Andy Tarsy, the regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, tried to defend the group's position and met with "hisses and boos and cat calls."
The TAB notes that the "No Place for Hate" sign outside Town Hall has already been taken down. Some residents of other towns participating in the No Place for Hate program, like Arlington, want to follow in Watertown's footsteps.
As H20Town points out, the ADL's refusal to recognize the genocide is a "bizarre and disappointing stance for an organization formed to protect the rights of Jewish people from bigotry." The ADL clearly has a lot to work out, only they won't be doing it in Watertown.
Pressure mounting on ADL program
The ADL's curious indifference to the Armenian genocide
On Armenian Genocide, Politics Trumps Truth
A genocide not to be denied
Kick the ADL out of Watertown, Massachusetts