In a sign of the level of tension between Israel and Turkey, Ankara this year did not turn to Israel for help in Washington to fight the resolution that passed a House committee Thursday classifying the World War I killing of Armenians as genocide, a diplomatic source said.
In years past Ankara had looked to Israel, and Jewish groups in Washington, to fight the resolution that came up almost every year. The passage of the resolution in the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has triggered a crisis in Turkish-US ties.You mean to say that up till now the Turks--descendants of the folks who perpetrated the proto-Holocaust, the one that fired up Hitler's genocidal ambitions--have counted on Jews--the victims of the Holocaust and afterwards, its deniers--to come to bat for them in order to fudge the historical record? I understand the realities of realpolitik and all that, but even so, Jews for Armenian Holocaust Denial strikes me as a Faustian bargain of the first order.
The resolution will now go to the House floor for a vote. A similar resolution passed the House Committee in 2007, but then-President George W. Bush urged Congressional leaders not to table the vote because of concern for US-Turkish relations.
That year Turkey's ambassador to Israel, Namik Tan, who is now Ankara's envoy to the US, told The Jerusalem Post that Turkey expected Israel to "deliver" American Jewish organizations and ensure that the US Congress does not pass a resolution.
In 2007, Anti-Defamation League national director Abe Foxman incurred Turkish wrath when he issued a statement saying that the Turkish actions toward the Armenians from 1915-1918 were "tantamount to genocide."
At the time, Tan said "Israel should not let the [US] Jewish community change its position. This is our expectation and this is highly important, highly important." Turkey's concern then was that the ADL decision would open the dikes and enable the passage in Congress of the resolution.
One diplomatic official said that this time Ankara did not ask for Israel's assistance in lobbying against the resolution on Capitol Hill, as it has done in years past.
There could be a number of reasons for this change in policy, the official said. He said Ankara might have believed that its own lobby in Washington could effectively do the job, or -- because the tension in ties with Jerusalem -- it simply did not want to ask Israel for a favor at this time...