Armenian–Jewish relations are complex, often due to political and historical reasons.
The Armenians and the Jews have been often compared in both academic and non-academic literature since at least the early 20th century, often in the context of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, which along with the Cambodian genocide and the Rwandan genocide are considered among the most notorious genocides of the 20th century. Historians, journalists, political experts have pointed out a number of similarities between the two ethnic groups: the wide dispersion around the world, the relatively small size, the former lack of statehood, the fact that both countries are largely surrounded by Muslim and mainly hostile countries, their influential lobby in the United States, their success in business and as model minorities, and even their success in chess.
The Armenians are essentially an Oriental people, possessing, like the Jews, whom they resemble in their exclusiveness and widespread dispersion, a remarkable tenacity of race and faculty of adaptation to circumstances.
During her visit to Armenia in 2012, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture Orit Noked stated, "We are like each other with our history, character, with our small number of population and having communities abroad."
The first contacts between the Armenians and the Jews date back to the antiquity. Tigranes the Great, under whom Armenia reached its greatest extent, deported thousands of Jews into Armenia in 1st century BC. Today, there is only a small, mostly Russified Jewish community of 800 in Armenia still remaining.
Armenians have had a presence in Israel for centuries. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem was founded in 638. It is located in the Armenian Quarter, the smallest of the four quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. According to a 2006 study, 790 Armenians live in the Old City alone.
One of the earliest mentions of the Armenians and the Jews is in the 1723 book Travels through Europe, Asia, and into parts of Africa by French traveler Aubry de La Motraye, where the author writes that the Armenians and Jews are "reckon'd more honest" compared to the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire.
Israel supported Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh War against Armenia in the early 1990s. According to the Journal of Turkish Weekly, "Turkey's and Israel's good relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan cause conspiracy theories in Yerevan, and the radical Armenians argue that the Jews play the main role in this 'anti-Armenian great strategy'."
In 2004, a private TV company named ALM owned by Tigran Karapetyan has "used the platform to air views that portrayed Jews as an unsavory race bent on dominating Armenia and the wider world." In 2005, Armen Avetisyan, the leader of a small radical nationalist party, Armenian Aryan Union, was arrested on charges of inciting ethnic hatred. The Holocaust memorial in a Yerevan park was vandalized in 2004.
Jewish/Israeli position on the Armenian Genocide
Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (1918), one of the major primary sources discussing the Armenian Genocide, was written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr., an American Jew. Similarly, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933), one of the best-known novels about the Genocide, was written by Franz Werfel, an Austrian Jew. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer, coined the concept of Genocide as a crime against humanity, basing it on the Armenian experience.
There has been a controversy around the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel. It is suggested by Yair Auron that Israel doesn't want to hurt its relations with Turkey and wants to retain the "uniqueness" of the Holocaust.
In 2001, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres described the Armenian Genocide as "meaningless." In response, historian and genocide expert Israel Charny accused Peres of going "beyond a moral boundary that no Jew should allow himself to trespass." In his letter to Peres, Charny stated:
|“||It seems that because of your wishes to advance very important relations with Turkey, you have been prepared to circumvent the subject of the Armenian genocide in 1915–1920 ... it may be that in your broad perspective of the needs of the state of Israel, it is your obligation to circumvent and desist from bringing up the subject with Turkey, but, as a Jew and an Israeli, I am ashamed of the extent to which you have now entered into the range of actual denial of the Armenian genocide, comparable to denials of the Holocaust.||”|
In 2008, Yosef Shagal, former Israeli parliamentarian from far-right Yisrael Beiteinu in an interview to Azerbaijan media stated: "I find it is deeply offensive, and even blasphemous to compare the Holocaust of European Jewry during the Second World War with the mass extermination of the Armenian people during the First World War. Jews were killed because they were Jews, but Armenians provoked Turkey and should blame themselves."
The Knesset failed to vote for the Armenian Genocide bill in 2011. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, among its supporters, stated "It is my duty as a Jew and Israeli to recognize the tragedies of other peoples."
After some previous opposition, Jewish lobby groups in the United States have joined in the call for recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the U.S. government. Grassroots activism by Jewish Americans was influential regarding this issue. In 2014, the prominent American Jewish Committee paid tribute to the memories of the victims of the Genocide of Armenians. The AJC called on the government of Turkey to not only provide full access to the historical record of that dark period but also to address the realities the records reveal. In 2015, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs adopted a Resolution on Armenian Genocide that calls on the U.S. Congress and U.S. President to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Notable people of mixed Armenian-Jewish descent
- Levon Aronian (Jewish father, Armenian mother), Armenian chess grandmaster
- Yelena Bonner (Armenian father, Jewish mother), Soviet and Russian human rights activist
- Sergei Dovlatov (half-Jewish father, Armenian mother), Soviet journalist and writer
- Garry Kasparov (Jewish father, Armenian mother), Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, considered by many the greatest chess player
- Yevgeny Petrosyan (Armenian father, Jewish mother), Russian comedian
- Aram Saroyan (Armenian father, Jewish mother), American poet (son of William Saroyan and Carol Grace)
- Richard Shepard (Jewish father, Armenian mother), American film and television director
- Jackie Speier (Jewish father, Armenian mother), US Congresswoman from California
- Michael Vartan (Armenian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian father, Jewish mother), French-American film and television actor
- Zurab Zhvania (Georgian father, mixed Jewish-Armenian mother), Georgian politician
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The fate and modes of existence of the Armenians have been compared in some essential features to those of the Jews.
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In common with Jews and other scattered peoples, the Armenians have fostered a pride that goes beyond their mountainous corner of the transCaucasus, not much bigger than Vermont, which is all that remains of an empire that ranked with Byzantium and Persia in the ancient world.
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Like the Israelis, the Armenians are united by a vivid sense of victimization, stemming from the 1915 Turkish massacre of 1.5 million Armenians. Armenians are brought up on this story of genocide, and have a feeling of being surrounded by actual or potential enemies - the Islamic Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.
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Like Israel, another small country surrounded by enemies with a hauntingly similar character and history, Armenia puts its single-minded goal -- the rugged mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Azerbaijan -- ahead of everything.
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The parallels between Jews and Armenians are striking. Both have well-knit diasporas—there are more than three times as many ethnic Armenians living outside the country as inside and remittances are key to sustaining the economy. Both have strong lobby groups in Washington. Both take inordinate pride in the achievements of their ethnic group—singer Cher and tennis player Andre Agassi are two Americans that Armenians claim as their own. Both have histories marked by identity-shaping tragedies. And both Israel and Armenia are small nations and chess giants.
- Bryce, James (1877). Transcaucasia and Ararat: Being Notes of a Vacation Tour in the Autumn of 1876. London: Macmillan and Co. p. 311.
The Armenians are an extraordinary people, with a tenacity of natural life scarcely inferior to that of the Jews, and perhaps, even more remarkable, since it has not been forced upon them by such unremitting persecution.
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Tigranes took a large number of Jews captive, and deported them to Armavir and Vardges on the Ksakh river, which became a great commercial center.
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Евгений Петросян, у которого мама еврейка. А вы знаете, что считается не по папе - армянин, а по маме - еврей.
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