Armenian–Jewish relations

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Armenian–Jewish relations are complex, often due to political and historical reasons.

Comparisons[edit]

Jew and Armenian by James Tissot, 1880s, Brooklyn Museum

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,[1][2] which along with the Cambodian genocide and the Rwandan genocide are considered among the most notorious genocides of the 20th century.[3] 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.[4][5][6][7][8]

Charles William Wilson wrote in the 11th edition of Encyclopædia Britannica (1911):[9]

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."[10]

History[edit]

An Armenian priest in Jerusalem (left) and a Jew in Armenia circa 1900 (right).

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.[11] Today, there is only a small, mostly Russified Jewish community of 800 in Armenia still remaining.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

Israel supported Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh War against Armenia in the early 1990s.[15][16][17] 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'."[18]

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.[19]

Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, stated that Armenians are treated as "third-class citizens."[20]

Jewish/Israeli position on the Armenian Genocide[edit]

Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Yerevan

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.[21] Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer, coined the concept of Genocide as a crime against humanity, basing it on the Armenian experience.[22][23][24]

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.[25]

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:

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."[27]

The Knesset failed to vote for the Armenian Genocide bill in 2011.[28] Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, among its supporters, stated "It is my duty as a Jew and Israeli to recognize the tragedies of other peoples."[29]

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

Notable people of mixed Armenian-Jewish descent[edit]

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles[edit]

Other[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sanjian, Ara. "Richard Hovannisian and David Myers, Enlightenment and Diaspora: The Armenian and Jewish Cases (book review in English)", Haigazian Armenological Review, vol. 21 (2001), pp. 405–410. See here "This is not the first attempt, of course, to compare certain aspects of Armenian and Jewish history. Previous comparative endeavors, however, had mostly dealt with the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in relation to the Jewish Holocaust of the Second World War."
  2. ^ "Armenia". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 12 August 2013. The fate and modes of existence of the Armenians have been compared in some essential features to those of the Jews.
  3. ^ Jones, Adam (2013). Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Routledge. p. 268. ISBN 978-1-134-25981-6.
  4. ^ Burns, John F. (14 June 1982). "William Saroyan's long journey from Fresno to his ancestral land". New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 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.
  5. ^ Keller, Bill (11 September 1988). "Armenia and Its Neighbors Only Diverge". New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 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.
  6. ^ Specter, Michael (15 July 1994). "Armenians Suffer Painfully in War, But With Pride and Determination". New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 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.
  7. ^ Edmonds, David (18 November 2009). "The lion and the tiger". Prospect. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Armenia" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
  10. ^ "Israeli Minister of Agriculture Speaks About Similarities Between Histories of Armenians and Jews". Armenian Mirror-Spectator. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  11. ^ Neusner, Jacob (1965). A History of the Jews in Babylonia, Volumes 1-5. Brill Archive. p. 27. 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.
  12. ^ "Armenia". National Coalition Supporting Soviet Jewry. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Jerusalem The Old City The Urban Fabric and Geopolitical Implications" (PDF). International Peace and Cooperation Center. 2009. p. 43. ISBN 965-7283-16-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  14. ^ Aubry de La Motraye (1723). A. de La Motraye's Travels through Europe, Asia, and into parts of Africa. London: Printed for the author. p. 189.
  15. ^ R. Hrair Dekmejian & Hovann H. Simonian. Troubled Waters: The Geopolitics of the Caspian Region, 2003, p. 125 "In addition to commercial links, Israel has given strong backing to Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which reportedly has included military assistance."
  16. ^ Sedat Laçiner, Mehmet Özcan, İhsan Bal. USAK Yearbook of International Politics and Law 2010, Vol. 3, p. 322 "Israel was one of the strategic partners and supporters of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh War with Armenia."
  17. ^ Bahruz Balayev, The Right to Self-Determination in the South Caucasus: Nagorno Karabakh in Context, Lexington Books, 2013, p. 73 "Israel has supported Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia for the enclave of Nagorno Karabakh."
  18. ^ Laciner, Sedat (2002). "Armenia's Jewish Scepticism and Its Impact on Armenia-Israel Relations". Journal of Turkish Weekly. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  19. ^ Danielyan, Emil (26 January 2005). "Armenia: Country's Jews Alarmed Over Nascent Anti-Semitism". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  20. ^ "'We are third-class citizens,' says Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem". Haaretz. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  21. ^ Bushinsky, Jay (20 August 2004). "The Armenian genocide : Face history's heartbreaking truth". New York Times. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  22. ^ Yair Auron. The Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide. — Transaction Publishers, 2004. — p. 9:"...when Raphael Lemkin coined the word genocide in 1944 he cited the 1915 annihilation of Armenians as a seminal example of genocide"
  23. ^ William Schabas. Genocide in international law: the crimes of crimes. — Cambridge University Press, 2000. — p. 25:"Lemkin’s interest in the subject dates to his days as a student at Lvov University, when he intently followed attempts to prosecute the perpetration of the massacres of the Armenians
  24. ^ A. Dirk Moses. Genocide and settler society: frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history. — Berghahn Books, 2004. — p. 21:"Indignant that the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide had largely escaped prosecution, Lemkin, who was a young state prosecutor in Poland, began lobbying in the early 1930s for international law to criminalize the destruction of such groups."
  25. ^ Der Mugrdechian, Barlow (December 2000). "Dr. Yair Auron Analyzes Jewish Response to the Armenian Genocide Through New Research". Hye Sharzhoom. California State University, Fresno Center for Armenian Studies. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  26. ^ Fisk, Robert (18 April 2001). "Peres stands accused over denial of 'meaningless' Armenian Holocaust". The Independent. Archived from the original on April 16, 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  27. ^ Депутат парламента Израиля: "Считаю глубоко оскорбительными и даже богохульственными попытки сравнивать Катастрофу европейского еврейства в годы Второй мировой войны с массовым истреблением армянского народа в годы Первой мировой войны". Day.Az (in Russian). 28 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  28. ^ "Israeli minister calls to recognize Armenian genocide". Reuters. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  29. ^ Lis, Jonathan (31 May 2011). "Knesset Speaker working to boost recognition of Armenian genocide". Haaretz. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  30. ^ Banerjee, Neela (19 October 2007). "Armenian Issue Presents a Dilemma for U.S. Jews". New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  31. ^ "AJC Pays Tribute to Memories of Victims of the Meds Yeghern" (Press release). AJC. 23 April 2014.
  32. ^ "Resolution on Armenian Genocide". Jewish Council for Public Affairs. 16 October 2015.
  33. ^ Edmonds, David (18 November 2009). "The lion and the tiger". Prospect. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  34. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (19 June 2011). "Elena Bonner, Widow of Sakharov, Dies at 88". New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  35. ^ Glad, John (1990). Literature in exile. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8223-0987-1.
  36. ^ Shefler, Gil (8 April 2013). "UN Watch to bestow Kasparov with human rights accolade". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  37. ^ "Garry Kasparov". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  38. ^ Bauer, Laurel (12 September 1993). "The Moves Of A Mental Matador". Chicago Tribute. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  39. ^ "А всему виной телефон ..." Central Jewish Resource. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2013. Евгений Петросян, у которого мама еврейка. А вы знаете, что считается не по папе - армянин, а по маме - еврей.
  40. ^ Arkun, Aram (15 June 2012). "The Two Hollywood Worlds of Richard Shepard". Armenian Mirror-Spectator. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  41. ^ "Jackie Speier". J Street. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  42. ^ Vartanian, Hrag (1 April 2004). "Michael Vartan: A Face That's Hard To Forget". Armenian General Benevolent Union. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  43. ^ Bloom, Nate (3 June 2005). "Celebrity Jews". Jweekly. Archived from the original on March 13, 2006.
  44. ^ "Georgian Prime Minister Proud His Mother Is Armenian". PanARMENIAN.Net. 10 June 2004.
  45. ^ "Jewish Community Mourns Sudden Loss of Georgian Prime Minister". Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS. 3 February 2005. Archived from the original on March 24, 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2013.