69 million page views

Opportunism

Reader comment on item: An Israeli Apology to Turkey
in response to reader comment: Israel has discredited itself

Submitted by Kachkarian (United States), Mar 30, 2013 at 14:19

I suppose the notion of US or Israeli official recognition of the Armenian Genocide does feel opportunistic at this stage, but every sovereign government acts opportunistically. Canada, France, Italy and Russia all extended parliamentary recognition to the Armenian Genocide, and while I can certainly see the opportunism in the French and Russian actions by virtue of their large Armenian diasporas, in the case of Canada, Italy, Poland, Germany (partially), and a host of other countries, the motivation is less clear. They are simply on the right side of humanity.

It would be better than nothing. Parliamentary recognition has the effect of changing political culture, extending to school textbooks and the way issues are treated in the mass media. I believe that non-recognition by the US has its roots in a hostage swap by Britain after World War I, when the new nationalist government in Ankara held several British soldiers captive, and the British had Ottoman troops on Malta. The Brits were examining the genocide issue, and in fact the Ottoman government had tried and executed several Ottoman officers in Istanbul on genocidal charges. It all stopped very suddenly, and it feels now as though the US simply followed Britain's lead. Unfortunately, today Turkey is the most homogeneous Muslim-majority country in the world (as well as one of the most pious) and most Turks believe this to be a fundamental strength. I believe it is a weakness, and I think that the removal of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and others has left in its wake a society that is intellectually on life support.

As for your comments about the transformation of Israeli society, I have never been to Israel although I would love to go and will one day. American Jews who have been many times have told me to keep in mind that Israel is first and foremost a Middle Eastern country, not a European one (I have always tended to conceive of it as the latter, because European Jews were apparently instrumental in the push for its foundation after the Dreyfus Affair in France made scapegoats of them, and Israel bears many of the traits of a Western, secular state). Yet I think your description of complacent shopkeepers losing the will to stand up for their national achievements is not inconsistent with the notion of a "civilized country," as I have to believe Israel is. There can be no comparison with its neighbors in that regard. As such, it has to survive, and its neighbors have to accept it - and Jews - as a permanent part of the regional and international fabric. I hope in that we can all agree.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Opportunism by Kachkarian

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)