April 12, 2001

The Honorable Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Israel
Jerusalem, Israel

Re: Report in Turkish Daily News, Ankara, 10 April 2001

Dear Mr. Perez:

I offer you my deepest respects for your enormous contributions to the security and development of Israel, and to peace.

Nonetheless, it has been my privilege for many years not to agree with your position regarding the Armenian Genocide. It seems that because of your wish to advance very important relations with Turkey, you have been prepared to circumvent the subject of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1920.

(Thus you advised me in a telephone conversation in 1982 not to insist on including the subject of the Armenians in the First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide that we convened in Tel-Aviv, and I then made the decision not to give in to pressures of the Foreign Ministry to cancel the lectures on the Armenian genocide or to cancel the entire conference.)

It seems to me, according to yesterday's report in the Ankara newspaper, that you have gone beyond a moral boundary that no Jew should allow himself to trespass. You are quoted as follows: "We reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through but not a genocide."

For the record, in 2000, at a Conference on the Holocaust in Philadelphia, a large number of researchers of the Holocaust, including Israeli historians, signed a public declaration that the Armenian Genocide was factual.

Also for the record, in 1997, at the meeting of the Association of Genocide Scholars, the Association as a whole officially voted a resolution that the Armenians had been subject to full-scale genocide.

Even as I disagree with you, 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.


Prof. Israel W. Charny
Executive Director,
Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem, IsraelApril 12, 2001