Politics 11:15 20/09/2023 Armenia

Righteous Jews urge pro-Azeri Rabbis to cancel planned conference in Baku

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

Shortly after I wrote a column two weeks ago condemning European pro-Azerbaijan Rabbis for planning to hold their conference in Baku, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from 18 mostly Jewish prominent individuals, including eight righteous Rabbis, who condemned the trip to Azerbaijan and called for its cancellation.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis of the UK, the 18 signatories wrote: “We earnestly seek to initiate dialogue with you to appeal the decision of the Conference of European Rabbis and ensure that this conference does not go ahead in a country that is so opposed to the core values of Judaism and the teachings of the Torah.” The letter quoted Prof. James Russell of Harvard University who recently wrote: “It takes bullets to kill people, but indifference pulls the trigger.”

The letter described “the grave humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Artsakh” caused by Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only route linking Artsakh to Armenia, thus risking the starvation of 120,000 Artsakh Armenians. The letter stated that Azerbaijan is a country “widely recognized for having one of the lowest rankings in the world for upholding political rights and civil liberties.”

This group of righteous Jews wrote: “We are saddened that this prominent organization that represents so many Jewish people across Europe is, by choosing to host their conference in Baku, supporting the Azeri government rather than standing up for human rights and living and breathing the lesson of the Shoah -- ‘never again’. While we acknowledge and appreciate the freedom that Jews can enjoy in Azerbaijan, the fact that these same inalienable rights do not extend to other minorities and religions in the country give us cause to worry about how long Jews will be able to enjoy freedom in what is otherwise a totalitarian government in the Muslim world…. Despite numerous international appeals and the decision of the International Court of Justice, the authorities of Azerbaijan have callously ignored calls to lift the blockade, disregarding the agreement signed in November 2020 by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia regarding unimpeded traffic through the Lachin Corridor.”

The letter was signed by: Tamar Fyne, Seda Ambartsumian, Josh Kirk, Benjamin Nahum, Rabbi Avidan Freedman (Director of Yanshoof), Prof. Israel Charny, Dr. Oded Steinberg, Rabbi David Rosen, James R. Russell (Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies, Emeritus, Harvard University), Scott Jason, Lernik Jason, Michael Stone, Rabbi Yehoshua Engelman, Rabbi Tyson Herberger (Associate Professor of Religion and Religious Education, University of South-Eastern Norway), Rabbi Shimon Brand, Rabbi Irving 'Yitz' Greenberg, Rabbi Chaim Seidler Feller and Rabbi Alana Suskin.”

In a separate statement issued jointly by Israel W. Charny and Rabbi Avidan Freedman was titled: “This Kosher certificate for Azerbaijan stinks.” They explained that the 50 European Rabbis, who had written to the leaders of Armenia complaining about Armenians using of the term genocide, “are being used by Azerbaijan to prove the government’s Kosher bonafides to the world, and to shut the world’s ears to the cries of the afflicted.”

Charny, the director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, and Freedman, a Jerusalem-based educator and Orthodox rabbi, stated: We “say in the clearest terms possible that in our eyes, this rabbinic letter misrepresents the facts, misunderstands the fundamental moral significance of the Holocaust, and misses a major pillar of Jewish ethics.”

Charny and Freedman then enlightened the pro-Azeri Rabbis about the true meaning of the terms Holocaust and genocide: “In the Encyclopedia of Genocide, the word ‘holocaust’ was used to refer to the Armenian Holocaust in 1909, and even earlier in other contexts, and the word ‘genocide’ was coined in 1942 by a Polish Jewish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin, to describe the crime that had been committed against the Armenian people by Turkey, and that was then being committed by Germany against the Jews. The entry on the topic in the encyclopedia ends with the following conclusion: “the word (holocaust) belongs historically to all people’s suffering, and certainly that it not become a basis for excluding the suffering of any other people.”

Charny and Freedman described the pro-Azeri Rabbis “claim that any contemporary comparison of the suffering of people is a desecration of the holy memory of the Holocaust, and a belittling of the Jewish people’s suffering is itself an absurd desecration of Holocaust memory.”

Charny and Freedman explained that “What the European Rabbis letter does is to cynically weaponize the memory of the Holocaust in order to enable the infliction of mass suffering. After all, these rabbis do not deny that 120,000 residents of Artsakh are in danger of starvation because of the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan. They do not deny that Azerbaijan is using mass starvation as a tactic for political gain. But by silencing Armenian criticism of Azerbaijan’s actions, they are the ones who cynically use the ‘Holocaust card’ for political purposes.”

Charny and Freedman concluded their statement: “The decision of these rabbis to raise their voices on the side of the oppressor is a desecration of Holocaust memory and of Jewish values. In the spirit of this season of repentance, we call on the Conference of European rabbis, or at the very least, on individual rabbinic members of conscience, to have the moral courage to remember their rabbinic duty, and retract their decision.”

Source Panorama.am
Share |

Related news

Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Armenian envoy: UN has yet to meet its obligations vis-à-vis Nagorno-Karabakh people
The United Nations and its respective bodies and structures have yet to meet their obligations vis-à-vis the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,...
Video shows Tigran Avinyan singing
A video circulating on social media shows Yerevan Mayor Tigran Avinyan singing out load "O Sole Mio," a famous Neapolitan song, at an...
Putin has no plans yet for talks with Pashinyan, Kremlin says
Russian President Vladimir Putin has no plans yet to communicate over phone with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is expected to...
Expert says Russia's ban on Armenian goods has 'political motives'
Russia has blocked the entry of Armenian trucks for “violating sanitary measures”. Hundreds of Armenian trucks have been stuck at...
Azerbaijan summons French, German and U.S. envoys
Azerbaijan on Tuesday summoned French, German and United States representatives to protest at their "illegal funding" of local media,...
Opposition MP slams Armenian leaders for Artsakh remarks
Opposition Hayastan bloc MP Ishkhan Saghatelyan has lambasted the Armenian authorities for their statements on Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)....
Artsakh issue remains unresolved, claims ex-security chief
The Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) issue has not been resolved, Samvel Babayan, former secretary of the Artsakh Security Council and army commander,...
Azeri paper attacks Sassounian for saying Azerbaijan wastes billions on lobbying
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier Last week, I was asked by Alpha News TV to comment on the U.S. Senate’s...
Stepantsminda-Larsi road closed to trucks
The Rescue Service has warned drivers of a closed road in Armenia as of Wednesday morning. In particular, the road linking the Amberd high...
US funding for Ukraine arms poured into Pennsylvania, Arizona and Texas
The Biden administration has been circulating on Capitol Hill the first breakdown of which U.S. states have benefited from the billions of...
Azerbaijan uses rats in demining operations in Aghdam
Rats have been involved in demining operations in Azerbaijani-occupied Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Azerbaijani media reported on Tuesday, citing...
Parliament speaker says time will come when Armenians and Azeris will 'live side by side'
The time will come when Armenians and Azerbaijanis will “live side by side and engage in trade”, National Assembly Speaker Alen...
President: Why should Artsakh's state institutions function in Armenia?
Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan claims the functioning of Artsakh's (Nagorno-Karabakh) state institutions in Armenia is inexpedient....
Ukraine intelligence chief’s wife poisoned
The wife of Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate, has been poisoned, The Daily Beast said, citing local...
Armenia eyes more gas imports from Iran
Armenia eyes an increase in gas imports from Iran in the coming years, Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Gnel Sanosyan...
Armenia's oldest woman dies at 104
Armenia’s oldest known person, Arzho Chilingaryan, has died aged 104. She lived in the village of Itsakar in Tavush Province....
Customs attaché reveals when Upper Lars border crossing will reopen
Traffic along the Gudauri-Kobi road section of the Mtskheta-Stepantsminda-Larsi highway has been stalled due to a risk of blizzards and...
Armenia reports 25 Lyme disease cases in nine months
Armenia confirmed 25 cases of Lyme disease in January-September this year, 9 cases more than in the same period last year, according to the...
Classical and modern Armenian films to screen at Tbilisi Int'l Film Festival
The 24th Tbilisi International Film Festival is underway, and the National Cinema Center of Armenia has received an official invitation to...
Pashinyan, Blinken discuss Armenia-Azerbaijan 'normalization'
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday had a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The interlocutors...
World's largest iceberg on the move
The world's biggest iceberg — which is roughly three times the size of New York City — is "on the move" after being...
Armenian inscriptions found during excavations in Jordan
Armenian inscriptions have been unearthed during excavations in a castle in Jordan built by the Crusaders in the early 12th century. The...
Azerbaijan damaged another Armenian cemetery in Shushi
Azerbaijan damaged another Armenian cemetery in the Artsakh town of Shushi between October 5 and November 3, Caucasus Heritage Watch (CHW)...
Stepantsminda-Larsi highway closed to traffic
The Stepantsminda-Larsi highway connecting Armenia and Russia via Georgia is closed to all vehicles as of Tuesday morning, the Armenian Interior...
Armenia hosts qualification events for FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Championships
From November 27 to 29, the qualification tournaments for the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships are taking place at the Chess...
Two Artsakh blast victims complete treatment in Belgium
Two victims of September’s fuel depot blast near Stepanakert, Artsakh, who were moved to Belgium for burns treatment, have recovered and...
Coffee and cocoa stored in EU warehouses at risk of destruction
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coffee and cocoa stored in EU warehouses risk being destroyed as an unforeseen consequence of the...
Le Monde: After Russia's 'betrayal', Armenia seeks new security partners
Russia is no longer a reliable partner for Armenia and “distrust” of Moscow has never been greater, Le Monde reported on Monday....
Aram Khachaturian memorial plaque unveiled in Tbilisi
A memorial plaque has been put up on a house in Tbilisi where great Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian lived, the Armenian Embassy in Georgia...
Vagif Khachatryan's jail sentence challenged in Baku
The prison sentence handed down to Artsakh Armenian Vagif Khachatryan has been challenged in Baku’s Court of Appeals, Azerbaijani media...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}