Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives the ADL’s ‘Courage to Care’ award from ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in New York. June 10, 2005. (Photo: jta.org)

Hardly anyone — Jewish or otherwise — believes that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) genuinely cares about the welfare of Christian, Muslim, and other non-Jewish minorities in the Middle East.

After all, contrary to its claim to be a civil/human rights champion and “secure … fair treatment for all,” the ADL is essentially a political organization.

So when it launched its so-called Task Force on Middle East Minorities (TFOMEM) in late 2018, I suspected a political con job.

TFOMEM says it will spotlight “human rights offenses committed against minority communities in the Middle East.”

That sounds bizarre given that the ADL has itself committed human rights offenses against minorities and others right here in America.

Spying on Minorities

In 1992-3, police raided ADL offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The ADL had a “private spy operation that authorities alleged crossed the line into illegal territory,” reported the L.A. Times.

ADL operatives were surveilling hundreds of minority, civil rights, labor, and media organizations and associated individuals.  Among the targeted minority groups: NAACP, Asian Law Caucus, Latin American Support Committee, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Filipino Organization Committee, and Young Koreans United.

ADL spy Tom Gerard was a rogue San Francisco police officer linked to Latin American death squads.  His undercover ADL sidekick, Roy Bullock, called themselves “the kings of garbage” for scouring people’s trash for private material.

ADL agents spied on American opponents of Apartheid in South Africa and passed information to its government — hardly the conduct of a civil/human rights organization.

Narrowly escaping indictment by the San Francisco D.A. — who was reportedly under political pressure — the ADL still had to pay $50,000 to the city.

The ADL also settled civil rights lawsuits brought by victims of its snooping.

ADL Genocide Hypocrisy

In friendlier days, Israel and Turkey recruited the ADL and organizations such as the American Jewish Committee to deny/diminish the Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey from 1915-23.

These Jewish organizations and Israel also colluded with Turkey to defeat Armenian Genocide resolutions in the U.S. Congress.

Disgusted by the ADL’s genocide/Holocaust hypocrisy, in 2007-8 a dozen Massachusetts cities and the umbrella Massachusetts Municipal Association expelled the ADL’s sanctimoniously-named No Place for Hate program.  This made national and international headlines.

The ADL has never apologized to Armenians.  ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt’s 2016 acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide came in a mere blog post and only after decades of deceit.

The ADL, promised Greenblatt, “would support” (not will support) an Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress.  That alleged “support” apparently came only in a belated letter three years later, one day before the resolution was already assured of passage.

Just as No Place for Hate is a fig leaf for the ADL’s domestic political agenda, TFOMEM appears to be a smokescreen for the ADL and Israel’s Middle East political agenda.

That agenda: Weaken Israeli adversaries such as Iran, Syria, Shiite Muslims, and Turkish President Erdogan by any means possible.

TFOMEM will help by telling Americans that Israel’s adversaries, among their other wrongdoings, mistreat minorities.

Revealing Press Releases

TFOMEM’s three press releases since its launch are revealing.

Two welcomed Congressional resolutions on the plight of minorities in war-ravaged Syria and Iraq.  That aligns with Israeli policy.  Tel Aviv seeks to topple Syrian President Assad who is aligned with Iran and Hezbollah, the anti-Israeli Shiite militant organization.  Majority-Shiite Iraq is an Israeli target too.

TFOMEM’s third press release tried to bewitch American Christians by condemning Iran’s “arrest of over 100 Christians.”  Fewer Christians will be fooled, however, after the ADL’s attack on Christian Armenians.

Tel Aviv seeks, of course, to destabilize Iran by stirring its minorities, which include Arabs, Azeris, Bahais, Kurds, and others.

An Awkward Event

I attended a TFOMEM panel presentation at Tufts University, “Restoring Armenian Heritage in Turkey: Displaced Stakeholders of Sacred Heritage Sites,” on September 25 of last year.  It focused on three renovated Armenian churches in eastern Turkey — Armenians call it Western Armenia — and a Greek monastery.

Tufts was probably chosen because of its longtime relationship with Greater Boston’s Armenian American community and Armenia.

Also discussed was the 2007 assassination by a Turkish extremist of Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian journalist and Turkish citizen.

The presentation contained little new for the Armenian Americans who comprised half of the some thirty attendees.

The panelists were Tugba Tanyeri Erdemir, PhD, an archeologist/historian and TFOMEM’s  Coordinator; Cly Wallace Aramian, MA, a communications/public affairs specialist and Tufts graduate; and Elizabeth H. Prodromou, PhD, a Greek American political scientist at Tufts and human rights advocate.

Despite her last name, Aramian is not even a token Armenian.  Her former husband is Armenian.

Erdemir is an ethnic Turk and Turkish citizen, like her husband and fellow TFOMEM member Aykan Erdemir, PhD.  A noted author on Turkey’s mistreatment of minorities and indigenous non-Turks, he’s a senior director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-Israel think tank.

He served in Turkey’s parliament from 2011-15 as a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) founded by Kemal Ataturk, who continued the Armenian Genocide after 1918.

Israel and CHP despise President Erdogan and want to topple him and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).  Israel hopes a post-Erdogan/AKP Turkey would restore the countries’ warm relations.

Might hostility to Erdogan/AKP, rather than human rights considerations, partly explain why the ADL invited the Erdemirs into TFOMEM?

Other Members

TFOMEM members change but include two Iranian Jews, undoubtedly because Iran is an Israeli target.

One is Sharon Nazarian, PhD, Senior ADL VP for International Relations. She reportedly opposes “racial hatred.”  Perhaps she’ll look into the ADL’s record on Armenians.

The other is Marjan Keypour Greenblatt, MA, wife of Jonathan Greenblatt who authored the ADL’s half-baked blog post referenced above.

Other members include a Christian Egyptian Copt and several Muslims.  But no Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, or Palestinians.

The other Christian is Rev. Johnnie Moore, a public relations guru, Trump campaign manager, and member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.  When the latter recommended the State Dept. put autocratic Azerbaijan on its “Special Watch List” for religious repression, Moore was Azerbaijan’s lone defender.  He has visited Azerbaijan, an Israeli ally, twice.

Israel sells the latter billions in advanced weapons while Azerbaijan sells oil to Israel.

Might these facts, rather than human rights considerations, partly explain why the ADL invited Rev. Johnnie into TFOMEM?

Fatally Flawed

TFOMEM members are surely aware of the ADL’s appalling record on minorities.

TFOMEM’s non-Jews probably hope, nonetheless, that the ADL’s money and muscle can somehow help their ethno-religious compatriots.

Exposing a country’s mistreatment of its minorities is certainly noble.

But TFOMEM will ultimately be of little or no benefit to minorities anywhere as long as it’s a tool of the duplicitous ADL.

The author is a Massachusetts-based freelance journalist.  Many of his articles can be found at www.Armeniapedia.org/wiki/David_Boyajian.


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3 Comments

  1. The author of the article is an amazing researcher who zooms at the truth with courage. I have not seen anyone question his reporting. I wish he would write more often. As to the ADL, anyone who follows its activities soon concludes the league is an extension of Israel’s foreign ministry prancing as a U.S. human rights group. The ADL occasionally does the right thing so as to cover its real agenda. Blowhard Foxman (!), who ran ADL for decades, is gone but his brainchild continues the dance macabre.

  2. Avatar Mike Joseppie says:

    Great article. thank you Mr. Boyajian
    Many of us , the intellectual minorities, knows this fact.
    I like to make few points if I may:
    1- The power of the media must be taken away from the few who control it, because most of the people see only what has been portrayed.
    2- More people are to get deeply involved in studying, checking and investigating what goes on behind close doors.
    3- Groups of “REAL” minorities must work together to counter racist organizations who are disguised under the image of humanitarianism.
    4- Kurds, Assyrians, Yezidies, Greeks, Armenians and others have to form coalitions to defeat any organization who works against them.
    5- Real minorities must constantly preach and advocate realities that has been falsified by “non-humanitarian” institutions, and try to topple whomever attacks directly or indirectly their interest.
    6- Make sure that our voices be heard and work on silencing the voices of the other group.
    7- Try to weaken the efforts of our enemy every chance you have, and unite with those who are in the same boat.. Thus,support BDS and any organization that helps our cause.
    8- Don’t listen to lip service, but instead inquire direct and straight answers in any public forum, not in private.
    9- Expose the truth
    and
    10- Speak up, and keep in mind that you should only trust your own kind.
    Trust is a dangerous attribute.

  3. Avatar David Davidian says:

    For the Turkish “Sultan,” Erdogan to receive a “Courage to Care” award from any organization is the height of hypocrisy. The ADL bestowed such a distinction was because it was in the interest of Israel at the time. That is fine, but other interests also have an opinion regarding Erdogan. He is an Islamic-centric autocrat, who wants to recreate parts of the Ottoman Empire.

    What was ADL’s “TFOMEM” reaction when pro-Turkish Islamists threatened the Armenian minority in Lebanon with a second genocide last week? Silence!

    Where was the ADL’s “TFOMEM” only a few days ago when Turkish jets bombed Yazidi villages and refugee camps in Northern Iraq? It was nowhere.

    If the ADL only cares about the Jewish people and Israel, that is perfectly fine. Just let the rest of us know and not play childish games in the meantime.

    The ADL finds itself on an exciting cheerleading team! Erdogan was awarded the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in 2010. Honorary Doctorate degrees bestowed upon Erdogan include those from The Islamic University of Gaza, University of Aleppo, Mecca’s Umm Al-Qura University, Pakistan’s Quaid-i-Azam University, Al-Quds University, Mohammad V University,
    University of Algiers, International Islamic University of Malaysia, Turkman Institute of International Relations, Qatar University, Jamia Millia Islamia. The ADL still could rescind its award to Erdogan.

    Pro-Turkish policies, such as those of the ADL, only encouraged Erdogan, who today is on the rampage to control much of the Eastern Mediterranean, threatening everybody in its way. In retrospect, ADL’s policies were rather foolish. What will they look like tomorrow?

    Yerevan, Armenia