Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül (Photo: Wikipedia)
Citing sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Ha'aretz reports that Turkey is pressuring Israel to compel American Jewish organizations to reverse their recognition of the Armenian Genocide. So far, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, perhaps the two most recognizable Jewish political organizations in the U.S., have publicly declared that the events of 1915 constituted genocide. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül expressed disappointment that Israel had not done anything to prevent these declarations, and talks between the Pinhas Avivi, the Israeli ambassador in Ankara, and Gül escalated to "unpleasant tones" [טונים צורמים] (Ha'aretz Hebrew).
The report is rather incredible, and reveals the bizarre spell that the phenomenon of Jewish diplomacy continues to exert on supposedly rational actors in the international state system. It appears that the Turkish Foreign Ministry truly believes in the existence of a cabal that initiates and enforces policies for all of world Jewry. The State of Israel now plays the role once attributed to the Rothschilds. I have always thought of Turkish diplomacy with respect to the denial of the Armenian Genocide as rather clever. Now it turns out that one of its guiding assumptions seems to have been the belief that American Jewish organizations take their marching orders from Jerusalem. I know that this thesis is popular among certain groups in the U.S. and elsewhere as well; the believers will hardly be persuaded by evidence to the contrary. The Turkish Foreign Ministry would do well to study the role played by Jewish groups in the American political system as well as the views of U.S. Jews on foreign and domestic policy, without the blinders of stereotypes about Jewish conspiracies.
The impact that the recognition decision of the ADL as well as the (characteristically) quieter AJC has made is astounding. In Turkey, government officials apparently "admitted that the ADL's shift in position was a setback for Ankara" (Turkish Daily News). Somehow, vast powers have been attributed to these Jewish organizations in the fight for and against House resolution 106, which would have the U.S. officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.