James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Abe Foxman is Right

Every week while Congress is in session I review the bills passed the previous week. During my scan, I also notice the non-binding resolutions that passed. Most of the resolutions are useless, such as congratulating the Detroit Tigers for winning the American League last year (waiting until July to make this empty gesture).

But many resolutions are worse than useless, and seemed purposely designed to damage our foreign relations. They lecture other countries on how to manage their own affairs, and urge them to apologize for actions taken by previous governments a long time ago. Imagine Venezuela passing a resolution asking America to apologize for Jim Crow. Or Sweden telling the United States to abolish the death penalty. Or China expressing "concern" about America's border patrols. Americans would rightfully say, "Shut up! It's none of your business!" Such resolutions would unnecessarily provoke tension between the two countries. Yet it is commonplace for Congress to insult other countries this way.

What has this to do with Abe Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League? Paul Gottfried tells us "he has worked to block congressional action to condemn the mass murder of one million Armenians in 1915 by Turkish military divisions." Why would he do that? " Because of "concern about the feelings of the Turkish government, which has good relations with the Israeli state."

To the extent I think of Foxman at all, I don't think well of him, because making a living by making false or exaggerated charges of bigotry isn't something I respect. And I'm not sure of Foxman's purpose here, because I don't know how, exactly, a Congressional resolution would damage Turkish-Israeli relations, or what this has anything to do with the Jewish community Foxman supposedly represents.

But regardless of his motives or alleged hypocrisy, Foxman is quite correct that "the Jewish community should not be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress." Congress shouldn't have passed this resolution because a) it is pointless, and b) because, to borrow from above, "of concern for the feelings of the Turkish government, which has good relations with the" United States.

We may have a personal distaste for Turkey's refusal to call it a genocide, but there are far more important issues that the United States and Turkey have to deal with right now. Why create a wholly avoidable diplomatic headache for ourselves?

1 comment:

  1. While I agree with you I can't stand to agree with Abe Foxman on anything.

    This looks like a classic case of "it depends on who's ox is being gored"