19 October 2006

1150) Jewish Holocaust And The Armenians by Türkkaya Ataöv

One can discern, off and on, some effort on the part of some Armenian authors and their close supporters to associate the notorious Jewish Holocaust of the Nazi period (1933-45) with Armenian-Turkish relations during the First World War (1914-18).

There are sweeping generalizations stating that unfortunately there had been "no Nuremberg"1 (Nürnberg) for the defeated Ottomans in 1918. There are even attempts to lump together Fascist Germany, the United States, Israel, South Africa, Britain, El Salvador, Guatemala and Kampuchea under the collective heading of "genocide".2 While the latter source makes an unqualified, onesided and highly objectionable generalization on the Ottoman Empire in just two sentences in the whole book,3 another source draws parallels between the Armenians, Jews, Bangladeshis and the Hutu.4 There also exist, largely Armenian-inspired, outright comparisons of the Armenian and the Jewish cases.5 . .

William Wordsworth, immortal English poet said in a poem: "Like–but oh, how different!" One may agree with Alexandre Dumas (fils): "All generalizations are dangerous-even this one." The danger of historic comparisons is obvious. All-inclusive assumptions quoted in the first paragraph are over-simplifications.

They strike one as 'too liberal' refutations of veritable differences in terms of origins, accumulation, circumstances, and results. Concisely, in various phases of European history, dominant Christian groups living on that continent, who needed to

externalise and project their unwanted "bad" parts unto others and thereby feel themselves as "good", killed and expelled the inoffensive Jews. The citation of Europe only in the previous sentence does not necessarily connote the non-existence of antisemitism even in the United States - moreover, even currently.6

It was Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904), a professed antisemite German writer,7 who coined (1879) the term “antisemitism”. Although there was no clear distinction between early and modern Jew-hatred,8 it included old and new ideas and concepts embracing racist as well as religious notions.

This chapter does not intend to chronicle the development of antisemitism in different periods of history or in various countries.9 It may never be easy to fully explain this phenomenon. Scholars will probably continue to discuss the relative importance of many factors facilitating its spread.10 World libraries are full of printed works describing the Jews as a unique religious, historical and a cultural phenomenon. They were perhaps the oldest minority having spread virtually all over the world. Being nowhere more . .


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