02 November 2007

2146) Prof. Norman Stone Addresses the ADL's Abe Foxman

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com The following is a letter written by Professor Norman Stone to Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, when the latter caved in to Armenian pressure without regard to the facts, and accepted the "genocide" definition. The idea was, of course, to get the politically-motivated Mr. Foxman to see the light, presuming Mr. Foxman would set a higher priority to the truth. Let's hope he will, but let's not hold our breath.

The ADL has a program called "No Place for Hate," but evidently they only care about select peoples. By acknowledging a false genocide that perpetrates hatred, the ADL has become accomplices for hatred.

(Of course, the Armenians were extremely "foxy" in pressuring Mr. Foxman of the ADL, and other Jewish groups, in an atmosphere both Armenians and Jews have had much to do in creating, making designated genocides sacrosanct. Jewish groups such as the ADL could not afford to be branded as "genocide deniers," and thus the weaker-willed among them had no choice but to buckle.)

An article by Norman Stone follows.

Dear Mr. Foxman,

I am writing to you about the resolution, recently-published, of the ADL, concerning the Armenian events of 1915 in Turkey.

Dr. Norman Stone. Ironically, he was part of PBS's "The Great War," which crazily affirmed the Armenian tale. (Stone lent his expertise on Russia here.)

My qualifications for doing so are I think such that any historian of the period would vouch for me: I taught at Cambridge and Oxford for thirty years before taking early retirement from the Chair of Modern History, and going to Turkey. I have just had published a book about the First World War (Penguin) which is currently being translated into a number of languages and will no doubt shortly appear in the USA. Beyond that, I have started a book about Russia and Turkey in the 1878-1930 period. A friend in Istanbul has asked me to write to you about the recent statement concerning the Armenian massacres in 1915. I am afraid to say that there will be some dismay if the Anti-Defamation League makes even such carefully-expressed assertions as to whether the massacres amounted to a genocide.

The chief authority is surely Bernard Lewis at Princeton. He told a French newspaper some years ago that there is no document proving the (genocidal) intentions of the Ottoman government, and, on the matter of definition, 'it depends what you mean by genocide'. His reward for this was to be sued in the French courts, and he even lost one of the cases with a symbolic franc's damages. Be it said that the Armenians used as lawyer one Maitre Verges, who defended Carlos the Jackal, a notorious holocaust-denier, and other such unsavoury characters; he volunteered to defend Saddam Hussein as well. But there are other frankly well-qualified authorities in the USA, better-qualified in terms of academic record than anything to be found on the Armenian side. Guenther Lewy (who has just retired from a Chair at Amherst) has a recent book that is clearly fair-minded ('A disputed genocide') and it does material damage to the scholarly performance of the chief diaspora historian, Dadrian. Justin McCarthy, an Ottoman demographer, can also usefully be consulted. In Paris, at the College de France, there is Gilles Veinstein, who wrote a telling summary of the whole question in L'Histoire of 1993. These are frankly in the top flight of scholars, and this subject is an extremely difficult one, requiring knowledge not just of modern Turkish but Ottoman, which is obsolete. There are other scholars who also question the 'genocide' account, for instance a young man at Harvard, Michael Reynolds, who can handle both the Ottoman archives and the records of the Russian military administration, which took over eastern Anatolia in 1915. The Russian documents, I gather, support what the Turks have claimed about 1915 - that there was a tremendous Armenian-nationalist provocation, followed by a cruel deportation of the population.

I might add that each of these men has faced vicious attacks, and attempts to stop publication - for instance, the manipulation of peer-review tactics, vastly exaggerating the number and significance of slips. In the case of one celebrated American historian, Stanford Shaw at UCLA, his car was booby-trapped and his house fire-bombed.


The more vociferous Armenian diaspora historians like to claim that 'historians' support them but this is just not true. Quite the contrary: on the whole, the people who know the subject at first-hand do not accept the thesis of 'genocide'. The whole business of 1915 remains murky, but perhaps I can bullet-point some of it.

I can easily supply references for these, but I think that anyone familiar with the subject — including diaspora historians — will know my sources. In general, Professor Lewy's book (University of Utah Press) will serve in this respect.

1) The documents allegedly proving the genocide are forgeries, and the British law officers who were trying to find evidence over a four-year period of occupation in Constantinople refused to use them. With much regret, they said that they could not establish a case against some hundred men whom they were holding. The State Department were unable to help. This has not stopped the diaspora Armenians in France from using the most notorious of these forgeries (the 'Naim-Andonian documents') in their museum in the south of France.

2) The Ottomans themselves in 1916 put on trial some 1300 men for crimes committed during the deportation of the Armenians in 1915, and executed a governor.

3) The Armenians' leader, Boghos Nubar, was offered a post in the Ottoman cabinet in 1914, but turned it down on the grounds that his Turkish was not up to it.

4) The figure given by Boghos Nubar to the French for Armenian losses for use in the post-war treaties was 700,000. Most died of disease or starvation, but in eastern Turkey at the time at least one quarter of the entire population, Moslem and Christian, died of such causes. It was a terrible time.

5) The internal Ottoman documents talk of 'deportation', in the context of widespread Armenian nationalist risings in the early spring of 1915. The Russians and the French (on Cyprus) used Armenian regiments and legionaries.

6) The Armenian populations of Istanbul, Izmir and Aleppo were not affected by the deportation order. As Lewy says, it is as if the Jews of Berlin, Frankfurt and Vienna had been exempted from the Hitler genocide.

7) In the run-up to this tragic period, the Armenian nationalists murdered prominent Armenians who warned against risings - the Patriarch in Istanbul, for instance, and the mayor of Van (and many others).

8) The diaspora Armenians have never allowed this to come before a properly-constituted and competent court. Instead, they prompt parliamentary and other bodies to 'recognize the genocide' — Canada, France, Lithuania, Chile, Wisonsin, Edinburgh City Council etc. That will be where the ADL comes in.

9) The diaspora historians also refuse to meet Turkish historians even under neutral and well-intentioned auspices (for instance, in Vienna two years ago).


It is true that diaspora historians will find answers, of greater or lesser plausibility, to these points, but they have to try very, very hard, and their attempt to muzzle transparently competent and honest historians surely speaks for itself.

I might add incidentally that I consider myself neutral and I have never written anything to deny the possibility that a genocide (in the classic sense) was considered. However I do not think that the evidence that we have really adds up, and I quite agree with Professors Lewis, Lewy and Veinstein. I also know, from my ten years in Turkey, how strong the feeling is, there, among quite ordinary people, that the diaspora Armenians are being quite vindictive and perverse about an affair in which the Armenian nationalists have far more responsibility than the diaspora would ever admit. This does Turkish-Armenian relations no good, as I am sure the 100,000 or so Armenians in Turkey, their Patriarch at the head, agree.

The important thing is to bury the hatchet, and Armenia herself, a poor, land-locked place that has lost about a quarter of its population through emigration (a good part to Istanbul) also needs this before she withers on the vine.

Yours sincerely,

Norman Stone



Article by Norman Stone
Commentary, Chicago Tribune
Armenian story has another side
By Norman Stone, a historian and the author of "World War I: A Short History"
October 16, 2007

All the world knows what the end of an empire looks like: hundreds of thousands of people fleeing down dusty paths, taking what was left of their possessions; crammed refugee trains puffing their way across arid plains; and many, many people dying. For the Ottoman Empire that process began in the Balkans, the Crimea and the Caucasus as Russia and her satellites expanded. Seven million people — we would now call them Turks — had to settle in Anatolia, the territory of modern Turkey.

In 1914, when World War I began in earnest, Armenians living in what is now Turkey attempted to set up a national state. Armenians revolted against the Ottoman government, began what we would now call "ethnic cleansing" of the local Turks. Their effort failed and caused the government to deport most Armenians from the area of the revolt for security reasons. Their sufferings en route are well-known.

Today, Armenian interests in America and abroad are well-organized. What keeps them united is the collective memory of their historic grievance. What happened was not in any way their fault, they believe. If the drive to carve out an ethnically pure Armenian state was a failure, they reason, it was only because the Turks exterminated them.

For years, Armenians have urged the U.S. Congress to recognize their fate as genocide. Many U.S. leaders — including former secretaries of state and defense and current high-ranking Bush administration officials — have urged Congress either not to consider or to vote down the current genocide resolution primarily for strategic purposes: Turkey is a critical ally to the U.S. in both Iraq and Afghanistan and adoption of such a resolution would anger and offend the Turkish population and jeopardize U.S.-Turkish relations.

Given this strong opposition, why would Congress, upon the advice of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, make itself arbiter of this controversy? What makes the Armenians' dreadful fate so much worse than the dreadful fates that come with every end of empire? It is here that historians must come in.

First, allegedly critical evidence of the crime consists of forgeries. The British were in occupation of Istanbul for four years after the war and examined all of the files of the Ottoman government. They found nothing, and therefore could not try the 100-odd supposed Turkish war criminals that they were holding. Then, documents turned up, allegedly telegrams from the interior ministry to the effect that all Armenians should be wiped out. The signatures turned out to be wrong, there were no back-up copies in the archives and the dating system was misunderstood.

There are many other arguments against a supposed genocide of the Armenians. Their leader was offered a post in the Turkish Cabinet in 1914, and turned it down. When the deportations were under way, the populations of the big cities were exempted — Istanbul, Izmir, Aleppo, where there were huge concentrations of Armenians. There were indeed well-documented and horrible massacres of the deportee columns, and the Turks themselves tried more than 1,300 men for these crimes in 1916, convicted many and executed several. None of this squares with genocide, as we classically understand it. Finally, it is just not true that historians as a whole support the genocide thesis. The people who know the background and the language (Ottoman Turkish is terribly difficult) are divided, and those who do not accept the genocide thesis are weightier. The Armenian lobby contends that these independent and highly esteemed historians are simply "Ottomanists" — a ridiculously arrogant dismissal.

Unfortunately, the issue has never reached a properly constituted court. If the Armenians were convinced of their own case, they would have taken it to one. Instead, they lobby bewildered or bored parliamentary assemblies to "recognize the genocide."

Congress should not take a position, one way or the other, on this affair. Let historians decide. The Turkish government has been saying this for years. It is the Armenians who refuse to take part in a joint historical review, even when organized by impeccably neutral academics. This review is the logical and most sensible path forward. Passage of the resolution by the full House of Representatives would constitute an act of legislative vengeance and would shame well-meaning scholars who want to explore this history from any vantage point other than the one foisted upon the world by ultranationalist Armenians.

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© Holdwater
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, links and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows:
www.tallarmeniantale.com/stone-letter-foxman.htm
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