Knesset’s Education Committee Positive on Armenian Genocide Recognition. Discussion Postponed.

(ACF) The Education, Culture and Sports Committee of Israel’s Knesset held a session today to discuss about the possibility of setting a memorial day commemorating the Armenian Genocide perpetrated in 1915, by Turkey.
According to Israeli Press the Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) pointed out that the timing has nothing to do with the tension between Israel and Turkey. “We believe that as humans, as Jews and as citizens of the State of Israel – along with members of Knesset that are not Jewish – we must put the subject on the national agenda. We stand before the world with the utmost moral demand,” he said and added that “even the Turks understand that we cannot ignore our commitment as people, as Jews and as citizens of Israel.”

MK Zahava Gal-On who is the Chairwoman of the Meretz faction and a vivid supporter of the Armenian Genocide’s recognition commenting on Erdogan’s statements said that Turkey will find a way to preserve its diplomatic ties with Israel based on common interests. “For many years, Israel’s government has refused to recognize the genocide for cynical, strategic and economic, reasons, connected to its ties with Turkey,” said Gal-On.

National Union MK Ariyeh Eldad, one of the initiators of the discussion, said that “in the past, we were always told that we cannot discuss this subject because of our good relationship with Turkey. Now we are told we cannot discuss this because of our bad relationship with Turkey. We cannot erase a chapter in history. We cannot ignore this subject because of our interests.”

Former member of Knesset Haim Oron, who has been dealing with the subject for many years, added: “We don’t want this to end with this discussion, but with a statement that expresses the Knesset’s recognition in the Armenian genocide.”

National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror asked Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to postpone the discussion, but Rivlin refused, saying: “As a nation that has suffered through a holocaust, we cannot ignore this issue, and therefore the hearing will be held as scheduled.”

Among others present at the meeting were members of the Armenian National Committee of Jerusalem and renowned Genocide expert Israel Charny, who were given the opportunity to address the Committee.
The discussion about setting an Armenian Genocide memorial day was postponed until the next hearing, whose date hasn’t been yet specified.

French National Assembly Adopts Genocide Antinegation Law Proposition

(ACF) On December 22, the National Assembly of France adopted a law proposition criminalizing the negation of Genocides acknowledged as such by the French law.
During the four-hour session, the overwhelming majority of the deputies wholeheartedly supported the need to protect by law the French people, the Genocide victims and the democratic values that run the Republic of France from acts of hatred and intolerance. “I will vote thinking of Hrant Dink,” said one Member of Parliament as he concluded his remarks. “We are not punishing any country, but we are fighting against genocide denial in our country,” said another. “We are taking part in the mass destruction of Armenians when we allow its denial… We are voting in the name of Armenians who sought refuge here. How can we look in the eyes of our fellow citizens of Armenian heritage, while we know that there are those among us who deny the suffering of their grandparents?” said yet another Member of Parliament. “Racism is not an opinion, it’s a crime,” said another.
The no. 813 law proposition of the National Assembly is based on the 29/7/1881 law of France and additionally it serves harmonizing with the 2008/913/JHA EU Council framework decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law and incorporating it into the French jurisprudence.
The legislative power of France consistent with its convictions illustrated in the 2001-70 law (29/1/2001) with which France has recognized the Genocide perpetrated in 1915 against the Armenians reaffirmed once more its position as human rights’ pioneer defender. The penalties provisioned in the law proposition are a year in jail and a fine of 45.000 euros.
The legislative procedure requires that the law proposition be submitted to the Senate for approval and afterwards be signed by the President of France.

Below is the original and the translation of the no 813 law proposition:
The National Assembly adopted a law proposition with the following content:

Look numbers 3842 and 4035.

Article 1
The 1st paragraph of the IV chapter of the 29 July 1881 law on the freedom of press is completed by an Article 24 ter composed as follows:

“Art. 24 ter.- The penalties provisioned in Article 24 bis are applicable upon those who by the use of any of the means stated in article 23 contest or minimize in an excessive manner the existence of one or more crimes of genocide defined in the article 211-1 of the penal code and acknowledged as such by the French law.

Furthermore, the court can order the display or the diffusion of the adjudged decision under the conditions provisioned in the article 131-35 of the penal code.”

Article 2

The Article 48-2 of the same law is modified as follows:

1. After the word “deported” the following words are inserted: “ or all the other victims of crimes of genocide, crimes of war, crimes against humanity or of crimes or offences of collaboration with the enemy”,

2. At the end, the words: “the infringement provisioned by the article 24 bis” are replaced by the words “the infringements provisioned in the articles 24 bis and 24 ter”.

Public Session resolution, Paris 22 December 2011


L’Assemblée nationale a adopté la proposition de loi dont la teneur suit :

Voir les numéros : 3842 et 4035.

Article 1er

Le paragraphe 1er du chapitre IV de la loi du 29 juillet 1881 sur la liberté de la presse est complété par un article 24 ter ainsi rédigé :

« Art. 24 ter. – Les peines prévues à l’article 24 bis sont applicables à ceux qui ont contesté ou minimisé de façon outrancière, par un des moyens énoncés à l’article 23, l’existence d’un ou plusieurs crimes de génocide défini à l’article 211-1 du code pénal et reconnus comme tels par la loi française.

« Le tribunal peut en outre ordonner l’affichage ou la diffusion de la décision prononcée, dans les conditions prévues à l’article 131-35 du code pénal. »

Article 2

L’article 48-2 de la même loi est ainsi modifié :

1° Après le mot : « déportés », sont insérés les mots : « , ou de toute autre victime de crimes de génocide, de crimes de guerre, de crimes contre l’humanité ou de crimes ou délits de collaboration avec l’ennemi » ;

2° À la fin, les mots : « l’infraction prévue par l’article 24 bis » sont remplacés par les mots : « les infractions prévues aux articles 24 bis et 24 ter ».

Délibéré en séance publique, à Paris, le 22 décembre 2011.

ANCA: Landmark U.S. House Resolution Presses Turkey To Return Stolen Christian Churches

Press Release

The U.S. House of Representatives today adopted a landmark religious freedom measure, H.Res.306, calling upon Turkey to return the Christian church properties it stole through genocide, and to end its repression of the surviving members of the vast Christian civilizations that once represented a majority in the territory of the present-day Republic of Turkey, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The measure, spearheaded by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Howard Berman (D-CA) was scheduled for House consideration by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, with the support of Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Berman, of the Foreign Affairs Committee. House Members speaking in support of the measure included Representatives Royce, Berman, Congressional Armenian Genocide Resolution lead cosponsor Adam Schiff (D-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus CoChair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY). Congressional Turkey Caucus Co-Chair Ed Whitfield (R-KY) was alone in speaking out against the resolution. The measure was adopted by voice vote.

“Despite Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent claims of progress on religious freedom, Turkey’s Christian communities continue to face severe discrimination,” explained Congressman Royce. “Today, the U.S. House of Representatives considered and adopted my legislation, which calls upon the government of Turkey to end religious discrimination, allow religious prayer and education, and return stolen church property. The United States has a strong interest in promoting religious freedom abroad.”

Rep. Berman concurred, noting that, “This important resolution calls attention to Turkey’s disturbing, persistent failure to respect the ancient Christian heritage of Anatolia and to treat its Christian communities as free and equal citizens. Turkey should take immediate steps to restore all confiscated church property and allow full freedom of worship and religious education for all Christian communities.”

In July, Reps. Royce and Berman were joined by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) in spearheading House Foreign Affairs Committee consideration of the “Return of Churches” amendment to the State Department Authorization Bill. Their amendment was overwhelmingly adopted by a vote of 43 to 1.

“The passage of House Resolution 306 is a great victory for religious freedom around the world, and is a turning point in the Armenian people’s fight for religious freedom. Respect for the full exercise of our civil rights is really central to who we are as Americans and central to the values and ideals that we promote all over the world. My home state of Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams on the principles of religious liberty and freedom and I am proud to co-sponsor the Resolution in that spirit,” said Congressman David Cicilline.

The text of H.Res. 306 adopted today is the same as the abridged version adopted at the committee level.

“Today’s vote – over opposition from Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and, sadly, even our own American President’s Administration, – represents a powerful victory for religious freedom, and also reflects the growing American and international consensus that Turkey must – starting with the return of thousands of stolen Christian churches properties and holy sites – accept its responsibilities for the full moral and material implications of a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.

Armenian Americans across the U.S. were joined by religious freedom advocates and their counterparts in the Greek, Assyrian, and Syriac communities in making thousands of phone calls to their Representatives in support of H.Res.306, following action alerts issued by the Armenian National Committee of America, American Hellenic Institute, and American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association and the American Hellenic Council.

With hours left to the scheduled vote on H.Res.306, Turkish American groups mounted a campaign to block the measure but were ultimately unsuccessful.

The ANCA will be posting full video coverage of U.S. consideration of H.Res.306 on its website at




Urging the Republic of Turkey to safeguard its Christian
heritage and to return confiscated church properties.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Secretary of State, in all official contacts with Turkish leaders and other Turkish officials, should emphasize that Turkey should –

(1) end all forms of religious discrimination;

(2) allow the rightful church and lay owners of Christian church properties, without hindrance or
restriction, to organize and administer prayer services, religious education, clerical training, appointments, and succession, religious community gatherings, social services, including ministry to the needs of the poor and infirm, and other religious activities;

(3) return to their rightful owners all Christian churches and other places of worship, monasteries, schools, hospitals, monuments, relics, holy sites, and other religious properties, including movable properties, such as artwork, manuscripts, vestments, vessels, and other artifacts; and

(4) allow the rightful Christian church and lay owners of Christian church properties, without hindrance or restriction, to preserve, reconstruct, and repair, as they see fit, all Christian churches and other places of worship, monasteries, schools, hospitals, monuments, relics, holy sites, and other religious properties within Turkey.