Letter to the editor: a response to ‘Anti-Semitism in Armenia’

By Harut Sassounian

A view of the Armenian capital city of Yerevan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The JNS.org website posted a venomous, anti-Armenian article by Arye Gut with a bombastic headline: “Anti-Semitism in Armenia: a clear and present danger.” 

JNS.org identifies the author as “a board member of the Israeli-Azerbaijani International Organization, official coordinator of the ‘Justice for Khojaly!’ international campaign in Israel, and an expert in international relations.” 

Dozens of Azeri and Turkic media outlets rushed to reprint this Armenophobic propaganda, stressing that it originated from a “popular” Jewish news source. The article may have been written in Baku, planted in Israeli and Jewish publications, and then reprinted in Azerbaijan to lead readers into thinking that it comes from an objective third-party source. 

Gut claims that Armenia’s Jewish minority “shrunk dramatically” after the end of “a more tolerant” Soviet rule! He admits, as an afterthought, that “Armenia’s ongoing economic collapse” is equally responsible for the dwindling number of Jews “from more than 5,000 to just a few hundred.” Gut fails to mention, however, that during the same period over one million Armenians also left their homeland due to abysmal economic conditions.

The Azeri-Israeli author further accuses Armenians of “cultural violence,” referring to the existence of anti-Semitic books and TV programs. Yet he grudgingly acknowledges that “such unfortunate incidents” occur “in many countries.” If that is the case, why is he singling out Armenia? Could it be that he has ulterior motives? As “official coordinator of the ‘Justice for Khojaly!’ international campaign in Israel,” is Gut a paid agent or doing all this hard work—writing pro-Azerbaijan/anti-Armenia articles—out of the goodness of his heart?

Gut goes on to defame Armenians, claiming that “around 1.3 million out of 2.2 million adults in Armenia expressed anti-Semitic attitudes.” He misleads readers into thinking that he has personally interviewed 1.3 million Armenians all of whom supposedly made anti-Jewish statements! What Gut is referring to is Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) flawed global survey which reported that 58 percent of a random sample of 500 Armenians, interviewed mostly by telephone, expressed anti-Semitic views. As Gut’s figure of 1.3 million Armenians comes from ADL’s survey, he should have also mentioned the results of the same survey for his beloved Azerbaijan—one of the worst violators of human rights in the world—which shows that 2.4 million Azeris harbored anti-Semitic sentiments, almost double the number of Armenians!

Since Gut is concealing Azerbaijan’s figures, let’s expose them to see how they compare with those of Armenia, based on the results of ADL’s 11-question survey:

     1) 3.2 million Azeris and 1.5 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the country they live in.”

     2) 3.4 million Azeris and 1.6 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews have too much power in the business world.”

     3) 3.2 million Azeris and 1.5 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews have too much power in international financial markets.”

     4) 2 million Azeris and 1 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”

     5) 3.4 million Azeris and 1.3 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.”

     6) 2.5 million Azeris and 1.1 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews have too much control over global affairs.”

     7) 2.5 million Azeris and 1.1 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews have too much control over the United States government.”

     8) 2.4 million Azeris and 1.2 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews think they are better than other people.”

     9) 2.3 million Azeris and 0.9 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews have too much control over the global media.”

     10) 2 million Azeris and 0.8 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.”

     11) 2.4 million Azeris and 1.4 million Armenians replied “probably true”: “People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.”

ADL’s Global Survey results are even more devastating for Turkey—34 million Turks out of an adult population of 49 million are found to be anti-Semitic. 

Gut concludes his anti-Armenian diatribe by depicting the so-called “Khojaly massacre” as “one of the worst tragedies of the 20th century,” thereby raising the alleged killing of “613 people” in Khojaly during the Karabagh war to the level of 6 million victims of the Jewish Holocaust and 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide!

Gut must be unaware of Benjamin Franklin’s famous words: “Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass!”

Harut Sassounian is publisher of The California Courier (www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com), an English-language weekly Armenian newspaper.

Posted on December 16, 2014 .