MK Eldad: Armenian Genocide a Historical Fact
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) says the chill in relations between Jerusalem and Ankara is the perfect opportunity to recognize the Armenian Genocide of World War One.
"A genocide against the Armenian people was conducted in Ottoman Turkey during the first world war," Eldad told Arutz Sheva. "This is a historical fact that cannot be denied and should not be denied."
"The fact that for many years Israel avoided any declaration on this issue because we have very sensitive diplomatic relations with Turkey should not affect our decisions [in the present]," Eldad said.
Turkey downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel and began agitating against the Jewish state in the international arena after the publication of the UN Palmer Report on the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident earlier this year.
Nine Turkish nationals on board the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara were killed when they participated in a mob that tried to lynch Israeli naval commandos who boarded the vessel in accordance with international maritime law.
Officials in Istanbul were incensed that the report concluded Israel's blockade of the Hamas terror organization in Gaza was "legal and appropriate" and - while criticizing Israel for using "excessive force" – said the commandoes' lives were in danger.
Turkey rejected Israel's "expression of regret" for the incident demanding, instead, a full apology and reparations for the families of those killed while trying to murder Israeli soldiers.
Now "the very delicate relations with Turkey are only unilateral," Eldad explained. "We act as if afraid of them, they are doing everything that they can to harm Israel... to build roots between them and the Iranian regime... and to harm Israel in every international arena that they can - in the United Nations, in NATO, and elsewhere."
"This is the time to ignore all sensitivities in dealing with Turkey and say out loud, very clearly, the moral declaration that Israel recognizes the genocide of the Armenian people."
Eldad joined MK Zahava Gal On (Meretz) in pushing for the Knesset to recognize the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset Education Committee on Monday.
The strange alliance between staunch nationalist Eldad and extreme-leftist Gal On may well represent a growing consensus that has support in Israel's cabinet.
Earlier this year foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beitenu) indicated recognition of the Armenian Genocide could be one tool in Israel's diplomatic arsenal to use in isolating Ankara internationally.
Some 970,000 ethnic Armenians of all ages disappeared from Turkey's population registries during the First World War. It is estimated, however, that as many as 1.5 million were killed in a systematic series of Turkish pogroms and forced marches.
The harsh crackdown came during an ongoing Russian-backed series of Armenian rebellions in Turkey. Armenians call the massacre "The Great Crime."
However, there are those who feel referring to the pogroms carried out by Turkey against the Armenians Genocide cheapens the Holocaust as the Jews of Europe were peaceful members of European society striving to be good citizens.
Turkey's pogroms - The Great Crime - came in response to a widespread Russian-backed Armenian rebellion.