BOSTON, Mass.–A protest has been announced online against Abraham Foxman, long-time Director of the Anti-Defamation League, who is planned to speak at Suffolk University Law School’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17th. The protest, organized by activists within the Boston Armenian community, aims to bring attention to Foxman’s decades-long effort to thwart official US government recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Suffolk University President James McCarthy has come under fire for the choice of Foxman as speaker, as well as Suffolk University Law School’s decision to award Foxman an honorary law degree. In spite of a petition circulated by the National Lawyers Guild at Suffolk Law advocating for Foxman’s invitation to be revoked that garnered over 1,000 signatures and broad opposition in the community at large, the school has shown no intention of reversing its decision. Suffolk’s administration issued a defensive statement instead, quoted in The Boston Globe: “Mr. Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition. . . .It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”
When pressed in a 2007 interview with JTA if he had “done anything wrong” by engaging in a concerted effort against the recognition of a genocide, Foxman said, “It was also very clear to me that after the United States, the most important ally Israel has is Turkey. It’s a country that not only has promised to provide Israel with water until moshiach comes, but it’s a country that permits Israel’s pilots to do maneuvers over its land. And so, to me, it was very clear that there are two moral issues, but one trumps the other.”
Later in the same interview, Foxman offered his explanation for the criticism that the ADL received for opposing recognition of the Armenian Genocide from within the Jewish community. “That comes out of a changed demography, sociology. When we talk about assimilation, when we talk about intermarriage–you know what, that’s what it is.”
Meanwhile, outrage over Suffolk’s choice of commencement speaker has spread beyond the Armenian community. Foxman’s vocal support of the racial profiling of Muslims has drawn additional condemnation from students and the community, as has his stance on the Park 51 mosque controversy, during which he argued that the mosque should not be allowed to be built in the vicinity of Ground Zero. He was quoted in a 2010 article in Newsweek, explaining, “Their [the families of 9/11 victims] anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”
The protest will be held beginning at noon on Saturday, May 17th, outside Boston’s Wang Theatre where the commencement is scheduled to take place.
Source: The Armenian Weekly