The French parliamentarian who proposed a controversial genocide denial bill has received death threats and had her website attacked.Over in Israel, more politicians are calling for a recognition of this period in history, and a right-wing politician has submitted a bill of his own:
Valérie Boyer, a member of the governing UMP party, was successful in getting parliamentary approval for a bill that outlawed the denial of a massacre of Armenians by Ottoman troops in 1915.
The bill’s passage unleashed a wave of indignation in Turkey.
Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the vote represented “politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia.”
Daily newspaper Le Parisien reported that Boyer’s website was attacked on Sunday.
Visitors were redirected to a site showing the Turkish flag and a message attacking the French government and the Armenian community in France.
“You, the Armenian diaspora, are so cowardly that you don’t have the guts to open up the archives and face the truth,” said the message.
In an attack on French politicians the message said “you, the French, are so pitiful and pathetic that you ignore the truth to get votes.”
On Monday morning, the site, valerie-boyer.fr, was still unavailable with a "site indisponible" message being shown.
Boyer said she has received numerous “insults and threats of murder and rape” over recent days on her Facebook page and her Twitter account.
“That such a level of violence is being expressed shows the necessity to punish genocide denial,” she told the newspaper.
“What I’m experiencing is without doubt nothing compared to the experience of the Armenian community."
Knesset members from all sides of the political spectrum called for the government to officially recognize the Armenian genocide, marking the first time the issue was discussed in an open Knesset meeting.Nobody's accuding anyone of immorality here, unless they try to use political relations as their defense. This is not a matter of politics, but of the importance of history, and the foreign ministry should not be trying to oppose this.
The Knesset Education Committee meeting was initiated after MK Arye Eldad (National Union) proposed a bill to mark the Armenian genocide annually, which was then turned into a motion for the agenda after Eldad realized the coalition would not allow the legislation to pass. The meeting also addressed a similar motion put forward by MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), making Armenian genocide one of the few topics agreed upon by the Knesset factions farthest to the political left and right.
The discussion took place a week after France’s lower house of parliament moved to criminalize Armenian-genocide denial, leading to a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Ankara.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that those who fight Holocaust denial must not ignore the tragedies of other nations, and it is a moral imperative that Israel remember the Armenian genocide.
Rivlin said that he made a motion to the agenda on the matter in 1989, but until Monday, it was not discussed openly in the Knesset, due to political and diplomatic reasons. He added that the issue was moved from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where it was discussed behind closed doors, to the Education Committee, with the press present, so that “morals and values” could be discussed. [...]
Eldad accused the government of hypocrisy, saying that at first, the matter wasn’t publicly addressed because relations with Turkey were strong, and now the same policy stands for the opposite reason.
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said that he is embarrassed that the Knesset has yet to fulfill its “basic responsibility” in recognizing the Armenian genocide.
He said “a wall has been broken” in that the Education Committee discussion was taking place openly, but that progress still needs to be made.
Elkin also mentioned that in 1939, Hitler cited the fact that Europe ignored the Armenian genocide to justify his actions.
At the same time, Foreign Ministry representatives in the meeting said that it would be irresponsible to make any official declarations on the matter.
The ministry never denied the Armenian genocide, the representatives explained, but the issue has become political, and Israel prefers not to be involved, especially because Turkey and Armenia have been holding an open dialog on the facts and opinions surrounding it.
In addition, only 21 countries have officially recognized the Armenian genocide, according to the Foreign Ministry, and it would be unfair to declare all those who haven’t immoral.