Lapid, Saar Call for Recognition of Armenian Genocide

Likud Knesset Member Gideon Saar in August, 2019. (Flash90)

Following an historic vote by the U.S. Congress to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, two prominent Israeli politicians urged on Wednesday that Yerushalayim do the same.

The House voted 405 to 11 on Tuesday to endorse a measure “affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide,” the first time such direct language has been voted for in a resolution on the contentious issue.

The Armenians say the mass killings of more than 1.5 million of their people from 1915 to 1917 constituted genocide, a claim recognized by some 30 countries. Turkey has vehemently denied the claim.

“The U.S. House of Representatives vote to recognize the Armenian Genocide is a vote for historical truth and justice. Turkey cannot be allowed to intimidate the world into denying genocide,” Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid tweeted.

Senior Likud MK Gideon Saar also called for recognition, tweeting that he “welcome[d] the moral and principled stance of the U.S. House of Representatives in recognizing the mass killing of Armenians 100 years ago as genocide. Israel should make similarly clear its recognition of this terrible atrocity.”

Proposals for official recognition of the genocide have been raised every year since 1989 in the Knesset, but regularly voted down. Ruling coalitions have refused to support it, usually on the grounds that it would damage relations with Turkey, which is extremely sensitive on the issue.

As relations with Turkey have undergone changes for the worse in recent years, other considerations have come into play — for example in June, when Prime Minister Netanyahu asked for a delay on debating the matter after the Foreign Ministry advised that recognition could help Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in elections.

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