Armenians Accuse Israel of Genocide and Land Theft in Yerushalayim

By Aryeh Stern

A man walks through the main square in the Armenian Quarter, in the Old City of Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Relations between Armenia and Israel remain tense, but Armenia seems interested in deepening the rift, as the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s official issued a provocative statement against Israel. It seems that the modern antisemitism has gone from Christian blood libel to land theft and abuse of the Armenian community in Yerushalayim.

This week Armenia’s deputy foreign minister told local media, “We are monitoring an attempt to take over Armenian lands. Israel is threatening the lives of Armenians in Jerusalem and they are trying to change the status quo, we are trying to address this problem with Arab countries, international partners, and also on multilateral platforms.”

The problem in Yerushalayim – a quarrel between Jewish developer, who rented a patch of land from the leaders of Armenian Patriarchy, and the locals, which was previously addressed by Deputy Minister Rabbi Uri Maklev, has sparked anti-Semitism among Armenians and even led the Institute for Genocide Research, controlled by the Armenian lobby in the U.S., to recently directly accuse Israel of genocide against Armenians in Yerushalayim.

In a statement to the media the Institute’s position was as follows: “This recent assault follows the Israeli state’s repeated attempts to evict indigenous Armenians from the Quarter. Amid the ongoing provocations by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Armenia in the South Caucasus, this attack represents another effort to compromise Armenian autonomy and sovereignty. The disturbing level of Armenophobia present in genocidal regimes from Azerbaijan to Israel is alarming and places Armenians in a state of constant peril.”

Even in the liberal European media, Armenians are waging an anti-Israel propaganda campaign regarding the land deal in Yerushalayim. For example, the British Guardian recently wrote that “settlers” are taking over lands and allegedly committing acts of violence against Armenians who have owned lands in Yerushalayim for 1,600 years (this was emphasized to show that Israel was established much later). The “settlers” allegedly do this “under the guise of war” – with the clear implication that Israel is to blame.

Armenia’s ambassador to Israel recently charged that “Armenophobic events and attacks on Armenians are occurring in Israel.”

This is not an isolated case of hostility on the part of Armenians: it has been recently reported, the synagogue was set on fire several times in the Armenian capital, and a neo-Nazi anti-Semitic march with swastika flags was also held in Yerevan. It is worth noting that Armenia’s neo-Nazis openly support Iran, calling for it to wipe the “Zionists” and Israel off the face of the earth, and claim that the Jews started World War II, with a heavy implication that they are to blame for the Holocaust.

These neo-Nazis, along with fascists in Italy, support Hamas and oppose Israel’s ally in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, which they consider an enemy and accomplice of Israel, especially in light of the liberation of the Karabakh region from Armenian unrecognized militants.

All these actions are aimed at harming the state of Israel in the midst of a difficult war, which, of course, in no way wants to commit genocide of Armenians or Palestinians. This is a blatant provocation in which the Armenian government participates and even allows itself to use the Holocaust for propaganda purposes.

A high-ranking Jewish figure, originating from the Caucasus region, wondered: “Why, for example, do all Armenian churches in Israel display Armenian flags? Catholic churches do not display Italian flags, and Sunni mosques do not display Saudi Arabian flags. The Armenian Church, which has existed for a very long time, has its own flag; why then do they use the flag of a state that was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Are they official government offices, like consulates?

“No,” he notes, “they do it without permission. Perhaps it’s time to stop this practice to send a message to the Armenian authorities that they cannot run wild on Israeli territory and engage in anti-Israel propaganda.”

Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan, a neighboring state to Armenia that enjoys excellent relations with Israel, the Jewish community is preparing for Pesach. The Sephardic Jewish community in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, says the warm attitude of the locals, who are mostly Shia Muslims, has remained unchanged of late.

The community Rabbi, Rabbi Zamir Isayev, said that a shared history of a thousand years with the Azerbaijani people proves that generalizations cannot be made. “Unfortunately, the Jewish community in neighboring Armenia has been experiencing serious difficulties in recent months due to the wave of violent anti-Semitism against Jews that has engulfed the country.” Rabbi Isayev recalled the “blood libel” invented by Hosank, a neo-Nazi movement in Armenia, which claimed that the recent terrorist attack in Moscow was carried out by Jews. Aik Nazaryan, the movement’s leader, posted an “explanation” on social media that “Jews always carry out terrorist attacks on their Purim, as a tradition and in memory of the massacre of 75,000 Persians by their ancestors 2,500 years ago.”

“Especially on Pesach, we must cry out: Enough with the antisemitism, in Armenia and everywhere the world. Enough with the hatred! Enough with the bloodshed,” Rabbi Isayev urged at a gathering of activists in preparation for Pesach.

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