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Genocide Denial at Center of Mass. Judicial Nomination

Genocide Denial at Center of Mass. Judicial Nomination

Joseph Berman

BOSTON—Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s nominee for a seat on the Commonwealth’s Superior Court is facing opposition because of his leadership role in the Anti-Defamation League and that organization’s refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The Boston Globe reported Thursday, that Joseph S. Berman’s nomination is being opposed by members of the eight-person elected panel that approves judicial nominations.

Councilor Marilyn M. Pettito Devaney, a Democrat from Watertown, led the opposition to Berman, saying she had the five votes needed to reject his nomination.

She stood and denounced Berman’s affiliation with the Anti-Defamation League, as the governor, who chairs the panel, looked on, chagrined, reported the Boston Globe.

“In 1939, Hitler, carrying out his horrific mission to exterminate the Jews, said, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’” Devaney said, her voice trembling and eyes filling with tears. “I do. And many others do, too,” according to the Boston Globe.

Devaney said if she belonged to “a group who denied the Holocaust,” she would resign. Several other councilors agreed that Berman’s ties to the Anti-Defamation League are a concern, while raising their own separate objections.

The opposition forced Gov. Patrick to postpone Berman’s approval to December 4.

Berman’s nominations and the ADL’s Genocide denial took center stage in 2007 when the organization launched its “No Place for Hate” campaign, causing backlash from the Armenian-American community in Massachusetts, which claimed that an organization that unequivocally denies the Armenian Genocide had no place in public schools promoting anti-discrimination.

A campaign called “No Place for Denial,” led by the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Mass. Chapter and including a cross-section of the Armenian-American community vocally opposed ADL’s efforts.

In 2007, the ADL fired its New England regional director, Andrew H. Tarsy, after he acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in opposition to the national leadership.

ADL’s national director Abraham Foxman has gone on record to say that the events of 1915 were “tantamount to Genocide,” but did not label it as such. He has also actively lobbied against Armenian Genocide resolutions in Congress.

According to the Boston Globe, Councilor Devaney stood firm on her opposition, saying: “We’re not going to change our minds. To prolong this serves no purpose.”

Councilor Terrence W. Kennedy agreed, saying that even though he supports Berman, a delay will not save the nomination, reported the Globe. “It’s a democracy, and I don’t think the vote is going to change,” he told Patrick.



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