October 26, 2007
I am writing to offer you our perspective about the progress of H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution
Over the past two weeks and, in particular, the last couple of days, we’ve seen some truly remarkable developments – many good, some bad, and several that have yet to play out. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts on these with you.
Hard-hitting advocacy – earning respect
Our nationwide grassroots full-court press leading up to the October 10th passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the Foreign Affairs Committee earned truly worldwide respect for the “Armenian Lobby.”
Proving that we can win an intensely contested committee vote (27 to 21), in the face of heavy White House pressure, a multi-million dollar Turkish lobby, and personal calls from the President himself, put us firmly in the top tier of ethnic lobbies and among the most powerful citizen groups impacting our nation’s foreign policy.
We’re still hard at work moving the Resolution forward.
Just yesterday, we wrapped up our latest H.Res.106 Advocacy Days, which brought volunteers from some 20 states to Washington to speak directly with their elected representatives. We’ll continue to organize these programs and invite you to consider taking part, even as we continue to broaden our internet and phone outreach around the nation. (In just the past month, over 4,000 new activists have volunteered to help the ANCA.)
A media firestorm – educating millions
With over 6,000 mainstream media articles published in the past three weeks about H.Res.106 – including front page articles in the New York Times and lead stories on CNN and the other television networks - we have educated hundreds of millions across the world, many for the first time, about the Armenian Genocide.
In a very powerful sense, given Turkey’s long-term goal of burying the Armenian Genocide issue, all coverage of this issue – even the attacks – is positive. We take issue, of course, with the criticisms, much of it very unfair and hateful, and, with your help, are working hard with our public relations partners to steer the media toward more balanced and accurate reporting.
FYI - our website alone had over 5 million “hits” in just the first three weeks of this month.
Genocide denial - turning the tide
In the media, on America’s editorial pages, and in the halls of Congress, we have won the debate over history, forcing opponents – by virtue of our ability to consistently and effectively communicate the factual record of this crime – to abandon their hateful denials and resort instead to “timing” and “national security” arguments to make their case.
If you watch the roughly three hours of frequently contentious Committee debate, you’ll see that none of the 16 Committee members who spoke against H.Res.106 – as wrong as they were in their argumentation - actually denied the Armenian Genocide; in fact, many openly acknowledged it. This reality represents a significant step forward, but one we need to work to sustain.
Turkey - revealing an unreliable ally
Turkey profoundly disappointed even many of its best allies in Washington by displaying a truly remarkable willingness – even a seeming eagerness - to disrupt U.S. military operations.
Even as U.S. officials appease Turkey over the short-term, top policymakers in the Pentagon and State Department are drawing up alternative plans to supply and support our operations in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
Armenians Americans – standing up as the
conscience of America
And finally, we demonstrated – by our courage and determination – that the real danger to America is not from Turkey’s threats, but rather from compromising our international moral leadership under pressure from a foreign government.
Not everyone saw this right away. Some were blinded temporarily by Turkey’s fireworks. Others paused in their support out of a natural concern over how Turkey’s threats would impact our troops. Most are now beginning to see that Turkey’s threats – not our nation’s principled defense of human rights – are the real problem.
And so, as you might expect, we’re already seeing a backlash.
Over the past few days, even as H.Res.106’s path to passage is being revised as Members of Congress sort through Turkey’s threats, we are seeing an initial reaction of caution give way to a more lasting impression - one of disappointment, even anger, that an ally is so brazenly threatening the security of our troops.
We are confident that, as the confusion over these threats lifts, that an even stronger bipartisan majority will stand up against Turkey's intimidation and vote to adopt this human rights resolution on its merits. In fact, we spoke personally to a Congressional leader today – who remain rock-solid in her commitment to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Now that I’ve brought you up to speed on where we stand, I’d like to share with you our path ahead and suggest how you can help us reach our goals.
Our job now is to strengthen our majority, Member of Congress by Member of Congress, constituent by constituent, setting the stage for the successful bipartisan passage of H.Res.106.
You can do this by educating yourself about all the latest facts, and then sharing this information with your elected officials. By explaining that we advance our interests by standing up for our values, not by caving in to foreign intimidation. And, of course, by demanding – in the best spirit of American citizen advocacy – that our government always lives up to our highest ideals as a nation.
Take action – making a difference
You can start right now by sending a free ANCA WebFax to your U.S. Representative.
After you do, if you haven’t already, please take a moment to read up on this issue by visiting the following links:
Thank you for your devotion and hard work. We could not have reached this far without you, and without you we won’t be able to finally put America back on the right side of this issue.
Rest assured that we will continue this struggle until we prevail.
P.S. As always, but especially during these challenging times, I welcome your ideas and suggestions about how we can better serve our community and cause. I also value any financial support that you can offer, and urge you to please send a secure on-line donation of $100, $500, $1,000 – or even just $10 – to help us stand up against the powerful enemies of justice for the Armenian Genocide.