Jewish organizations in Australia call on their government and the government of Israel to recognize Ottoman genocides

CANBERRA — Following U.S. President Joe Biden’s historic decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915, Jewish organizations in Australia protested, demanding that the Israeli and Australian governments break their silence and recognize the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

On 20 April, the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) unanimously passed a motion to reaffirm JBOD’s recognition of the Armenian, Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean), and Greek genocides.

Julian Leeser, Liberal Member of Parliament for Berowra, stated that, “I have always been a supporter of Australia recognizing the Armenian genocide, and while Australia will always make its own foreign policy decisions, I think it is very significant that our American allies have decided to recognize the Armenian genocide.”

“It was a genocide witnessed by journalists and by foreign officials at the time [1915-1923], and yet it has been a genocide that has been swept under the carpet,” Leeser said.

Leeser was one of the first MPs to sign the Joint Justice Alliance’s 2020 Memorandum of Understanding that calls on the Australian government to recognize the genocides.

Labor MP for Macnamara, Jon Burns, declared that, “The time for justice is now,” remarking that, “[Biden] has acknowledged the true history and shown global leadership, together with 29 other nations which all recognize the genocide.”

Jeremy Leibler, President of the Zionist Federation of Australia, argued that, “It is our moral duty as Jews and as supporters of Israel to be tellers of truth in matters such as these”.

He continued, “As Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said, recognizing the Armenian genocide is a moral issue and should be divorced from strategic issues or the national interest.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) called “upon all nations and governments to recognize the reality of these genocides”.

Co-CEO of ECAJ stated that, “The mass killings of Armenians [and Syriacs (Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans) and Greeks] by Ottoman forces was not merely a random by-product of World War One – it was officially ordered, organized and systematic.”

“The evidence produced by historians is overwhelming,” he said, labelled threats of retaliation by Turkey to nations including Australia, “if they dare to acknowledge the genocide” as “not the behavior of a government that is confident it has truth on its side”.

Image: Public Radio of Armenia