Israeli expert Arye Gut: Armenia immortalizes – at a state level – fascists and anti-Semites who participated in annihilation of European Jewry

Baku, March 26, AZERTAC

Several months ago English-language Jewish newspaper in America “Algemeiner” published an article headlined “Anti-Semitism in Armenia” by Israeli expert in international relations Arye Gut. In his article, Mr Gut wrote that “anti-Semitism in Armenia is an unfortunate and little-acknowledged fact”. “Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the country`s Jewish minority and Jewish heritage—the products of a more tolerant time—have shrunk dramatically. The end of Soviet rule removed constraint, and anti-Semitic attacks rose dramatically. That band Armenia`s ongoing economic collapse, drive the Jews of Armenia to flee the country. And the cultural violence has continued. Anti-Semitic books are published and TV programs aired, and the Holocaust memorial in the capital of Yerevan has been repeatedly defaced. Of course, many countries have suffered such unfortunate incidents, the product of an ignorant populace. But in Armenia such views have been espoused even by mainstream politicians and media personalities,” Mr Gut said in his article.

A couple of days ago former Armenian Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan submitted a draft resolution recognizing the Holocaust to the country`s legislative body. In explanation of his move, he told the media: “Some say that we should not recognize the Holocaust unless Israel recognizes ‘the genocide of Armenians”. It is a vivid evidence of the fact that anti-Semitism in Armenia exists at a state level. Although the entire world community recognized, right after the Nurnberg process, the Holocaust as genocide of European Jewry, Armenia is not going to do it, and even demands that Israel recognize the so-called Armenian genocide. In Europe alone, German fascism annihilated six million Jews only because they were Jews; but Armenians became victims of the policy of Tsarist Russia which promised to establish a state for them in the territory of the Ottoman Empire. “Acclaimed scholar Moshe Bekker rightly said that Armenians cannot accept the reality that the Catastrophe of European Jewry is recognized worldwide, while the so-called Armenian genocide faces regular failures,” said Mr Gut.

How can we talk about the absence of anti-Semitism in Armenia if Romen Episkoposyan`s “The National System” book was presented in Russian and Armenian languages at Yerevan Writers` House several years ago. The so-called head of the Jewish community in Armenia Rimma Varzhapetyan, instead of defending the honor and dignity of Jewish people and memory of six million Jews killed by fascists, then said that “this book is meant to be an instrument, which will help start building a certain national system”. A logical question to the head of the so-called Jewish community arises: if she really considers herself a representative of the Jewish people, how can she agree with this ardent anti-Semite and Armenian chauvinist Romen Episkoposyan, who groundlessly declared that the Holocaust is a myth? Obviously she is so much busy with lying and giving false evidence that she forgot the words of famous Jewish public figure Simon Wiesenthal, who wrote that “Jews must effectively remember the Holocaust, and for every Jew and Jewry it must become a certain turning point in Jewish history, where recurrences of Nazism and denial of the Holocaust are inadmissible”. But what is Ms Varzhapetyan doing? She is defending neo-Nazis and anti-Semites only because they are Armenians.

One should mention remarks of acclaimed scholar of the Human Rights Institute of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Moses Bekker who said that it was Rimma Varzhapetyan who emphasized – in her “Anti-Semitism in Armenia” work several years ago – the fact that Armenian history textbooks and mass media glorify the activist of “Dashnaktsutyun” organization, famous Armenian anti-Semite Dramastamat Kanayan, aka “Dro”. It should be mentioned that during the World War II general Dro personally took part in the annihilation of thousands of Jews. And according to Ms Varzhapetyan, the current leadership of the country needs this “fighter” for freedom of Armenia, ardent anti-Semite and fascist as a symbol for justifying their expansionism plans and upbringing the younger generation in the spirit of hatred against other nations. Ms Varzhapetyan does not consider the glorification of the fascist, the man who was personally involved in the annihilation of Jews in the Armenian history textbooks as anti-Semitism. Is she ready, being a Jew, to justify the activity of the Nazi criminals only because they are Armenians?

According to Arye Gut, the history has never forgotten the cruelty of a 20,000-strong Armenian legion as part of the Wehrmacht in the WW II. “The aim of the Armenian legion led by nationalist commander Dro (who personally participated in the annihilation of thousands of Jews) was to persecute and annihilate Jews and others disliked by the German army. At the same time, the Armenian legion organized death marches at concentration camps. In his “Death Tango” book, the late Azerbaijani historian Rovshan Mustafayev provides a lot of evidence of the Armenian units` involvement in genocide of Jews, particularly a report of sonderkommando “Dromedar” about the operation in Western Crimea. “From November 16 to December 15, 1941, some 17,645 Jews, 2,504 Karaims, 824 Gypsies and 212 partisans were executed. Simferopol, Eupatoria, Alushta, Karasubazar, Kerch, Feodosia and other regions of Western Crimea were cleaned of Jews,” Rovshan Mustafayev notes in his book.

According to Sergey Veremeyev, a strong cult is today created around Dro and Nzhdeh in Armenia, which is considered a close ally of Russia. In honor of them, they mint coins, shoot feature and documentary films. A square is named after Garegin Nzhdeh in the Armenian capital. “Let`s underline: a cult cannot be created by some marginal political groups – it is the government that stands behind these acts. After the establishment of the Academy of CSTO in Armenia the institute of national strategic researches after Drastamat Kanayan under Armenian Ministry of Defense expressed its intention to cooperate with the new body,” Veremeyev says. “I think this is the limit when the institute of national strategic researches under the Ministry of Defense of Armenia is called after a fascist and anti-Semite who killed more than 30,000 Jews. Austrian historian Erich Feigl wrote in his book that in December, 1942, Dro visited Himmler. “Dro had a practice and experience of killing without any compassion, and this strongly impressed Himmler,” he wrote.

Interestingly official Moscow always strongly objected the attempts to rehabilitate fascists and their accomplices. But what causes great concern today is that many media and the cultural space of Russia can provide a channel to present these fascists as national heroes. It is enough to remember the interview of the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia, which was published in the “Literaturnaya gazeta” on December 17, 2014. He literally said: “Outstanding hero of our people Garegin Nzhdeh believed that ‘the main law of life is a struggle as a method of self-perfection of personality, society and state. This struggle is manifested in the striving for progress of the country and nation.”

Previously in 2013, a film about Garegin Nzhdeh was premiered in a solemn ceremony in Moscow. We often hear that official Moscow accuses Baltic states and Ukraine of attempts to rehabilitate fascists, but they turn a blind eye to Armenian fascists Dro and Nzhdeh, which is inadmissible and impossible. This is disgraceful and shameful in relation to veterans when Russia is going to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the WW II.”

“I believe that it is the successors of the Armenian general Dro in the person of incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan and minister Seyran Ohanyan who committed a bloody massacre in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in late 20th century. Suffice it to remember Serzh Sargsyan`s words that ‘before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that stereotype’. And this really demonstrates that Serzh Sargsyan and his entire clan in the government of Armenia are genuine and worthy successors of Dro and Nzhdeh. The bloody act of genocide which was committed with incredible brutality and barbarism in Khojaly is one of the horrible tragedies of the late 20th century. Cruel and merciless scenes of that massacre will always remain a never-healing scar in the heart of Azerbaijan. This is already a historical fact that the Armenian armed forces and units of mercenaries in fact didn`t spare life of any Khojaly resident who failed to leave the town and its suburbs in time. As a result of brutality of the Armenian armed units 613 people were killed, 487 wounded, 1275 civilians, including elders, children and women were taken hostage and subjected to unprecedented tortures, insults and humiliation. This tragedy is an act of evil against entire humanity,” Arye Gut underlined.

“So one should not be surprised at the fact that most of the Jewish population of Armenia either left the country or marry Armenians in order not to attract additional attention. Unfortunately, the government of Armenia is doing almost nothing to prevent the growing anti-Semitism in the country. Several hundreds of Jews who now remain in Armenia will continue to suffer unless Armenia quits its policy of limited nationalism and stops accusing foreigners of their own economic and political problems,” Arye Gut summarized.

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