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Armenian Assembly of America Welcomes Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ Call for U.S. Reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ (JCPA) annual Town Hall meeting last month, the JCPA adopted a resolution acknowledging the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and called on Congress and the White House to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This is the first time that a policy position on the Armenian Genocide has been adopted by the JCPA.

“The Armenian Assembly of America thanks the JCPA for adopting this important resolution and for advancing efforts for U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” stated Assembly Board Co-Chairman Anthony Barsamian. “The Armenian American community is grateful to the JCPA for the adoption of this historic resolution. The unity of millions of Jewish and Armenian Americans in standing up for the truth is an important step along the path of justice,” Barsamian said.

JCPA logoAmong its findings, the JCPA resolution states, “We must not let the politics of the moment, or the U.S. government’s relationship with Turkey, sway our moral obligation to recognize the suffering of the Armenian people.” The resolution also calls upon “the Congress and the President to officially recognize what started in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, and resulted in the killing and deportation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians, as the Armenian Genocide.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), which operates under the JCPA, presented and passed the resolution at the JCPA annual Town Hall meeting. The national resolution was prompted by JCRC branches in Boston, Palm Beach, and Providence, with support from Atlanta and other chapters. The Atlanta JCRC adopted the draft resolution on the Armenian Genocide on August 18, 2015 during their local town hall meeting, which featured a presentation by Armenian Assembly State Chair for Georgia Dr. Vahan Kassabian.

“I am very pleased that the JCPA leadership and chapters across the country stand in support of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” stated Assembly Board Member Annie Totah. “This resolution reinforces the cause of genocide prevention and amplifies the voice of those who shout ‘Never Again,'” Totah said.

As the Assembly previously reported, the Jewish American community has rallied in support of Armenian Genocide recognition throughout the centennial year. However, the grassroots movement of Jewish American support is founded in years of work by the Armenian Assembly Board and State Chairs throughout the country. Many cite 2007 as the turning point in the Jewish American community’s support of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide when the JCRC of Greater Boston sparked the recognition process, which resulted in a tidal wave of support behind Boston Anti-Defamation League (ADL) director Andrew Tarsy who was fired for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

“We are proud that the Jewish Council for Public Affairs adopted this policy position on the Armenian Genocide, reflecting our deep solidarity with the Armenian American community,” Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston told the Assembly. “The ties between the Jewish and Armenian peoples are today stronger than ever, and will continue to strengthen,” Burton said.

In addition to its findings, the JCPA resolution on the Armenian Genocide calls upon the wider Jewish community relations field to consult and work with national Armenian organizations, major Jewish organizations, and interfaith coalition partners to further the aim of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. JCPA calls on the President to recognize the Armenian Genocide, in addition to urging congressional representatives to support resolutions in Congress that call for recognition.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

Concert in Miami to Commemorate Armenian Genocide, Culture After 100 Years

Joe Zeytoonian(Combined Sources) – On Saturday, November 7, at 7:00 PM, the Hye Doun commemorative concert to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will take place in Miami Beach, Florida, reported Hye Doun is a collaboration of Arts at St. Johns and Harmonic Motion. Through music, dance, song, and narrative, the World War I Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Turkish Empire will be illuminated.

Local South Florida Armenian Americans, musician Joe Zeytoonian and author/journalist Douglas Kalajian, will share their experiences of having family members who were killed or simply disappeared during this period when an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million men, women, and children died.

douglas kalajianThe concert includes traditional Armenian folk and folk-inspired melodies and dance, with a cultural commentary provided by contributor Douglas Kalajian, author of “Stories My Father Never Finished Telling Me.”

“When musicians play these songs, they’re preserving this culture. It’s a gift not only to me, but to the whole world,” Kalajian told the Miami Herald.

According to the Herald, “Zeytoonian also was deeply impacted by the genocide; both sides of his family were devastated. His grandfather was killed when his grandmother was eight months pregnant with his father. He decided to convey the loss his family felt through his music.”

“Armenian music has a particular nostalgia in its sound. My sound is a combination of that and the Anatolian roots of my parents who were driven from their homes in Maras, Turkey,” Zeytoonian said.

Performers include Myriam Eli (percussion and dance), Alique Mazmanian (vocals), Reza Filsoofi (setar and percussion) and Joe Zeytoonian (oud, percussion, and vocals).

The Hye Doun concert is part of Arts at St. Johns 2015-2016 season theme “Places We Call Home.” Nearly 75% of the residents in Miami-Dade County have come from other places. With physical homes in South Florida, many are emotionally bound to other cities, states or countries. Because of socio-political circumstances, some homes exist only in heartfelt memory.

Armenian concert flyer

What: Hye Doun Armenian Genocide Commemorative Concert

When: Saturday, November 7, 7:00 PM

Where: Arts at St. Johns, 4760 Pine Tree Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33140

Tickets: VIP Admission: $30 – General tickets: $20

$15 Seniors & Students with ID’s

Military and family are free with ID’s. Children under 10 are free.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CONCERT, please contact Carol Hoffman-Guzman at 305-613-2325 or

Florida Armenians Meets With Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Washington


Taniel Koushakjian, Serzh Sargsyan, Bryan Ardouny

Last week, Florida Armenians Managing Editor Taniel Koushakjian sat down with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during his trip to Washington, D.C. Sargsyan travelled to the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City where he delivered an impassioned speech about the need for international condemnation of Azerbaijan military attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh that has recently claimed several lives, including three Armenian female civilians, in the last few weeks.

From New York, President Sargsyan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Presidential Chief of Staff Vigen Sargsyan, and Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Tigran Sargsyan, travelled to Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings with Armenian American community leaders. Koushakjian shared with Sargsyan activities of the Armenian community in Florida marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Koushakjian explained that Florida is one of 43 states that has acknowledged the 1915 Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey, which was last proclaimed by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2006. Although Florida recognizes the Armenian Genocide, it does not have an official curriculum mandated by the state to teach the Armenian Genocide. Sargsyan inquired if the presidential candidate was aware of his strong record on the Armenian Genocide, which Koushakjian assured him was the case.

In that regard, Koushakjian talked about efforts by Florida Armenians and the Armenian Assembly of America to advance Armenian Genocide education in the Sunshine State despite lack of a state mandate. For instance, in April of this year Koushakjian presented an Armenian Genocide exhibit entitled “Iconic Images of the Armenian Genocide” at the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida (HMSWFL). In the lead up to the presentation, the Turkish Consulate in Miami wrote a threatening letter to the HMSWL objecting to the presentation and demanding it be canceled. Koushakjian explained to Sargsyan that Armenian Genocide denial exists around almost every street corner in America and that grassroots efforts promoting genocide education are vital to ensuring a future free of mass atrocities.

TK-SS handshake

Taniel Koushakjian meets Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan

In addition, Koushakjian thanked Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian for his efforts to confront and assist with the Syrian refugee crisis. To date, Armenia has absorbed close to 20,000 refugees, the majority of which are the most vulnerable communities: Armenians, Assyrians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities. In addition to Armenian government efforts, Nalbandian has raised the cause of the Syrian peoples’ plight to the international community on several occasions this year alone. Koushakjian informed Nalbandian that Florida Armenians would do everything they can to inform the American public that Armenia is the last Christian safe haven in the Middle East.

In the afternoon, the Florida Armenians attended a luncheon on Capitol Hill hosted by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) and the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues in honor of President Sargsyan. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) gave remarks and introduced President Sargsyan. “For years, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has been a leading voice promoting awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides throughout history, and the Foundation has called upon all of us to have the courage to stand against such despicable brutality in the future,” stated Chairman Royce. “As the leader of a people who survived the first genocide of the twentieth century, President Sargsyan is well aware of the need for that courage. We must continue to speak the truth about the Armenian Genocide and learn its bitter lessons in order to help others who are targeted,” Royce said.

TK-Sargsyan luncheon

Taniel Koushakjian and Serzh Sargsyan on Capitol Hill

The luncheon featured remarks by special guest Robert M. Morgenthau, grandson of U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, who received an award from IRWF Chairman Eduardo Eurnekian and co-founder Baruch Tanembaum for his efforts advancing Armenian Genocide recognition.

On Thursday, October 1, President Sargsyan concluded his visit to Washington with a presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


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