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.
Among 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.
Armenian Assembly of America Announces New South Florida Regional Council For 2015-2016
PALM BEACH, FL – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is pleased to announce a new slate for the Assembly’s South Florida Regional Council (SFRC) for 2015-2016. The mission of the South Florida Regional Council is to advance Armenian American issues at the local and state level, hold events such as the annual board of trustees meeting, and assist in the development and growth of the organization in South Florida. The new Assembly SFRC includes Lu Ann Ohanian (Boca Raton), Board Member; Arsine Kaloustian (Palm Beach), Chair; Carol Norigian (Boynton Beach), Vice Chair; Marta Batmasian (Boca Raton); and Harout Samra (Miami).
Arsine Kaloustian, Public Affairs Director for Florida Armenians and Chairwoman of South Florida’s Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc., will serve as the Assembly SFRC Chair effective immediately. Kaloustian brings years of public relations, event planning, and fundraising experience to the council. Batmasian, an Assembly Trustee for over two decades, is a highly respected community leader and philanthropist in South Florida. Samra, a Miami-based attorney, is an active member in the Armenian community in South Florida. Norigian, a life-long activist in several Armenian American organizations, has managed the Assembly SFRC since 2007 and will serve as Vice Chair effective immediately. Assembly Board Member Lu Ann Ohanian will continue to serve on the council in her official capacity.
“Together, Arsine, Carol, Marta, and Harout make a dynamic team and I’m excited to begin working with them to carry out the Assembly’s mission right here in South Florida,” Ohanian said.
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 non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.
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Florida Armenians Remember Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr.
By Taniel Koushakjian
FLArmenians Political Contributor
Florida Armenians (FLArmenians) mourn the loss of Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL), who passed away on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 74. A former mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, Shaw began his 26-year tenure in Congress in the 1980 election that saw a wave of Republicans elected to office, most notably President Ronald Reagan. He served in the 22nd District, covering the coastal parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties, until 2006 when he lost a tough re-election battle to Democrat Ron Klein.
A friend of Armenia, in the early 1990’s Rep. Shaw was a strong supporter of Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union. He would later cosponsor legislation reaffirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide and was a member of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, according to the Armenian Assembly of America.
The Sun-Sentinel’s Anthony Mann, William E. Gibson and Brittany Wallman echoed Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), who now holds the seat, in their obituary headline rightfully remembering Shaw as ‘a great statesman’ of a bygone era in American politics. “For many years in Congress, Shaw quietly served his constituents behind the scenes and avoided controversy. But as he gained seniority, he became a force on the House Ways and Means Committee and grabbed national attention in 1996 by chairing a subcommittee that drafted a sweeping welfare reform law,” they wrote. I highly recommend reading their column in full, available here.
A memorial service honoring the life of former Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. has been set for Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at 11:30 AM at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 901 NE Second Street, in Fort Lauderdale.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that a donation in memory of Congressman Shaw be made to the Lung Cancer Alliance, P.O. Box 418372, Boston, MA 02241-8372, or online at www.lungcanceralliance.org.