Written by Norma Zager
Recent issues between Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders have given rise to what has now become a familiar process of evoking the “H” word to demonize those with whom we do not agree.
In a recent complaint to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has taken the process even further by enhancing their use of the “H” word against Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov, a noted advocate of his nation’s close relationship with both Israel and the Jewish people.
ANCA’s strongly worded complaint, asks AIPAC to “reevaluate the moral and practical dimensions of your organization's association with Azerbaijan's war-mongering President, Ilham Aliyev, a dictator who, echoing the venomous Holocaust-era rants of Adolf Hitler against Jews, has announced openly that, ‘all the Armenians of the world’ are his enemies.” Interestingly, Aliyev, of course, never said that but rather stated that the Armenian lobby is Azerbaijan’s enemy. Not surprisingly, given the leading Armenian-American groups’ strongly negative views on Azerbaijan.
In the game of who can be whose friend, those engaged in world politics excel. Allies are as important as life to countries that possess little power or any way to obtain it and must rely on the superpowers to do their bidding.
What has this to do with Israel, Armenian-American community and Armenia and evoking the “H” word?
No amount of denial or passage of years will diminish the evil of Hitler. It has taken on the nature of using the word Kleenex for tissue, as a metaphor for anyone worth attacking.
There can be no greater insult or disparagement than accusing one of any similarity to the greatest evil of the twentieth century, perhaps ever in human history.
Because Israel is still a vulnerable nation, much despised and maligned in the world, branding her allies as Hitler speaks volumes.
Perhaps the Armenian-American community and Armenia might have better rethought such an accusation against one of Israel’s closest and staunchest allies and a society that is regularly praised for its inclusiveness and tolerance.
In the case of Armenia and Azerbaijan, both share peaceful relationships with Israel. While Armenia seeks Israel’s support and brotherhood in their attempt to equate what is termed “Armenian Genocide” with the Holocaust, Azerbaijan and Israel enjoy close bi-lateral relations in the arenas of diplomacy, politics, security, military and business amongst many others.
Azerbaijan’s brave support for Israel has created numerous problems with Iran’s leaders, who through threats, pressure and whatever means available seeks to destroy that alliance for good. Azerbaijan has established itself as one of Israel’s leading allies and trade partners and is a beacon of hope that a Jewish nation and Muslim nation can share a peaceful and highly beneficial relationship.
Thus far Iran has been unsuccessful in destroying that hope.
The Armenian battle with the Azerbaijanis has obviously reached a point of international ally selection. “Are you with us or against us” seems to be the question at hand, and how better to enlist support from the Jewish nation and Jewish organizations than to cast the ultimate aspersion on the Azerbaijanis? However Armenia’s allegations seem insincere when one considers that Jews live quite peacefully and accepted in Azerbaijani society and always have. Jews are elected and serve in parliament and hold other high-level governmental positions. Jews in Azerbaijan are business leaders, academics, scientists and community leaders. Azerbaijani society is structured in a way that it really doesn’t matter who one is. Azerbaijan is home to many ethnicities and religions and has a tradition of pluralism, while Armenia is monolithically Armenian and Armenian Orthodox.
Is evoking the “H” word a successful tactic to employ against one of Israel’s truest allies?
Can Armenia hope to achieve their goal by throwing the name of Jewish pain in AIPAC’S, Israel’s and the American Jewish community’s faces?
While once it may have been the supreme insult to compare anyone to the horror that was Hitler, strangely this approach has been mitigated by distaste for those who opt to do so.
Reminding the Jewish people of Hitler, now, has the effect of marginalizing and victimizing them as a nation.
In some way it is an attempt to use the death of six million to garner favor in Jewish eyes and the Armenian-American community and Armenia should be ashamed.
Comparing the Azerbaijani president, who has welcomed Jewish leader after Jewish leader from around the globe and is accused by the Mullahs in Iran of being a puppet of Israel, to Hilter tells AIPAC; the only way one can explain how horrible this man is to open your old wounds.
Does anyone believe Jewish people, or the world for that matter, is incapable of understanding the nature of evil or alleged misdeeds without a direct reference to their greatest pain? Do Jewish people have no ability to grasp the nature of wrongdoing on any other level aside from the Holocaust?
I believe they do.
Perhaps it is the fact that Israel and Azerbaijan share a close relationship that the Armenian-American community and Armenia believe it is necessary to pull no punches in their attempts to cut a wedge between them.
If this is their strategy, they have seriously overplayed their hand.
It is way past the time we saved the “H” word for those who deserve the comparison. To use it anytime we wish to malign another minimizes its effect and therefore the deed.
Mainstreaming it as just another curse word is an insult to both those who died at the hands of Hitler and fighting his great evil.
The Armenian-American community and Armenia’s attacks or supposed grievances should be measured and relevant to garner an ear from other nations.
It is way past the time to save the name of Hilter for those who truly deserve the comparison and, sadly, in today’s world there are far too many who do.
Zager is a freelance journalist and columnist who teaches at California State University, Los Angeles. In addition to receiving the honors of Los Angeles Journalist of the Year and Best Investigative Reporter by the Los Angeles Press Club, the Wall Street Journal and the Columbia Journalism Review applauded her work on the Brockovich case. Zager is also the author of numerous books