REP. FRANK PALLONE AND THE "ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION"

NJ.com
http://blog.nj.com/njv_gu est_blog/2009/03/ask_congressman_frank_pallone.htm l
March 2 2009

Recently, a letter seeking cosponsors for a renewed drive to secure
the adoption of an "Armenian Genocide Resolution" was circulated on
Capitol Hill. The lead authors of the proposed legislation included
four members of congress from districts with sizable Armenian
constituents. They included Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone
(D-NJ).

Rep. Pallone has turned his office in the U.S. Congress, home also
to tens of thousands of New Jerseyans of Turkish descent, into an
anti-Turkey nerve center.

Incidentally, one of the Armenian groups that showers Pallone
with praise and support, the Armenian National Committee of America
(ANCA), this week has been accused by the Citizens for Responsibility
and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an ethics watchdog, for violating
campaign finance and lobbying laws.

Among other things, CREW argues that ANCA is closely related with the
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), which is part of the ruling
coalition government in the Republic of Armenia, but fails to disclose
this. A few years ago the then ANCA chairman, Mourad Topalian, was
convicted on charges relating to Armenian terrorist attacks against
Turkish diplomatic mission in the United States back in the 1970's
and early '80s and served three years in federal prison.

None of this seems to bother Pallone. To roaring cheers at an ANCA
rally in Times Square back in 2005, he pronounced that the United
States should not only recognize an "Armenian Genocide" but that
it should pressure modern Turkey to pay reparations for the near
century-old alleged crime. This alone should lay to rest the claims
that the perennial Armenian resolutions are pursued for emotional
reasons by its lead proponents and the Armenian lobby.

In fact, a congressional recognition is but a first step in the
Armenian lobby's irredentist agenda against Turkey and, if Pallone
will have it his way, it will be advanced by U.S. Congressional fiat.

The so-called "Armenian Genocide Resolution" is a textbook example
of ethnic lobby pandering at the expense of America's national
interests. Once enough members sign on, with the all too well-known
time and attention that lawmakers will be giving to sift through
its history lesson, this "non-binding" resolution will gather such
international storm that it required presidential interventions in
the past to prevent a diplomatic fall-out with Turkey.

The latest resolution will certainly be no different and pose a
significant stumbling block to President Obama's efforts to improve
international cooperation on the many challenges he faces and foster
better U.S. standing abroad. In his zeal to please his supporters,
Pallone has and continues to undermine U.S. foreign policy, under
either Democratic or Republican administrations, toward a balanced
U.S. foreign policy in the Southern Caucasus and toward Turkey.

To add insult to injury, Pallone frequently admonishes opponents of
this resolution by pointing to a "moral obligation" of the Congress to
"pronounce" that the now-defunct Ottoman Empire, committed "genocide"
against Armenians nearly 100 years ago. In doing so, he chooses to
ignore the many well-regarded Ottoman historians who dispute the
genocide claim.

Moreover, if Congress owes such moral obligation to America and the
world, it ought to compile a list of all the crimes that appall us,
beginning here at home, and start writing commemorative resolutions
for all.

In fact, selective morality is no morality at all and Armenian
resolutions persist year after year, not on moral grounds but on the
efforts of an organized lobby that has turned hating Turkey into an
existential cause and that keeps greasing the wheels of Washington.

Singling out Turkey and its history for political expediency and
as payback for domestic election support is far from moral. Doing
so at a time when Turkey's Prime Minister has invited Armenians
and all interested parties to form an international commission of
historians and experts to establish the facts and pave the way for
reconciliation-- a proposal rejected by frontrunners of the "Armenian
Genocide Resolution" in Congress and the Armenian lobby-- and when
Turkey and Armenia are actively negotiating ways to overcome their
differences, is outright hypocritical.

The U.S. faces a devastating economic crisis and two wars
abroad. Members of Congress should be held accountable for spending
time and resources on addressing a nearly century-old event with no
foreseeable policy benefits for the United States, but the potential
of a great public relations and foreign policy disaster involving
our ally Turkey.

In reality, this will remain behind closed doors in Washington
until too much damage has already been done. Members of Congress,
like Pallone, will not answer to anyone unless the larger American
public demands an answer. It is high time to demand an answer.

Lincoln McCurdy is the President of the Turkish Coalition of America.