The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

New Intelligence Report Focuses on Armenian Genocide Deniers

By Mark Potok on June 3, 2008 - 7:05 am, Posted in Academic Racism, Intelligence Report

Intelligence ReportThe latest issue of our investigative Intelligence Report magazine is out today, and it is led by a provocative cover story that exposes a network of U.S. scholars, paid by the government of Turkey, many of whom work to cover up the Turkish genocide of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during World War I — an effort that has found success in Congress and the White House.

Despite abundant documentation and eyewitness accounts of the slaughter of Armenians by Turkey’s Ottoman government between 1915 and 1918, the current Turkish government has paid lobbyists and funded the network of American academics, including several who dismiss or rationalize the killing. A consensus of genocide scholars agree that the slaughter was, indeed, a genocide.

“What we are seeing is a despicable rewriting of history aimed at absolving the perpetrators of mass murder and demonizing their victims,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Report, a quarterly journal published by the Southern Poverty Law Center that monitors the radical right (see Potok’s editorial on the genocide, “Lying About History,” here). “It is no different than the Holocaust denial of Nazi sympathizers who claim there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and Treblinka.”

The story, “State of Denial,” recounts a March 2007 event where Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, told a Harvard University audience that the Turkish government at the time may have been guilty of ineptness and “bungling misrule” — but not genocide. Lewy, one of the most active members of the network of academics, has made similar revisionist claims in speeches at other campuses and in his 2005 book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide.

As early as 1985, Turkey bought full-page newspaper advertisements to publish a letter questioning the genocide that was signed by 69 American scholars. All 69 had received funding that year from the Turkish government or its proxies.

As the only Muslim-dominated country in a troubled region to call the United States and Israel its allies, Turkey also has wielded significant political influence in Washington. Last fall, lobbyists on the Turkish payroll stymied a congressional resolution commemorating the genocide by persuading more than 100 lawmakers to reverse their positions. Even President Bush flip-flopped on a 2000 campaign promise to back official U.S. recognition of the genocide.

“Denial is the final stage of genocide,” Gregory Stanton, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told the Report. “It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world.”

Also, in the Summer 2008 issue of the Intelligence Report:

“Secret Identity?” probes the ideology of Shepherd’s Chapel, an Arkansas-based television ministry led by Arnold Murray that has an audience in the millions. Despite a theology that identifies an evil race he calls the “Kenites” as the killers of Christ, Murray says his ministry is not anti-Semitic. Mounting evidence suggests otherwise. Along with the story, we’ve posted an audio file of Potok interviewing writer Casey Sanchez about Murray and his theology.
“Stalked by Skins” tells the story of twin brothers who have lived in fear since a bloody 2003 encounter with a gang of racist skinheads in Illinois that left one man dead. In an interview, Bill and Roger Larson recount how they and their families have been tormented by gang members ever since.
“North Meets South” reports on the strange alliance forged by a Vermont separatist group in recent years. Born of the left, the Second Vermont Republic has now partnered with the white supremacist League of the South, which seeks a second Southern secession, to build a national movement. Here, too, we’ve posted an audio file of Potok and writer Heidi Beirich discussing the secession movement.
“Of Race and Rockets” reveals famed aerospace scientist Walter Kistler’s $200,000 in donations to the Pioneer Fund, a racist foundation that funds controversial studies of race and intelligence. A defiant Kistler says he is “not concerned about battles in society about what is and what is not ‘racist.'”

  • Seda Goulizar

    Mr Holthouse,

    I believe that, it is in fact you, that is defaming individuals and organisations without the proper evidence to back up your claims. I would be more than happy to host any evidence that you may have to establish your outrageous claims and also any evidence about any of those individual scholars you have so clearly defamed.

    Seda Goulizar

  • Susan M. Witman

    Eugenics once more is rearing its ugly head in a hate group called the Pioneer Foundation. Once more the holocaust seems possible. Hilter’s ideas about mass extermination are only hinted at within the geuze of eugenics. Now is the time to secure the rights of all people and desmantle racism, sexism, antisemitism, and antihomosexual terminology before the option of mass murder becomes readily available now after the turn of the century in 2000. Let’s prevent WWIII from even starting!

  • Laura

    I would like to commend the Southern Poverty Law Center for your excellent Intelligence Report “State of Denial.” You have expertly described Turkey’s campaign of genocide denial and the unequal struggle in which Armenians find themselves to make known the horrific facts of the Armenian Genocide.

    In describing Turkey’s various collaborators, there is one group that your otherwise comprehensive report failed to list as complicit in the efforts to deny the Armenian Genocide: many prominent national Jewish-American organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League.

    These groups have been actively lobbying for years on behalf of the Turkish government to prevent Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Articles in media ranging from The Jerusalem Post to the Turkish Daily News to The Jewish Daily Forward have regularly reported on these efforts. A July 2007 article in The New Republic granted “a special commendation for dubious behavior” to “Washington’s Jewish-American lobby” for being co-opted by the Turks on the Armenian Genocide.

    Because of the ADL’s lobbying for Turkey, thirteen Massachusetts communities have ceased participating in an ADL-sponsored program since last summer. Moreover, the Massachusetts Municipal Association rescinded its endorsement and co-sponsorship of this program because it “believes that unequivocal recognition of the Armenian Genocide is both a matter of basic justice to its victims as well as essential to efforts to prevent future genocides.” The MMA statement pointed out the “inconsistency” between the ADL’s position on the Armenian Genocide and “human rights principles.”

    Many, if not most, members of the local Jewish community were unaware of what their national organizations had been doing in their name; as a people who experienced genocide, most were genuinely appalled when they found out. Armenians received invaluable support from Jewish friends and neighbors, as well as human rights advocates, who spoke out against the unethical position of the ADL. It is, thus, critical to expose the involvement of these national Jewish organizations in denying the Armenian Genocide.

    For more information I also recommend:

  • Anchorage Activist

    Slavyanski – Your campaign to whitewash the Soviet genocide against the Ukraine is contemptible. Why don’t you admit that you’re a former National Alliance member who’s now dabbling in Communism? And you’re playing games with One People’s Project the same way you did with us on VNN Forum. You are essentially a Bill White in reverse.

    The ADL has never properly recognized the Armenian genocide because they want to preserve the “singularity” of the Jewish Holocaust. They believe that Jewish suffering is more significant than other peoples’ suffering. This is because organized Jews still consider themselves a chosen people.

    And this, of course, lies at the core of what Dr. David Duke refers to as Jewish supremacism.

  • Armenian Genocide

    Very interesting article indeed.

  • Slavyanski

    Assuming the Armenian’s story is correct, it is shameful that many world leaders affirmed the so-called “Ukrainian” genocide despite the protest of nearly every internationally recognized scholar on that subject.

  • Garen


    The Anti-Defamation League’s decision at its national conference in November of 2007 not to take further action on the issue of the Armenian genocide means that it has in fact decided to continue to oppose congressional re-affirmation of the genocide. Even after the flareup in New England in August of last year, ADL representatives have met with Turkish officials to assure them of the organization’s support for their efforts opposing recognition of the Armenian genocide by the U.S. Congress. In September 2007, the ADL’s national director had no qualms about attending an event honouring Tayyip Erdogan, a meeting where the Turkish Prime Minister engaged in blatant denial of the Armenian genocide.

    The ADL masquerades as a human rights organization touting its “ADL Darfur Resource Center” as a totem of its commitment to universal human rights but, giving precedence to geopolitical interests, has chosen to offer its mercenary services to a foreign government to continue to lobby against congressional affirmation of another people’s genocide.

    In addition, in October of 2007, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, himself assured Turkish leaders that the major US Jewish organizations were by-and-large supportive of Turkey’s genocide denial campaign in the US. If this is not complicity in genocide denial, I don’t know what is.

    Thank God there are those in Israel, like Israel Charny, Yair Auron or Mr. Rivlin who are not ready to trade another people’s right to its history for mere political gains. Or Jews in the diaspora such as Bernard-Henri Levy or Andrew Tarsy who have had the guts to expose this cynical complicity in genocide denial.

  • tasker

    In this revealing letter, the International Association of Genocide Scholars tells Turkish Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Armenian Genocide is a fact that he and Turkey must come to grips with:

    The letter is a clear rebuke to Turkey and its stable of genocide denialists.

  • Slavyanski

    While one should be critical of the Turkish government’s paid sources, one should look at both sides of the issue, and also not forget that just as governments can be powerful enough to propagate their own versions of history, so can well-established ethnic lobbies, such as that of Albania, Ukraine, Poland, and Armenia.

    From what I have seen, Turkish rebuttals to the Armenian genocide are not on par with Holocaust denial claims. Granted, this whole controversy has motivated me to look into the matter further, but experience tells me that it is diffcult to trust either side in ethnic disputes.

  • tasker

    Toby, you are wrong. Numerous commentators agree that neither Foxman nor the ADL ever “reversed course” and acknowledged the Armenian genocide.

    (Moreover, the ADL and a few other top Jewish American lobbying groups continue to oppose the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress. This is the only instance, as far as one can determine, in which the ADL has opposed the recognition of a known genocide. That genocide has been confirmed as a fact by the IAGS – the International Association of Genocide scholars.)

    The ADL used legalistic language intended to not conform to the UN’s official definition of genocide as contained in Article 2 of the UN Genocide Treaty of 1948.

    Foxman and the ADL said this:

    ““The consequences of those actions [by Turkey] were indeed tantamount to genocide.”

    The explanation below is verbatim from It proves the ADL has not unambiguously acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.

    “Aside from the fact that the Armenian Genocide began in 1915 and continued through 1923, we do not consider the statement to be a full, unequivocal acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide.

    First, the qualifier ‘tantamount’ is inappropriate. The Armenian Genocide was not ‘tantamount to genocide,’ it was genocide.

    Much more critical, however, is that by employing the word ‘consequences,’ the statement circumvents the international legal definition of genocide by avoiding any language that would imply INTENT, a crucial aspect of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention definition.”

    Bottom line: The ADL is guilty as charged.

  • Garen

    I had never read such a well informed article on the subject of the denial of the Armenian genocide as the one written by David Holthouse in the latest issue of the Intelligence Report.

    It is ironic to note that just as the report was published, another controversy has erupted involving the Institute of Turkish Studies and the Turkish government’s interference in academic freedom in the U.S.

    Donald Quataert, an American specialist of Ottoman history and a professor at Binghampton University was forced out of his position as Chairman of the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University by the Turkish ambassador after he refused to retract a review he made of Donald Bloxham’s book ‘The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians’.

  • Be Honest

    How much truth can it have, if it requires a considerable propaganda effort to find support?

  • Be Honest

    SLANDER: Blaming without due proof!

    We should protest the racist Armenians. Without any proof they have been propagating hate campaign against Muslim Turks. How outrageous to expect someone accept a crime he did not commit, and then label him as denier.

    Fake labels of denialism attributed by Armenians aim to rob the Turks off their basic right to self defense.

    Armenians are desperately trying to find similarities between their losing of a civil war with the fate of Jews in the hands of Nazis.

  • Pat

    ABC News Investigates Hastert Scandals & Turkish Connections

  • Toby

    Actually, Abe Foxman and the ADL acknowledged the Armenian genocide last summer, reversing course on their long-standing position. See

  • Florence Johnston

    Thank you to Mr. Holthouse and SPLC for this fine article.

    I would like to direct people to

    That website documents the fact that cities and towns in Massachusetts are dropping the Anti-Defamation League’s so-called “No Place for Hate” program because the ADL not only refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide and also works to defeat Armenian genocide resolutions in the U.S. Congress. Clearly, the ADL is being hypocritical when it comes to genocide affirmation.

    These cities and towns in Massachusetts do not wish to be associated with the ADL. No Place for Hate is supposed to be a human relations group that fights bias and discrimination. It makes no sense for such a program to continue to be affiliated with the genocide deniers at the ADL. When No Place for Hate has been dropped, more suitable human rights/anti-bias programs have been substituted.

    This issue has made news around the world. The Timeline and the News Archive sections in the website are a treasure trove of information.

    There are No Place for Hate programs throughout the U.S. They – and groups that use other ADL programs such as World of Difference – are now quite properly questioning their affiliation with the ADL.

  • Lazarus Mazloumian

    Thank you, David Holthouse and SPLC, for producing this outstanding cover story. Society is doomed to repeat the cycle of genocide unless perpetrators are punished; their descendants (who reap the rewards of crimes against humanity in the form of stolen lands, properties and wealth) are sanctioned; and peers/ allies acknowledge such wrongdoing and insist that perpetrators and their beneficiaries face the consequences of genocidal actions.

    As reported by Holthouse, for many years now, the Turkish government has enlisted the assistance of lobbying groups, academics and even journalists to act as accessories to the crime of genocide denial. A few accessories not mentioned in this cover story include:

    * Abe Foxman and The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith International
    * Barry Jacobs and The American Jewish Committee (AJC)
    *The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)
    * Bruce Fein of the Lichfield Group/Washington Times
    * Douglas Frantz, former managing editor of the LA Times
    * the late academic/author, Stanford Shaw
    * academic/author Bernard Lewis
    * Israeli President Shimon Peres
    * the many universities who actively discourage Armenian Genocide Studies courses from being taught.

    Why are the aforementioned individuals (with ancestors and/or compatriots who perished in, suffered during and/or survived the Jewish Holocaust) aiding and abetting Turkish deniers of the Armenian Genocide? If the aforementioned stood on principle, refused to work in the employ of denialists, and placed energies upon performing a righteous duty for those annihilated, disenfranchised and dispossessed, then genocide recognition, reparations and restitution for Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians could today be a foregone conclusion. Then the so-called “reconciliation” that Turkey and so many diplomats and strategists hope for could truly become a possibility. A Nuremberg Trial for the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian communities is long overdue.