Israeli scholar is awarded presidential prize by Armenia

Prof. Charny, who lives in Israel since 1973, has responded humorously that it has been obvious to him that he would not be a candidate for a vaunted Israel Prize if only because of his strong support of recognition of the Armenian Genocide and his clear cut criticisms of Israel for failing to recognize this genocide, but now the State of Armenia has come to the rescue with a prize for Israel, his first name–hence an ‘Israel Prize’ from Armenia.

The prize, which carries an award of $10,000 and a Presidential medal, will be awarded by the President of Armenia in a ceremony in Yerevan at the end of May.

Prof. Charny is the longtime director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem –which probably has the distinction of having been the first to link the two concepts of Holocaust and genocide back in 1979 when the Institute, the first of its kind in the world, embarked on the "First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide" in Tel Aviv. The Institute publishes the only Web Magazine of its kind that reports both on genocide warnings and on developments in Holocaust and genocide research and prevention.

As reported extensively in the New York Times and many other news sources in the world press, the conference came under heavy fire from Turkey because of the participation of Armenian scholars, and the government of Israel then made aggressive efforts to close the conference down, but Charny persisted and the result was a landmark academic event in genocide studies as well as a widely celebrated case of academics standing up against government pressures.

Charny was subsequently a founder of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and a president of the association; and edited the first Encyclopedia of Genocide in the English language that was published in three printings and an Internet electronic edition in the USA and UK, as well as in a partial edition in French.

Charny, who in his basic training is a professional psychologist, who continues to practice psychotherapy, sees in denials of established genocides a powerful psychological phenomenon as well a political strategy.  In his many studies of denial of genocide, he identifies not only criminals and their descendants attempting to hide truths of their serious crimes of murder, but continuing efforts to humiliate and harass the victim peoples, a totalitarian effort to control and rewrite the historical record, and most serious of all statements not only justifying and honoring the mass murders and violence that was executed but that also convey intentions to renew and expand past genocides once again.

Thus in our time, Ahmadinejad of Iran devotes government efforts to deny the Holocaust and at the same time speaks explicitly of the intended destruction of the country of Israel – and of course these threats are accompanied by Iran’s mocking defiance of the world in continuing to build atomic weapons.

Thus too, Turkey, under belicose Prime Minister Erdogan, continues a multi-milion investment in denying the Armenian Genocide—and other victims alongside of the Armenians, namely, Assyrian, Greeks and Yzedis.  Erdogan this year has twice threatened to deport 100,000 Armenians from Turkey, and he also continues his policy of closed borders and embargo of Armenia.  He also continues in violence against Kurdish communities and restrictions of their basic cultural experience including of their language. The latest move by the Erdogan government is to promote an alliance with Ahmadinejad’s Iran.  In Turkey today hundred of journalists, writers and publishers have been arrested and are on trial or imprisoned for speaking about the Armenian Genocide or persecution of Kurds.

Charny expresses the hope that the news of his receiving the President of Armenia’s Prize will strengthen efforts to bring about recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel, where a Knesset committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the approval of a resolution that was voted by the Knesset at large.  He also expresses the wish that the prize will contribute to an alliance of many peoples in the world who will fight against genocide to any people.  In recent talks in Athens, Greece and Yerevan, Armenia, Charny has proposed the development of a new organization, R2L or Right to Life, beginning with an alliance of victim peoples who have suffered genocide joined by people of integrity from other nations.

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