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Biden’s recognition of the Armenian genocide welcomed by many in the Jewish community


On Saturday, in a statement marking the mass murder of Armenian Christians in Ottoman Turkey, President Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to refer to the atrocity as a “genocide,” a symbolic move that nevertheless marks a major shift in U.S. policy. The move was lauded by portions of the Jewish community.

More than a century after the Ottomans murdered between 650,000 and 1.2 million Armenian Christians, the question of whether to use the word “genocide” to describe the atrocity has morphed into a global geopolitical controversy, with Turkey exerting its muscle to urge countries like the U.S. and Israel to avoid using the term. Biden’s declaration marked the end of a years-long effort by activists to push the federal government to use the word.

The push for congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide, which culminated in a near-unanimous 2019 resolution recognizing the genocide, was led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a Jewish member of Congress whose L.A.-area district includes a sizable Armenian population. “The word ‘genocide’ is significant because genocide is not a problem of the past — it is a problem of today,” Schiff told JI. “By speaking the truth about this horrific period of history, refusing to be silent, and calling it a genocide, we can ensure that the United States is never again complicit.”

The announcement was met with resounding praise from a number of Republicans as well — conservative commentator Ben Shapiro credited Biden and called the move “long overdue.”

Read More: Jewish Insider